I ’m innocently dissecting my salmon at the wedding of my first cousin twice removed gloomily mulling over its sorry fate when Jewish Wheel of Relations inevitably begins. I’m never able to avoid it. It’s honestly record breaking: This time it took a total of 123.7 seconds for the wheel to start spinning.
“Wait so are you related to the Schorrs from Lakewood?” a woman in an auburn sheitel says with a beaming smile. “ ’Cuz her sister’s mother-in-law is my aunt’s first cousin. So that would make us like practically mechutanim!”
“Greenfeld? Wait like the billionaire Greenfelds?! Oh gosh. Would you mind autographing my napkin?”
“I can’t believe it I know your family! Our grandmothers actually peeled potatoes together on the ship to America!”
“Do you know the Weiszes from Boro Park?” Right I think grumpily. Because there are only like what two Weisz families in Boro Park?
I know I know you’re probably thinking I am one of those grouchy ladies who is constantly yelling at the neighbors to get off of her lawn. Why on earth would I despise the frum world’s most favorite game: Jewish geography?
“So what’s your maiden name?” asks Mrs. Hunter-Green Dress.
My fish suddenly looks very interesting. Did you know that salmon has little layers that split perfectly if you are very careful? And the ridges on the slice of lemon. Fascinating. I’m considering becoming a botanist or whatever you call those people who gaze at fruit and write their observations down. Mrs. Hunter-Green Dress just stares at me waiting.
“Oh were you talking to me?” I titter. “I hadn’t realized. My fish you see was… ummm ” I cough quickly running through my options. I could potentially try the truth. “My maiden name is Wilson.”
“Wilson?” The woman’s perfectly shaped eyebrow rises and threaten to disappear completely under the bangs of her sheitel. “I never heard that name. It doesn’t sound Jewish. Where are your grandparents from originally?”
“Oh that’s because it isn’t. Jewish I mean. I’m a giyores.” I smile demurely examining myself in my fork tines.
Suddenly the five women across the table debating if the earrings worn by woman in the sparkly dress at the next table are CZ or real whip around. A soggy piece of lettuce dangles precariously from Mrs. Auburn Sheitel’s fork forgotten halfway to her mouth.
“Are you really a giyores? You look so normal.”
Yeah that’s because I got plastic surgery to remove my horns and forked tongue. I take a deep breath and cross my arms. I can get through this. Just a couple of minutes where a table full of strangers feel entitled to hear my most private memories.
“You must have an amazing story.” Big Brown Eyes leans forward her pearls dangerously close to the creamy dill dressing. I guess I should be thankful that she didn’t say what everyone is really thinking. Please tell us strangers your life story with all the sordid details. Right now. That way I will have an interesting story to tell my family at our next get-together “I met the most amazing woman — you wouldn’t believe her story…” Sooo… did you once smoke? Ever tried drugs? We want to know everything. Because that’s like not creepy at all. (Excerpted from Family First Issue 565)
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