Revenge of the Nerd Ch. 61byrpsuch©
For those of you who have not had the benefit of being swaddled with Yiddish, here are some handy translations of words you will find in this chapter.
Haggadah, a book that tells the story of Passover ranging from a small pamphlet designed to make it easy for young children to understand to a tome appropriate to a year-long course at the seminary
Tsouris, trouble, like you wouldn't believe
Oi, OMG like you wouldn't believe
Mahoff, a VIP like you wouldn't believe
Seder, the dinner celebrating Passover
I stopped off at Jeff's house on the way back from school. We would both need cars over the break.
My top priority was to talk with Sandy. I didn't relish the conversation.
"Sandy, I barely have time to breathe this week. I have two showers, our family dinner, the second night of Passover with your family and so many arrangements to go over. I can't see how I'm going to be able to fit your shower in between now and graduation.
"I'm really sorry. Of all the people who are going to be involved, you're my favorite."
She took a breath. She looked disappointed, but not as much as I had expected.
"It's okay, Ashley. I know you were looking forward to it and I know how you feel about me. But, I insist on planning the first baby shower."
"Whoa up there little crazy girl. That's not exactly on the front burner."
"I didn't say next week for God's sake."
"Sorry. With everything else going on that scared the crap out of me coming out of nowhere."
"Sorry." She dragged it out and didn't look the least bit sorry. I was sure she got a kick out of hitting a nerve and I expected to be needled about this frequently in the future.
"I would like you to join me for as much of this week's folderol as you can. I need an ally."
"Sign me up."
Sunny was home and joined us. I was confused and unsettled. She was likely the perfect person to talk with.
"I'm starting to have second thoughts about the wedding," I said.
Both their faces took on expressions of shock and horror.
"No, not that. I'm having no second thoughts about the marriage, just the wedding."
Their relief was almost comical. Then Sunny got a suspicious look in her eyes.
"No. I didn't do that on purpose. I think I can give you a good idea pretty quickly. The guest list has reached eleven hundred seventy-three and that's with my Mom trying to keep it down, not so much because they care about cost, but if it gets much bigger they're going to have to try to get the Convention Center. No place else will be big enough.
"I used a calculator. If I spend just ten seconds with each guest, that's over three hours and fifteen minutes just saying thank you for coming.
"Then there's table duty. I have to do the grand tour. 'Are you having a good time? Oh, yes, we're leaving tomorrow for a fun-filled week in Camden. Yes, the salad was amazing. Thank you so much for your thoughtful gift. The dishes are perfect. We now have enough to have a small third-world country over for dinner. By, the way, who the hell are you?'"
I had gotten carried away. I hadn't even realized Sandy and Sunny were laughing. Both had tears streaming down their cheeks.
"And, of course, I'll have to spend more time with people I actually know. I figure that averages out conservatively to two minutes a table. We've already got around one hundred-fifty tables so that's three-hundred minutes, or five hours.
"Almost eight and a half hours are accounted for and I haven't gotten to eat or drink or dance with Jeff. The band will already be on several hours overtime before I even get to cut the cake."
They hadn't stopped.
"Laugh all you want. I'm absolutely serious! I may be laughing on the outside, but …" I started to laugh myself. "This is insane. This is going to be larger than the graduating class at most colleges."
Sunny caught her breath.
"Ashley, you should consider going into standup as a profession."
"Yeah, that's the perfect way to win your Dad over," Sandy chimed in.
We joked around for a while, laughing ourselves silly and cathartic.
I still managed to leave before Jeff got home. I had two days to prepare my campaign.We were seated around the Goldberg's table for the first night of Passover. My family's tradition was to ignore any mention of the reason for the holiday and get to the food.
Most families read the story from a Haggadah, especially when the children are young to ensure they get the essence of the story.
Big surprise, Jeff's family had altered the tradition. Each family member picked their own part of the story to tell as they chose. Mere recitation was not encouraged. The story had to be told metaphorically or allegorically or at least with some emphasis on some situation going on in the world that could be improved.
I chose very carefully.
"Pharaoh had a lot of reasons to be peeved with Moses. After all, Moish got tired of the rules and wanted things to change. He was getting ready to leave the game and take all his marbles home."
The Goldbergs all had smiles of amusement, meaning I was doing their tradition proud. My parents were not far from aghast.
"Here he is, cock of the roost and he's getting major guff from this snot-nosed kid. He doesn't dress right. He doesn't speak right. He doesn't act right. Where is the deference Pharaoh is due?
"But, worst of all, Pharaoh thinks Moses is after his daughter. Well, you all know what kind of tsouris that can be. Such a deal he could get for her. He could marry her off to the Opecites. He could marry her off to the Halliburtites. He could marry her off to the Bankites. And oi, what a deal he could get.
"But Moses, what does he have to offer?
Sandy was almost apoplectic. She had tried valiantly to just sit there smiling quietly, but she had lost it.
"Little does Pharaoh know Moses was going to become such a big mahoff."
I whipped my right hand up in the air clutching a piece of paper.
"That's Dr. Moses, thank you."
There was quite a commotion as everyone else registered various degrees of shock, including Jeff. He had no idea what I'd done. As they settled down, I continued before anyone could get in a question.
"That's also Professor Moses."
I held up the employment contract Dr. Lloyd gave me at our meeting after I called him. I had told him we both knew how valuable Jeff was and that he was leaning toward taking their offer.
I told Dr. Lloyd that, knowing Jeff, actually having the Degree in his hand and a written offer from which to negotiate the fine points would make him feel he had no choice but to accept the offer.
It was total bullshit. I knew we would be getting together for the seder and wanted to be able to let Jeff's family know what was happening. They already knew how amazing he was.
I also wanted something to club my Father over the head with. Amusingly, when he heard the news, he looked dazed; as if he had literally been hit over the head with a club. He had practically mocked Jeff's ability to get a Ph.D. in a year. Here it was not even seven full months and Jeff had his degree.
Not only that, he was no longer a student. He was faculty.
I put a hand on Jeff's cheek.
"And you may correctly suppose I'm going to follow this Moses of mine."
"I'm not going to Siberia," said Jeff.
"Are we doing Fiddler?" Sandy asked.
I was so happy I didn't worry about how happy I was or even qualify it.