Wednesday, October 8, 2008

So much for the High Holy Days.

If it's must be trivia night at Pete's Candy Store. It also happens to be Kol Nidre, the holiest night in the Jewish faith and the evening preceding the ominous-sounding Day of Atonement...something which should only be spoken in a booming voice, preferably with some reverb for maximum impact. As a devoted agnostic since the precocious age of 10, I haven't attended a high holy day ceremony since I was old enough to say the unknowingly ironic phrase "Never again!" to my parents.

The few times they were able to drag me to synagogue, I escaped for a bathroom "break"--the kind of break that lasts for most of the 3+ hour ceremony. On one such occasion I was joined by several like-minded delinquents who, like a well-coordinated terrorist attack, felt the need to "break" at precisely the same time and in precisely the same manner. We quickly rendezvoused and sought sanctuary in one of the many Hebrew school classrooms at the Temple. One of the boys who was slightly more coarse than myself then proceeded to entertain us by dialing several long-distance 1-900 sex numbers on the Temple's dime. That may have been the moment when I learned most about what I now call "sex and intimacy." This may also explain a great deal.

Seeing as how I live in the epicenter of American Judaism, I fully expected that tonight would be the ideal time to kick it up a notch at trivia. It's a diverse crowd, but I know a Jew when I see one...and several of them are usually on the teams routinely bashing my brains in with their superior powers of recalling useless and pointless tidbits of knowledge. I expected it to be empty. Turns out that hipster Jews in Williamsburg are about as dedicated to trivia night as the Williamsburg Hasidim are to their faith. In fact, I think the Jew from our team was the only Jew not in attendance tonight.

It was just me and Johnny against 20 other teams and, despite my ability to identify the Paul Newman film Absence of Malice from a recorded line of dialogue, the end result was predictable---12th place.


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