I woke up at noon the other day. I forget which day it was, but I do recall that I was up late the previous night enjoying a TiVoed Californication and 6 packets of apple-cinnamon instant oatmeal. Envious early-risers conspire to make sleepers-in feel guilty about their circadian habits, but societal condemnation has little effect on me. I don’t own a radio. The only channel I watch is ESPN. I rarely know when I’ve run afoul of popular thinking. For instance, I think that Rihanna’s “Umbrella” is vapid, aimless swill, but I heard it while working on a story at Island-Def Jam Records, unaware at the time that it was a colossal radio hit. That’s how little I know about what’s hot and what’s not—and I’m a music journalist. I don’t know who Perez Hilton is (although I suspect he/she/it is not a hotel heir/heiress), and the only news story I can remember reading about in its entirety was also from the other day—the uproarious, magnificent tale of young Andrew Meyer screaming, “Don’t Taser me, bro,” to a group of University of Florida police officers.
Today was a bit different. I woke up at 2 in the afternoon. I had gone to sleep the previous night at 8:45, and planned on returning to my mattress for a nap in the vicinity of 3 o’clock. Yes, I was sleeping off Yom Kippur, like drugged adolescent sleeping off a bad acid trip. Of the 25 Yom Kippur hours, I slept for 17, read for 7, and prayed my version of the liturgy for 1. I dreamt about Alice in Chains (I think I was drinking bourbon with Layne Staley) and some imaginary girl named Alyssa, I finished the reading for my politics of terrorism class (al-Qaeda is bad), I read the first 50 pages of Catcher in the Rye (it still sucks) and the initial 100 of Ugly Americans, a Ben Mezrich non-fiction about American traders who raided the Asian markets for millions. I thought about G-D, and whether He really is present in my green living room, and wondered whether He’d care that my late afternoon services were conducted in boxers. I guessed not. I wore an old yarmulke, mostly to hold my hair back, but also as the temporal statement, “I am Jewish for these 25 hours.” I don’t know why a faded, stained soup-bowl had more religious valence than a circumcision, but these are the realities we live in when we're holed up in an empty house during the most consequential day of the Jewish year.
When the fast was over, and normal, sinful life commenced once again like the familiar soot that blackens a just-cleaned chimney, I felt it rather anti-climactic: shouldn’t there be some tangible change in me? Shouldn’t I have undergone a transformation? Shouldn’t there at least be music? So I went upstairs, started in on Elvis’s top 30 hits, and let my yarmulke sit atop my head for a few moments before I hid it back in the drawer. I made plans to drink with some friends, and then reminisced about Yom Kippurs past, wondering how this one stacked up. The answer is not important—it’s the idea that, after a long, semi-introspective day, there are still people who want you to join them in getting inebriated. It doesn’t matter if this Yom Kippur was better or worse or the same as others, since the true indicator of self-worth is whether a drunken cadre wants you among their ranks. If they do, you have to assume that all is forgiven, and you’re in for a decent year.
Stay Stigmatized, Sleepers-In
MC Late Morning