Tuesday, March 18, 2008
I Left My Dignity at Yom Kippur
I have a vague recollection of twisting into an unintelligible heap, fixing my posture just long enough to accuse G-D of ruining my pants, and passing into a troubled sleep, fully clothed and bandana-clad. As the most vivid of my three (or so) surviving memories from last Purim, this recollection is indicative of why organized religion still wears the pants around this psyche: sometimes the powers that be demand that we inebriate ourselves.
The next morning, the bandana had migrated to the coffee table, and I carefully dragged my dehydrated bones to the kitchen. With a veritable bounty at my disposal (granola bars, dry cereal, raw pasta, dubiously fresh milk and half a Coke), I opted for tap water. My pants were indeed torn, but G-D was less responsible than I thought—more probably, the holes were from making snow angels in the driveway. My shirt smelled like cat food, and the shoes I had on weren’t mine. There was writing on my arm: “To a very sexy boy xoxoxoxoxo.” No name.
Luckily, Purim wasn’t over yet, so I didn’t feel guilty about resembling a wheezing landfill. Purim begins again this Thursday, March 20, at sundown, and with the situation in the Middle East and global terrorism and America headed for a recession and the subprime mortgage crisis and Avian Flu and Ben Stiller movies and no Postal Service album in sight…well, it couldn’t get here soon enough.
Purim has four obligations:
1. To hear the reading of the Megilla, the Book of Esther, once at night and once in the morning.
2. To have a feast.
3. To send "mishloach manot" - two foods, to at least one friend.
4. To give charity to at least two poor people.
Number one is 40 minutes of love, deceit, conspiracy, wealth, revenge, and public executions. Number two is easy—eat food, get drunk, revel, hit on your friend’s 18-year-old cousin, etc.
For number three, “mishloach manot,” a can of beer and a Fruit Roll-Up suffice. Number four, meanwhile, is the cosmic reason why you don’t have to feel guilty for getting completely smashed and obnoxious. Alms absolve all. So, with costume drawn, alcohol purchased, and charity in hand, I am the picture of preparedness. When I swan dive onto the couch at some point Friday morning, I will be putrid, offensive, and despicable.
And G-D, Who taketh mercy on pants, will be happy.
Stay Supernal, Purim