Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Suck it Idi

Uganda was in the news last week. By now I'm sure you've heard all about KONY 2012. As well as the demise of the man who made the viral hit and the unravelling adventures of BONY 2012.

All this talk of Uganda brought me back to July 4, 1976.
I know I'm dating myself, but in this case there's no getting around it.

Many remember this date as our nation's bicentennial. In fact, I remember my high school buddies Jim and Bob had come over to my house with a case of Heineken to celebrate our nation's birth (the drinking age in NY State was 6 at the time). We were headed out to a fireworks show at Rockland Community College. But before we left the house, there were already fireworks going on upstairs.

News had just come across the TV screen that Israeli commandos had successfully landed at Entebbe Airport, killed the Islamic hijackers of an Air France jet and escaped with 256 survivors. Mind you this was all before personal computers, GPS systems and instant messaging. This was an incredibly brave operation that required precision planning, lightening quick execution and a super human sense of bravado.

You could tell all three were present just in the way my father hooped and hollered for joy. Had my father been versed in Hebrew I'm sure he would have let out the Hebraic equivalent shout of "U...S...A". My father, usually given to fits of anger, was in rare joyous form.

My buddy Bob never understood my father's zeal for Israel and the IDF. And being a well-bred Protestant, always took delight in my self-deprecating Jewish humor. Never failing to join in with a Jewish zinger of his own. Fact is, Bob could have had a promising career as a copywriter.

But like I said he was always looking at Jewish life and Jewish culture from the point of view of an outsider. That is until his grandmother passed away and his father pulled him aside to reveal a little family secret that had been tucked away in a tallit and put in mothballs for a few generations.

Turns out Bob is actually 1/4 Jewish on his father's side.

This of course is a source of great laughter. It has given Bob license to tell Jew jokes. He now has a greater understanding of the importance of the Entebbe Rescue. And he expects gifts from his wife on Chanukah. Well, 2 of the 8 days at least.

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