Sunday, June 15, 2008

Kiddie's fats

I was perusing my old journals from my studenting (did I just make up a word there? You betcha!) days in YOEC, and came across an interesting twist on one of the Dubno Maggid's famous parables, courtesy of Rabbi Mendel Schapiro. I'll write the whole parable, because A. it'll take up space, and B. I think I can make it pretty funny.

So there was a Kiddie who lived with his family in some really poor and miserable snothole somewhere in the depths of Siberia, or maybe somewhere else that was equally depressing, like Cleveland. His family, like the rest of the community, didn't even have blankets to keep their little toesie-wosies warm in the winter. Things got so bad that they all decided to band together and send the little Kiddie to the famed "Diamond Island", where the streets are paved with cheese-sorry, I mean diamonds. Yes folks, this little Kiddie was in for the journey of a lifetime. The goal, of course, was for Kiddie to get a whole bunch of diamonds and bring them back to the village, so that nobody's feet would ever go cold again, among other benefits of being fabulously wealthy and just a bit decadent. As no one had any money, the Kiddie was told that he would have to walk. This wouldn't be too much of a problem, as he had two feet, and Kiddie started to travel. Four months later he reached the port, and five months later, after a long and grueling, not to mention tedious and slightly serendipitous, journey, Kiddie reached the world renowned Diamond Island. Like all the other passengers on the boat, he ran off the quay and jumped onto the beach, gathering into his arms precious diamonds, all of them natural, and began to stuff them into his trousers. His pants obviously didn't hold too many diamonds, and Kiddie wandered off into the town to find some food, for by now he was quite hungry. He wandered down the streets until he chanced upon a grand restaurant, which promised to feed him more foie gras than he had ever possibly dreamed of. Coming from Ohio, or was that Siberia, he has never even seen a goose, so the possibility of eating its liver didn't really excite him. The mention of gourmet hamburgers did excite his palate, so he cleansed his mind and walked into the restaurant, ordering the best burger that money could buy. The cook put some foie gras on top of the burger, beneath the lettuce but above the onion, and Kiddie enjoyed the meal tremendously. After it was all over, and he had drunk his last after-dinner drink, he snapped his fingers and the waiter came over. The waiter moved to put the bill, which was several volumes long, on the table, but Kiddie stopped him, putting a small but exquisite diamond on the table with an airy air, and saying, quite grandly (as befitted the establishment), and of course with a snobby and nasally English accent, "I believe that should take care of it. Keep the change, and keep up the good work, my good man." The waiter put the bill on the table. Kiddie produced another diamond, this one enormous and not very exquisite at all, and handed it to the waiter. The waiter said, in the acidic tone that only people who have lived for many years in Oslo can attain, "I'm sorry, I don't believe you quite understand the method of payment in these parts." "What!" cried Kiddie, swooning in his chair and simultaneously knocking a plate of foie gras to the ground, "What could possibly be the issue!?" The waiter signaled to the manager, who approached with the oily friendliness normally associated with old men in Italy, and told him that there was a slight problem. The manager sized up the difficulty instantly, and slowly a smile began to replace the smile that was already pasted on his face, which resulted in some momentary facial confusion before all the muscles sorted themselves out and everything returned to normal. "What do we have here, eh?" asked the manager, pretending that he didn't know what was going on. Kiddie took the initiative, and said, "Your waiter doesn't seem to be inclined to accept my form of payment." The manager said, "Interesting, interesting. I think that in this particular case, young man, the customer is not right. If you'll deign to read the fine print on the menu, you may notice that we don't in fact accept stones as payment for our goods." Kiddie quickly read the bottom of the menu, and discovered that the manager was correct in his assessment of the situation. "How can I settle my debt in an honorable manner?" he inquired, mystified, bewildered, and aghast, "what do you have against precious stones? Lev Leviev would kill to get hold of these things!" The manager began to explain, "I can tell that you are an astute student of economics. There's something called supply and demand. Essentially, the more there is, the less its worth. In your miserable mid-America state, there aren't many diamonds, and therefore diamonds are worth much money. Here on Diamond Island, diamonds are a dime-a-dozen. In fact, diamonds are virtually worthless. So you see, I don;t think we'll be able to accept this payment." Kiddie asked, "And what do you view as valuable?" The manager replied, "Chicken fat."
Kiddie began to laugh. The manager joined in for a few seconds, and then, gasping for air, said, "Hilarious, isn't it!" A thin sneer then practically leaped across his face, and he said, "But that's just the way it is. Pay up or die." The waiter began to squeeze Kiddie's throat, and Kiddie made some quite realistic gurgling sounds which are unfortunately not reproducible here. As the last few ounces of life were leaving Kiddie's body the manager said, "There is one option, however." Kiddie gurgled a question, and the manager continued, "You could work as a dishwasher for-" and he checked the bill, "just around three and a half years." Kiddie, now released by the waiter, said, "I'll do it."
To be continued...

10 comments:

Anonymous said...

I would read it, but I freaking heard the story like a bajillion times already.

The Real Shliach said...

Is my brilliance to go to waste? read my son!

Anonymous said...

All right, so you gave an old tale a new twist. Whooppeedo! That doesn't compare to giving a new tale a new twist. I know how it's gonna end. I should read it just for the minor surprise along the way?

Eliezer said...

Totally behind Mr. Anonymous here. Plus, who wants to read a story whose moral is do as many mitzvos as you can because after 120 they'll be bloody valuable. What kind of lesson is that?

TRS impersonator said...

It's not how mitzvos are valuable after 120! It's about how mitzvos are valuable now--just you might not realize it until after 120.

The Real Shliach said...

A. You read the Torah every year, and it's the same twists every time. How does the phrase go, "It should be new in your eyes every time"? Anyway, I think it's pretty funny.
B. Eliezer, if you stick around until tomorrow, you'll understand that your current understanding of the story is totally off-base. Or maybe the Dubno Maggid's is off-base. We'll see...

The Real Shliach said...

In just under twelve hours the end will come. Patience my sons.

Nemo said...

Klutz Kasha- If you have chicken fat (edible food) why would you use that as a monetary instrument in paying for food? Instead of bartering, eat the fat!

Also, if I recall correctly, Ashkenazim don't eat foie gras because of Kashrus issue (or something along those lines) so I find it unlikely that the Dubna Maggid actually said this Moshul- or that the kid was from Siberia.

Nemo said...

My bad, according to R' Elyashiv its Kosher and apparentl the Chassam Sofer was an avid connoisseur of the delicacy.

http://www.hashkafah.com/Kashrus_Foie_Gras_t8214.html

The Real Shliach said...

There's only one way to eat chicken fat, and that's fried, as in "gribbenes". Kiddie, along with all the inhabitants of Diamond Island, is very health-conscious, and they never eat fried foods if they can help it.