Saturday, January 24, 2009

The sleeping shoes

Is there anything worse than shopping for shoes? Sure, shopping for clothes is a miserable experience, but at least it's a fairly standardized experience. You walk into the store, find ten white shirts size 16.5, try them on, take the three that fit best, and exit the store. The same goes for pants sized 35/36. I understand that some people might have difficulty picking out which color they want. Heck, I even had a pair of dark green pants in LA, and wore them happily until they ripped in the keester. Point is, though the experience may take up way too much time and provide little benefit to humanity, at least it accomplishes something: You walk away having exchanged valuable assets for machined bits of cloth.
Shoe shopping, on the other hand...You know why they called it "The Devil wears Prada"? Because only the devil could find shoes that fit. First of all, is it too much to ask of the shoe department to stock the shoes in the open, where people can actually get to them? What is up with this having to go over to the counter clutching three single shoes and beg the overworked person there to bring you what you want. It's embarrassing, really, because after the seventh time the shoes didn't fit or whatever and you ask for more the salesperson starts to look at you funny. And I'm like, "Hello, what do you want from me? Stock the stupid shoes out here where I can do this myself!" But of course I just politely ask for some more shoes and feel like a moron. Secondly, in this pantheon of idiocy, is the seeming lack of 11.5s in this state. Am I the only male in New York who wears an 11.5? Somehow I doubt it. And yet I couldn't find a single shoe which came in this size. Even when I went to another shoe store which, mercy of mercies, actually had shoes available for customers to try on without making a whole song and dance out of it, they had no size 11.5s. And besides, they had 10, I kid you not, 10 aisles of shoes. Double sided. And how many of men's shoes? 1. One! Are these people crazy. Do female New Yorkers really buy shoes ten times more than their male counterparts? Absolutely ridiculous.
And yes, I didn't end up getting any shoes. I'm almost ready to move to a cave somewhere on the Serengeti and give up this material world we currently inhabit.

Meanwhile, in slightly more positive news, I had a nice Shabbos. I'm sure you're all happy to hear it. Once again the Shliach I was by asked me to say something, and once again I had what to say. It wasn't necessarily the best thing in the world, but the joke got a big laugh, and I figure that means something. So here's a not-so brief synopsis of what I said. Oh, and if it doesn't all make sense, that's ok, because I didn't think it all made sense at the time either. Still, as I said, everyone seemed to like it.

So my roommate has a problem with waking up in the morning, and he invariably comes five minutes late to seder every day. This past Monday the mashgiach got really fed up, and called him over for a chat. "Why can't you come on time?" he boomed, "this is ridiculous!" My roommate responded, "Hey, it's five minutes. What's so terrible about missing five minutes every day?" The mashgiach said, "You know what it's like? There's a train that leaves Penn Station every evening at 7:14 to Great Neck. If you come late to that train, well, sorry Charlie, because that train ain't coming back. You missed it. The world of Yeshiva works the same way. You come late to seder, you missed the train." My roommate was suitably impressed by these words, and vowed to improve his performance. So the next day Tuesday, he doesn't show up at all. The mashgiach finally gets hold of him and begins a'screamin and a'hollerin. "What happened? Not only did you miss the train, but you didn't even make it to the train station?!" My roommate replied, "Well, I was all ready to come at 7:31, but I realized that I had missed the train, so I knew there was no point. I just went back to bed."
That afternoon was the inauguration of the messiah, and Itzik Perlman, Yo Yo Ma, and company played a funeral dirge-excuse me, an inaugural ditty. Later it was revealed that this was in fact the first scandal of the new Obama administration. Turns out that they were play-syncing. Shocking, I know.
The big question, though, is "why do we care?" After all, it's the same music. The same players. The same instruments. So what difference does it make if it was recorded a little bit early?
The answer, of course, is that it wasn't authentic. It didn't have the proper verisimilitude. And people care.
Those same people often ask, "Why is it so important for me to keep all the crazy laws in the Torah? Does G-d really care?" And the answer is that yes, G-d does care. Everything you do makes a difference. When you miss the train, you miss the train. When you're not really playing , you're not really playing. Even if it seems like "Hey, I came to seder, just a little late." Fact is, you missed the boat.
-------------
Everyone around the table laughed long and hard at the train joke, even the Shliach. At the time he said, "Is your roommate telling the same story about you by a shliach this shabbos?"
Later he asked me, "Is this story really true? Because I know you're in smicha..." I told him that I had been waiting for ages to be able to tell this story, and when the opportunity came...I felt like Rabbi Akiva.

106 comments:

LE7 said...

Do female New Yorkers really buy shoes ten times more than their male counterparts?

Yes.

Turns out that they were play-syncing.

For one, no wonder I liked the music, but really?

Also, is the story true?

The Real Shliach said...

Really? Sick.

Really? You liked the music? You must be a true artiste. And yes, it's a true story. Look it up online.

LE7 said...

I mean, I haven't checked the statistics or anything.

Yes, I did. But I'm big on Perlman.

The story you told, was the one I was inquiring after the validity of.

The Real Shliach said...

Which story?

LE7 said...

About your roommate.

The Real Shliach said...

Oh. No, sorry, A. there's no knasim in smicha, and B. it's a classic. I wish it was my roommate.

LE7 said...

Figures.

sarabonne said...

So you said a dvar Torah and you made a joke, did you, by ANY bizzare chance also get plastered? Because if so, prepare for some interrogation.
And of course we wear more shoes. Firstly, we can't get away with wearing the same pair everyday, especially in Crown Heights so thats 5 pairs for 5 days of the secular week.
Shabbos requires a whole set of its own; Shabbos boots, flats(at least 3 pairs, one black), heels (again at least one pair of staple black pumps) and of course slippers.

The Real Shliach said...

I did not. I would have said a lot more if I had. For some odd reason this shliach doesn't believe in alcohol. I don't understand it myself.

Re: Shoes: I will now say shelo asani isha with even greater kavanah.

LE7 said...

Sarah- you need black and brown shabbos boots plus both colors for during the week...

sarabonne said...

I'm in art school and wear brown boots with my staple black dress. I am a rebel of sorts...

LE7 said...

Ahh rebel!! Rebel! Artsy rebel! I'm calling you out!

sarabonne said...

Call me anything you want but late to dinner. -my substitute history teacher said that, we didn't like him too much so we made the most of his offer.

The Real Shliach said...

Meaning what? I feel really think-brained lately.

sarabonne said...

meaning what, meaning what? What do you mean by meaning what? What? Of his offer to call him anything? I called him Sparky, then he said I was cute, I didn't say anything after that.

LE7 said...

You really called your teacher Sparky? I thought my nicknames for my teachers were chuzpadik... outdone once again.

The Real Shliach said...

That is pretty special right there.

sarabonne said...

Like I said, only once.

sarabonne said...

New blog by the way, finally.

The Real Shliach said...

Only special once?

sarabonne said...

Oh I've always been thuper thpecial.

LE7 said...

Every single comment you leave I can hear you saying.

Cheerio said...

females everywhere buy twice, nay, even thrice, the amount of shoes as their male counterparts. i once packed an entire bag full of shoes. of shoes. i'll say it again - a bag (i.e. suitcase) full of shoes.
sarabonne - you are amazing. just - amazing. sparky nicknames, brown boots, tobacco, beer and all.
trs - that is an impressive feat - tying in your roommate classic, and obama joke to an actual torah thought. i am officially impressed. 57 points.

sarabonne said...

Yeah, 4 points off though because you didn't get plastered. "The shluchim didn't have alcohol" please, you should have dropped it off before shabbas. A chassid should never take chances.

sarabonne said...

Maybe my play should be about a bunch of bloggers who get drunk and take over the world. And mekarev everyone.
Watson and Cheerio-thanks darlink, I do try.

Cheerio said...

can't you see her face? esp. when she lisps :)

Cheerio said...

YES!!! we should have LE7 and TRS help us write it.

LE7 said...

I'm in. After the semester is out that is. Check back with me mid-May.

sarabonne said...

I know, i just put up a blog begging for it. I just need ideas really, I can ramble easily enough, I only need to something to ramble about.

The Real Shliach said...

Cheerio: Thank you.
Sarabonne: When you can't afford any alcohol...Anyway, come around in a month and a half on Purim...you'll like what you see.
Re: Shoes: You people are crazy.

sarabonne said...

hm, somehow Watson, I dunno if thats gonna help. The timings just a wee bit off is all.

Cheerio said...

re: shoes: we're a different species. just accept it.

sarabonne said...

mmm, I know. I was here last year remember...
Oh thats right, we had to visit the old age home. Hmm. Maybe this time I'll wander the streets.

The Real Shliach said...

Cheerio: My wife better not be like this...you know how much it costs to take another suitcase on the plane?

sarabonne said...

well you've got 600, and all for one bitty goat. Sorry but I can't help bringing it up yet again.

Cheerio said...

yeah, that was before they started charging. also, i was smart and i put them all in a very large carry on.

The Real Shliach said...

Sarabonne: I'll be financially ruined! This is worse than Bernie Madoff!

Cheerio: Still, insanity.

Cheerio said...

still... even i agree. it's a lovely obsession.

sarabonne said...

Well I certainly hope you don't take the same action he did. I won't have anyone to write my play.

The Real Shliach said...

What action?

sarabonne said...

oh pardon me, I was thinking of the guy who commited suicide...

The Real Shliach said...

Ahh. I get it. Actually, if you could email me so that I remember about this tomorrow when I have time to think about it...

sarabonne said...

About writing the play? believe me, you're not going to forget. Otherwise no mor rolls.

The Real Shliach said...

Right. Fine. But email me so I remember, k?

LE7 said...

Wow, shamelessly soliciting e-mails. Tsk tsk tsk.

The Real Shliach said...

Excuse me for trying to be of help.

Modeh B'Miktsas said...

Have a little pity. He needs his shaygetz cred so he can tell his roommates "See I'm collaborating with avante guard artistic types on classy literature. Female artistic types. And literature without haskamos.

e said...

TRS, my shoe size is even harder to find. I'm 10 wide. Let me share with you a bit of wisdom:
zappos.com and shoes.com

I bought from them, and it was a breeze. It was easy to find what I needed, and no songs nor dances were necessary. I'm sure the artsy females here can wax poetic about the virtues of zappos better than I can.

The Real Shliach said...

Modeh: my thoughts exactly.
E: hmm. Good point. I'll work on that. Only thing is, if I find new shoes easily, what will I blog about?

e said...

Seriously, I cannot get over how much easier zappos is than shlepping around to endless stores which don't carry my size. Shoes.com is just as good, but for some reason they're not as well known. Aslo, before you buy, google to see if you can find any coupons.

The Real Shliach said...

You sound like an over-enthusiastic BT.

LE7 said...

Zappos is quite excellent truthfully. I've only bought one pair of shoes from them and it was a few years ago, but they send if within a day or so and if it doesn't fit you can send it right back.

LE7 said...

Plus if you go to zappos.com you can make a poll or something and let the readership of TRS select your shoes!

Modeh B'Miktsas said...

I'm also an 11 1/2. The following stores in brooklyn have always had my size, even when I was weirder sizes than that.
(If you think 11.5 is rough try a 9 double e)

The hat box: corner of O and Coney.
Ave. J shoes: Ave J (obviously) and east 13 or thereabouts.
Payless: Everywhere.
For sneakers, try sneaker corner on V and Nostrand.

Now that I've taken away your excuse for complaint posts let's hear some chassidus.

Nemo said...

TRS - you don't know the half of fashion oppression. Guys like me are apparently too fat for regular mall department stores - my size pants are officially not carried at all. I wear size 13 shoes which most stores only get one or two pairs of with their initial shipment, leaving nothing left by the time it comes to put them on sale.

My only recourse is the internet. I have to wait for big sales at Gap.com or whatever and then put out $500 to get half the store shipped to me. I then have to sort through everything and drag the stuff that doesn't fit (most of it) back to the store to return.

Cheerio can attest to all of this.

BTW, I've done this so many times that my UPS guy knows me by first name.

Crawling Axe said...

At least you didn’t grow up in the country with different system.

Every time I shop for clothes, I realize I forgot what sizes I am, in every… umm... department. So, I end up buying only socks.

Crawling Axe said...

What is sleeping shoes? Like sleepers? Some of those Russian shoes? Tapochki?

Anonymous said...

CA, you're too proud of your Russian heritage. You should be like all the other Ryskis and say things like, "Waat? I hef Rashin excent? I em Americen Citizen!"

Crawling Axe said...

I have no Russian heritage whatsoever!

I am not a goy!

Crawling Axe said...

And I have no Russian accent either. I speak with pure Louisianian drawl…

Anonymous said...

Ha! Typical Russian. "ya ne ruski! ya yevrai!"

You'll never hear an American Jew say, "I'm not american. I'm Jewish"--unless he's trying to sound chassidish.

The Real Shliach said...

I'm glad to hear that everyone is with me in my suffering. And whoever it was that wondered what sleeping shoes are-dude, did you read the post?

LE7 said...

So, is that going to be your next poll?

The Real Shliach said...

Can you put pictures on a blogger poll?

LE7 said...

Maybe use the sort of poll WebJEM used with the logos?

LE7 said...

http://www.polldaddy.com/

The Real Shliach said...

Hmm. Sounds complicated. All right, I'll think about it.

Modeh B'Miktsas said...

Are size 11 1/2 shoes really so rare in crown heights? Reportedly the shoes thrown at Bush were 11 1/2s.

Crawling Axe said...

You'll never hear an American Jew say, "I'm not american. I'm Jewish"--unless he's trying to sound chassidish.

That’s exactly the point. American Jews are half-way to being goyim. You can say that they are Americans. Russian Jews are not saying “ya ne russkiy” to prove something. For them, to be called a Russian is an insult. And it’s not true, because “a Russian” means nationality. So, I am not a Russian — I am a Jew. Vor fershteistu nit? Rashi was not French, he was a Jew.

It’s only person who considers his Yiddishkeit a religion, a social club (i.e., the vast majority of American Jews) will first identify himself as an American, a doctor, a scientist, etc. The essence of the problem with snags and MOs today — for them Judaism is a derech, a religion.

Crawling Axe said...

All I am saying is that there were two groups of bnei Yisroel in Egypt:

1) Those who called themselves Jews,
2) Those who called themselves Egyptian Jews.

The second category were killed in this week’s parsha. Had the Darkness happened tomorrow, only Lubavitchers and Russians Jews would remain.

sarabonne said...

Well isn't all this opsitmistic!
Baruch Hashem, I don't have an issue finding shoes. The problem is convincing myself thats its worth it to wear them as opposed to a scrappy pair of leather loafers. So I wear neither and have boots.

Anonymous said...

my husband wears 11.5

-endofworld

Crawling Axe said...

I usually don’t search for shoes.

My uncles is in shoe business (apparently, he supplies special slippers for some group of Chassidim in Boroughpark).

Modeh B'Miktsas said...

CA. Whatever Judaism is, it ain't a religion. If it were it wouldn't be a very good one. Here are the purposes of religion and how Judaism as a religion matches up:

1-yesoid hayesoidois of all religions is to feel spiritually superior to other people.
The torah says "Love your neighbor as yourself"
2-ease your mind about the afterlife so you can enjoy the here and now
The torah says דע מאין באת לאין אתה הולך ולמי אתה עתיד ליתן דין וחשבון not much room for a copout there.
3-Provide 'spiritual guidance'
The torah devotes equal time in the decalogue to בין אדם לחבירו. Of the 6 sedarim, 2 are devoted to dealing with G-d. And even those have a lot in the context of other people (e.g. the asham shifcha charufa)
4-To raise man out of this world and into the supernal.
The Torah saysועשו לי מקדש ושכנתי בתוכם from the biggest chossid (tanya) to the most intellectual MO (halkhic man) we all agree that it is about bringing the holiness of Hashem into this world and building a dira b'tachtonim.

???What religion???

webjem said...

Axman: I sympathize with your deeply rooted commitment to truth and integrity. I really do.

But "half goyim" is no way to speak of G-d's people. It strikes me as something the Rebbe would have taken great exception to. I haven't been able to dig them up online, but there are very interesting videos of the Rebbe speaking in this vein.

It's a theme that comes up again and again in sichos and letters. The Rebbe would simply not countenance such talk about his beloved Jews.

e said...

Y'see, you start working in Jem, and you start spouting all this chassidishkeit. They can't help it. They watch rebbe videos all day.

The Real Shliach said...

K'bubuss shamrem b'anay haKadosh Baruch Hu. 'Nuff said.

webjem said...

It's no accident I used my job title.

webjem said...

Plus, this strikes me as the furthest thing from the pejorative "chassidishkeit" (overtones of exclusivity) you seem to be referring to.

e said...

Pejorative "chassidisihkeit" can be a lot more subtle than "I'm the real Jew. You're a nobody. Go me." It can also take the form, "Only I am enlightened enough to see your true worth."

The Real Shliach said...

Deep.

webjem said...

Come on too strong, did I? I know my russian comrades aren't ones to mince words.

Funny though, I'm feeling awfully superior this evening.

LE7 said...

It's not hard to feel superior when you sporadically pop in to check up on us sinners.

Crawling Axe said...

But "half goyim" is no way to speak of G-d's people. It strikes me as something the Rebbe would have taken great exception to.

I agree. And I must mention that I was talking about their chitzoinius, not the etzem of who they are — i.e., of their consciousness of themselves. Anybody who considers himself as an American Jew, considers himself as an American and as a Jew. A half-Jew.

It’s precisely because they are not that, that it’s so ridiculous that they do this. Which is why Jews from Russia got it right (even if only through the help of goyim): they are Jews. End of story.

I mean, was Rashi French? Was Rambam Arab? Was Alter Rebbe Russian? Give me a break…

webjem said...

Here I thought my current commitment of 2-3 times a week was excessive. A man's got to be careful he don't spread himself too thin.

The Real Shliach said...

CA: in your rush to defend Russian Jewry's horrible food you completely missed the point. What did it just say in hayom yom? Something about the gashmius of a Jew?

Crawling Axe said...

It’s ruchnius.

So?

webjem said...

I was in a posh Jewish country club somewhere in the Midwest, and someone was describing the terrible antisemitism that left the Jews nowhere to golf and eat shrimp, which led to the creation of a country club of their own. I said something like "why didn't you get the message? The gentiles were telling you they didn't want you contaminating their pastimes". Wrong thing to say. Barely escaped with my life.

Crawling Axe said...

I think the quote from Julius Caesar may still be discovered amidst the craziness of the last post’s comments.

webjem said...

e: Greater or lesser measures of tact might be a good topic for here, but if this is the life you chose, I see no way of avoiding exclusivity.

The entire shlichus endeavor can be described as presumptuous, nosy and infantilizing.

What can be avoided is the rush to indignation.

Crawling Axe said...

Speaking of Russians and the Rebbe’s video, did you have a chance to look if those are available in Russian?

There was one video where the Rebbe talks about double exile with Russian subtitles. Blew some of my family members away.

e said...

You're damn right. Shilchus--heck Chabad Judaism--is presumptuous and nosy and holier-than-thou, just with nice friendly packaging.

The Real Shliach said...

Yet somehow it's successful...maybe that's because the sellers believe in their product?

e said...

Who said that presumptuousness and holier-than-thou tendencies make it hard to sell a product?

e said...

oh yeah. I forgot nosiness. Which door-to-door salesman sells more vacuum cleanser, the nosy one or the non-nosy one?

e said...

Watch it dave, you'll be eating your ancestors.

The Real Shliach said...

Of course, we all know the truth...it's the cholent.

webjem said...

e: I don't yet know you well, and I'm not sure how much , if any, irony or sarcasm underlies your comment.

But this is something that I've lost a great deal of sleep over, so excuse my asking: Does this disturb you terribly?

sarabonne said...

(Please excuse my lack of a contribution on the subject of Jewry,Chabad, and Nationality)
TRS-did you try DSW on Atlantic ave? They've got a nice selection and good prices.

webjem said...

Axe: Forgot about the videos. Will try again. Odds of forgetting again: 3:1

The Real Shliach said...

I must say that I appreciate everyone's suggestions, and IY"H in the coming week I'll be trying out all the stores and sites mentioned.

e said...

webjem: no it does not disturb me terribly. Why did you lose sleep over this? And what wise conclusions have you reached after all those sleepless nights?

Moshe B said...

ok, i know i am a bit late but i only read this article now after you posted a link to it. but, i have heard that analogy of a train for seder, but never with that point of sorry, you lost it and its not coming back, you lost out on valuable time of seder which you will never be able to make up for. the point i always heard was: seder starts at this time-the train leaves at this time, if you need to make the train you will be there hail, rain or shine. where do your priorities lie?

Crawling Axe said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Crawling Axe said...

Damn, wrong blog again.

The Real Shliach said...

moshe b: good point.