Anger is not a useful emotion. It breaks things. It does not serve me well. I do not wish to keep it. Yet, as 2017 comes to a close, I find myself unable (or unwilling) to let go of my fury. Perhaps my fury is what’s holding me together. My amusement at political jokes and cartoons has an angry edge. If it was an emoji, it would be a grinning sledgehammer. Perhaps I could sell that concept to someone at corporate HQ for Walmart. Imagine Walmart shopping bags depicting a demonic grinning sledgehammer that read “Have Another Day.” Another day of tamping down the fury in an effort to stay positive.
Warning: political content and questionable Jewish jokes ahead.
I regularly contact senators and representatives (i.e., congressional reps) via phone, email, and postcard to speak my mind. While I do occasionally contact my own congressional reps, I usually lean on the ones most needed and most likely to make a difference with their vote. Honestly, I’m not angry at my own congressional reps, so why holler at them? I want to holler at the imbeciles who actually make me furious. At the same time, I want my actions to have strategic impact. So I carefully choose Republicans who are wavering on key issues and I don’t tell them I live in Cali, I just give them a piece of my mind in the hope that I will help tip the scales when they vote. I also regularly call the handful of most vulnerable Republican congressional reps from Cali during off hours when no one is answering the phones and leave them spit-flecked messages saying “you don’t speak for me and you are not my voice in Congress and we are going to vote you out of office,” even though I can’t actually vote them out because I don’t live in their feeble-minded district, for obvious reasons. I don’t want to live somewhere that people actually vote for these morons. This is my blog. I’ll say what I want. Don’t judge. It’s the fury speaking.
On weekends I write postcards and make calls to leave messages on machines at congressional offices. I wonder if the aides who answer the phones on Monday morning even listen to my entire message. I should probably throw in something to get their attention, such as, “Do they sell kosher salami anywhere in Kentucky?” Thus one of my improved call scripts would be something like: “Vote no on this tax legislation that gives huge tax breaks to the wealthy and corporations and will devastate the lives of everyone else, all of us seniors, the middle class, hardworking people, elves, Redwood trees, waffle irons, and polar bears. The only things that will trickle down to us from increased corporate profits are toxic chemical-laced food, dangerous prescription drugs, deranged store-bought politicians, yet more creative living situations for the impoverished, and tweet-lies. Do the right thing. Vote no.” (Well, they didn’t, so I need a tax accountant who is also a qualified therapist.) Actually, the polar bears will now be devastated for real since somehow the GOP has recategorized drilling for oil in the Arctic Refuge as a tax issue. How they managed to lump this into tax legislation baffles me, but they wrote it into the margins at one o’clock in the morning and jammed it through. Since polar bears don’t vote, and would probably be disenfranchised even if they did (because, let’s face it, who is going to shuttle polar bears to the nearest polling place, or should I say poling place?), the GOP can’t pass out cigars fast enough to celebrate turning the Arctic Refuge into the Arctic Refugee.
I’m not looking forward to Al Franken leaving Congress, despite my disappointment in his inappropriate behavior. The Dems are throwing him under the bus to take a moralistic stand and make a point. But not one Republican pedophile or rapist is going to resign as a result of tossing out Al. It hurts me to lose Al, who has been a strong voice for me and my beliefs in Congress. Not worth the sacrifice. He should stay. He just can’t run for president, since apparently now committing sexual assault is required to qualify for that office and Al doesn’t have the credentials for that. Sigh.
I plan to change my activist tactics in 2018. It appears that delusion and mayhem work better than truth and reason. It works for Mitch and his cronies who map out how to increase homelessness on dinner napkins in the middle of the night and it works for the Predator-in-Chief to advance his catastrophic agenda. Here is my new plan. I will call Republican congressional reps and leave Jewish jokes on their answering machines. They won’t have a clue. While the percentage of Jewish congressional reps has risen in recent years, almost all of them are Dems. There are about two Republican reps who self-identify as Jewish, but I suspect they are simply confused Mormons. So, with Jewish jokes in mind, here are some I have up my sleeve. If you are not Jewish, you will probably think you get these jokes, but you will probably get them at about 60%. Enjoy as much as you can decipher. As for Jews, have fun. I am contemplating leaving these on the answering machines at the DC offices for the most morally corrupt, mentally deficient, and malicious lawmakers. This should confuse them, perhaps distract them, and, in my fantasy future, derail them. I live more and more in my fantasy future these days. Everyone there is compassionate, considerate, and helpful.
A Jewish man is on his deathbed and he whispers to his daughter, “I think I smell your mother’s delicious kugel.” The daughter confirms that he does because her mother has baked kugel. “Please bring me some to taste for one last time,” the father gasps. The daughter goes away and comes back empty-handed. “Where’s the kugel?” her father whispers. She replies, “Mom says it’s for after.”
This one from Jewish comic Billy Crystal (not a Jewish joke, just a Jewish comic’s sense of humor): “Women need a reason to have sex. Men just need a place.”
Four Jewish women are eating lunch and the waiter comes to the table and asks, “Is anything alright?”
The Jewish comic London Lee said he once had a German shepherd as his pet until it found out he was Jewish and bit him.
A Jewish grandmother comes across a beggar in the street who holds out his hand to her and says, “I haven’t eaten in four days.” The grandmother says, “Force yourself.”
All Jewish holidays can be explained as “They tried to kill us but we survived. Let’s eat.”
A Jewish grandmother is at the beach with her grandson. As she watches him at the water’s edge from a beach blanket, a huge wave comes and drags him out to sea. The woman raises her fists above her head and shouts at God, “How can you do this to me? I’m a righteous woman! I obey all your commandments! Why have you taken my darling grandson?” A huge wave comes in and when it leaves her grandson is sitting on the shore unharmed. The grandmother looks at the heavens and says, “He had a hat.”
Finally, a true story about the Jewish comic actor Walther Matthau. He and his wife were on vacation in Europe with the Jewish comic couple Jerry Stiller and Anne Meara. Stiller relates that one night, he and his wife heard the Matthaus arguing loudly in the hotel room next to them for quite some time. At breakfast the Matthaus were clearly still fuming at each other. The two couples went to Auschwitz with a tour group. After walking through the museum at Auschwitz, Matthau’s wife turned to him with tears running down her cheeks, and said, “This puts everything in perspective and ought to make us both realize how foolish we are for fighting.” Matthau replied, “Now you ruined Auschwitz for me.”
I imagine that after weeks of receiving Jewish jokes on the congressional office answering machines, there will be a rash of resignations by congressional aides and office workers. If I can gut their staff, maybe I can force a few Republicans out of office. You never know. They have tried to destroy us before, but we survived. Let’s eat.
If you have stayed with me through this year of fewer blog posts and the necessity to dig deeper to find humor then I thank you for your loyalty. I try my best to raise a few laughs and keep hope alive. It isn’t easy, and getting harder with each passing day. I would like to imagine that these difficult days are actually the first tumultuous years of a better world being born. In "Laudato Si," Pope Francis writes: "May our struggles and our concern for this planet never take away the joy of our hope." The pope is a hard act to follow, but let me say that I wish you much hope, much joy, much wonder, and the shelter of peace in 2018. We will continue to care for one another and lift one another up despite the heartless and greedy machinations of this incomprehensibly mean government. Remember to keep laughing. Blessings to you and those dear to you in these stressful and uncertain times.
Image of a better world from Hao's Blog.