sent me, “A Tale of Love and Darkness,” by Amos Oz. For those of you who haven’t read it, I
suggest you put on an old gray shawl, a pair of tattered bedroom slippers, heat
up some chicken soup, dim the lights, bring the book as close to your heart as
possible (so long as it’s still within reading distance) and let your soul be
awakened and healed by this breathtaking work of art. I’m not trying to be writerly here, God forbid. I’m simply telling you exactly what I told my
said, “You have to read this book your parents sent me. It’s amazing. I feel like your father wrote
immigrant family. But it’s almost like it
was embroidered rather than written. A
million brilliant stitches, designed to tenderly hold up the britches of a
growing young boy as we watch his imagination emerge into a brilliant young mind, a mind that’s been
exposed to some of the greatest thinkers in recent history. Together
they create a sort of tea stained tapestry of the tragic but still somehow deeply
comforting Jewish experience.“
‘Too Fat to Fish,’ by Artie Lange.”
Than night I
fell asleep thinking about eight year old little Amos wandering through the vast rooms of his Uncle
Joseph’s house and stumbling into the professor’s study where over twenty-five
thousand dusty volumes of Jewish literature lay waiting for him. As the boy breathes in the intoxicating dust of the promise of truth, and looks through the
glass doors that lead to a dark and gloomy garden, far beyond the limits of
where he is allowed to roam, I turn my head and there’s a hazy figure looming
in the distance.
“What are you doing here?”
“Like you didn’t
know I was coming?” he asks.
“How would I
know you were coming? I’m just sitting here watching little Amos.”
“You mean that
little Jewish kid standing over there by the anti-bacterial soap?”
“Yep. That's Amos.”
“Why does he
look so shiny?”
“I thought I
had it bad,”Artie says to Amos.
“We all have a story to tell, don’t we? Tell me, what happened to you, Artie,
is it?" little Amos asks.
drugs, booze and broads. Here, take these.”
“You’re giving me your dirty socks? But it seems like just a few moments ago I
was watching my scholarly uncle cast multiple shadows on the wall, as a
metaphor for the mystery of his intentions. Why would I want your socks?”
“I think you’re
wasting your time with all that mental bullshit. You’ll find out sooner or
later that your grandmother was right.
You’re either clean or dirty. Nothing else matters.”
“This is so
weird,” I interrupt.
because you’re dreaming. Bitches always have
“Does my husband know you’re here?”
yeah. He’s the one who let me in, remember?”
“He should have checked with me first.”
pretend you wouldn’t rather be reading my book than that depressing, coming-of-age
know what a Kibbutz is, do you?” little Amos giggles.
difference does it make? I told you, already.
Nothing fucking matters.”
“Not even an
incredibly well-written story that delicately unfolds the layers of Jewish
history through the eyes of a curious, intelligent child struggling to understand
his place in the universe?”
fuck should I know? I’m too fat to even fish.”
"That's not stopping my husband from devouring your book," I mutter.
"It wouldn't stop you either."
"I beg your pardon! How would you know?"
"I'm in your dream. That means I can see right through you. Hold on a minute, what's that over there? Sticking out from behind your book collection? ‘Confessions of a Shopaholic’?"
"It was one of my all time
favorites,” I say with my head down.
the movie is supposed to be very, very good, too,” Artie says, sympathetically.
that settles it then. Clearly you were
sent here to remind me why my husband and I agreed to marry.”
listen to Howard Stern?”
that. And one other little thing.”
laugh than think.”
interrupts little Amos. “You’re quoting Agnon, what you mean to say is, ‘If you
have no more tears left to weep, then don’t weep. Laugh.’”
“No, I'm sorry little Amos. That's not it. We’d just rather laugh than
think. I promise you, that’s where it
begins and ends. Trust me. I’ve been
married a long time. That’s what keeps
“Do you mind
if I pass out on your couch, then?” Artie asks, handing me a copy of his book.
all. In fact, I insist.”