Sunday, July 20, 2008

Can I just write the &@#$ Bar Mitzvah speech?

Since it's summertime, Bar Mitzvahzilla's head has neatly emptied out of all its contents so that it can be filled back up with this stuff: swimming, video games, and TV. We're not even lenient parents but when he's not kept on a schedule, he just oozes down into a blob of primordial ooze, rising now and then from his comic books and Star Wars books (how can there even BE so many Star Wars books?) to eat all the food in the house.

But now we must write the Bar Mitzvah speech and I'm a writer so he thinks I'm going to write it for him. Not that I've ever done that before. And just because complete public humiliation looms before us if he makes one of those shuffling feet, monotone, tedious, "Today I Am a Man" speeches, don't think I'm worried about that.

So we sit down this morning with all his rough material - the stuff from his Torah study with the Rabbi and the stuff the Cantor gave him and the stuff I've previously brainstormed with him. And like most of the Torah, his parsha has a bit of archaic language - something about stoning one's son to death if he is sacriligious, and minutaie along the lines of "thou shall not take the bird's eggs from her nest till she flies away" etc. Luckily it all boils down to laws of compassionate living.

I say, "Give me some examples of compassion you've seen shown in the world around you."

He says, "Uh..."

And this is how our conversation goes because he thinks that if he does this over and over again I'll finally just get aggravated enough to write the speech myself. But it's his surprise. I'll edit the hell out of it, but I won't write it.

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