Too Lazy To Write A Book

Short and not-so-short essays and thoughts, because writing a book is too damn hard

Month: February 2016

Part 3 Of Your Indispensably Honest Guide To Attending A Bar / Bat Mitzvah

Mazel Tov Part 3Welcome back!!  The celebration is well under way, but if you’ve missed the service and the beginning of the party, read Part 1 here and Part 2 here.

Caught up?  Good.  Let’s keep eating.


  1. The meal will begin.  A plate of salad will have already been placed on the table in front of you, and it will look…like salad.  You will eat it anyway, because it’s salad, even though you’ve just consumed four pounds of widely available chicken satay at the cocktail reception.
  2. For some reason, despite the plethora of expensive food being thrown your way this evening, you will only be given one bread roll.  Leave your roll exposed for too long and it will be picked off by a carb-depleted member of your table.  Eat it quickly, or guard your bread like the Hope Diamond.
  3. During the salad course, the father of the honored child will take to the stage to give a toast.  He will thank everyone for coming, “from near and far”, mentioning each individual state like a Congressional roll call.
  4. He will also thank his lovely and beautiful wife for putting so much time and effort into such an incredible event.  Try to catch a glimpse in the background of the exhausted professional party planner getting intravenous fluids and shedding a quiet tear (or possibly seething).
  5. The husband will also salute the amazing job his child did at that day’s ceremony.  Note that this speech was written at least 72 hours before the event, having no idea whether his child excelled or butchered the Torah portion.  Shake off the hypocrisy and clap politely at the stump speech.  He’s paying for your drinks.
  6. He will then introduce a video montage, featuring 735 still images of his child with various friends, family members, and Disney World cast members.  The main goal of the video is to provide visual evidence that the family’s life together is much more enjoyable than yours.
  7. This will be the most difficult and trying portion of your evening, as watching the average Mitzvah Montage is akin to watching paint dry, if the paint took family trips to Boca, Costa Rica, and Bubbie’s 95th birthday party at The Red Barn.
  8. The length can also be trying.  This video will last approximately 12-25 minutes, but will end up taking at least an hour off of your projected lifespan.
  9. Jewish law requires that “Time Of Your Life” by Green Day be featured somewhere within the montage.  And no, most parents are unaware that the real name of the song is “Good Riddance”, which is both hysterical and, since we’re being honest, possibly more appropriate.
  10. Now that your legs have atrophied from lack of use during the endless montage, dancing will officially commence.  For the next 40 minutes, as the DJ begins to blast his set of electronic  music you’ve never heard of through speakers the size of SUVs, you will no longer be able to communicate with the person directly in front of you without screaming in their ear.
  11. Somehow, the inability to communicate verbally will inspire all kids under 18 to put down their phones and acknowledge each other’s presence on the dance floor. The boys will dance with the motivators, while the girls will dance with each other.  One crazy aunt will dance wildly by herself, and later dominate the Bar Mitzvah video footage.
  12. Hard core rap songs will play a prominent role, spun at slightly higher speeds and distortion to disguise the lyrics about drug consumption and sexual misconduct.  Surprisingly, the grandparents will try to join in the fun by singing along to the chorus of the one song they recognize, blissfully unaware of why the lead singer “can’t feel his face”.
  13. Once your ears have melted and your larynx burns like wildfire from trying to hold down a conversation with a similarly deaf adult, the music will quiet down and the kids will retreat to their white couches for a fresh smoothie.  The main course will then be served to the adults, likely including a carefully-planned and orchestrated menu of classic dishes served elegantly on formal plates.
  14. At least one person at your table will sneak into the kids section and make himself (or herself) a plate of chicken fingers and sliders.  These will become tradable commodities at your table, ultimately developing into a black market of finger foods as one curly fry sells for $45 to a hedge fund manager.

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The Party Begins – Part 2 Of Your Indispensably Honest Guide To Attending A Bar / Bat Mitzvah

Mazel Tov Part 2-1(If you’re confused as to why this guide begins at #27, click here for Part 1)

You’ve survived the service.  You’ve properly enclosed your cash or check into an appropriately themed card and sealed the envelope (remembering at the last minute to add your name to the card). But you’ve only just begun your journey.  Consult your original invitation, curse yourself for accidentally throwing out that helpful directions card, drive successfully to the proper location, reluctantly hand your keys to the valet knowing how long it will take to get your car back at night’s end, and make your way into the main event.


  1. When you arrive at that evening’s party for the “cocktail hour”, you will immediately notice the attire worn by guests.  Adult women will be wearing stunning dresses from Saks Fifth Avenue and Neiman Marcus, while the teenage girls will be dressed like hookers.
  2. Concurrently, the suits worn by both boys and men will be at least two sizes too big.  This will not matter, for within the first 10 minutes all boys will deposit their suit jackets on the floor of the reception hall, and will later return home with the wrong  coat belonging to a camp friend from Massachusetts.
  3. As you enter, adults and children will split into two rooms.  The kids will move to a room filled with games, candy, unlimited pizza and organized activities, while the adults will file into a room with elegant music and fine passed hors d’oeuvres.
  4. Most adults secretly wish they were in the kid’s room.
  5. The name “cocktail hour” is misleading.  Despite the moniker, this is not really about cocktails.  It’s about FOOD.  As Jews, we are trained at birth to crave appetizers, and consumer research shows that when given the choice between a libation or a toast point with filet, Jews will choose the beef 89.7% of the time.
  6. The sheer volume of food offered during the cocktail hour will be staggering.  You will be offered a stuffed mushroom or a piece of meat on a stick at least once every 14.3 seconds.
  7. Despite this, you will still complain about the length of the line at the moo shu chicken buffet table.
  8. No matter how elegant the appetizers, nothing will be more treasured or fought over than a passed tray of mini hot dogs wrapped in puffed pastry.
  9. And they won’t come easy.  A Bar Mitzvah professional knows to scope out all entrances and exits to the room like a secret service agent, eventually positioning themselves as near as possible to the entrance used by servers and aggressively attacking the mini hot dog server until there is nothing left on their tray besides parsley and a lonely dish of brown mustard.  If you desire the mini hot dogs, don’t make the rookie mistake of getting stuck in the middle of the room with the dieters.  Be a pro.
  10. This strategy should also be employed for potato pancakes.
  11. Conversely, take your time with the chicken satay.  There will be plenty of those left.
  12. If you are male, within 10 minutes of entering the event you will spill some kind of red sauce on your white dress shirt.  You will attempt to cover this up with an awkward combination of club soda and potato pancake grease (assuming you positioned yourself properly, see previous note) and hope your wife is too distracted by the action at the sushi table to notice.
  13. You will quickly surmise that a Jewish man must have three hands.  There is no other explanation as to how he manages to hold his wife’s plate of salmon, her Cosmopolitan, and either her purse or his own fought-for mini hot dog without the pile tumbling onto his already-stained dress shirt.  This may also explain why most Jewish men are thin, as they lack the necessary number of available appendages to hold or utilize a fork.

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