(The World’s Scrappiest Human, neither Jewish, nor a Chicago Cub, thus entitled to enjoy both the World Series and Christmas)
“All anybody wants to read about right now is baseball,” one of my colleagues said to me Friday morning, and being a clever sort of guy, I said, “I feel like a Jew at Christmas.”
My colleague looked at me. I could see the wheels turning. “I feel like a Jew at Christmas.” Was that an offensive remark? Offensive or not, the simile was certainly apt. I grew up in Chicago, and you never desert the baseball team you loved as a kid. So I have remained a Cubs fan, and as such, I have only a mild interest in this World Series. Just about everybody else in town is really excited. I’m happy for them, but I am on the outside. I feel like a Jew at Christmas.
When you make your living with words, you tend to notice how easy it is to get into trouble with the darned things. It happens to people all the time.
I walked over to the desk of a friend who is Jewish. “I feel like a Jew at Christmas,” I said. He looked up at me. “About what?” he asked. “About the World Series,” I said. He was still looking at me. “So you feel like a Jew at Christmas, and that’s my problem?”
Of course not, I said, and I explained that when I first said it, it had sounded vaguely offensive. He considered that. “Maybe Jew sounds too sharp. Maybe you should have said, ‘Now I know how Jewish people feel at Christmas.’ Nobody would be bothered by that.”
Jewish people. That did soften it. Should that matter?
I can speak from personal experience about this Jew-at-Christmas thing. You get the day off. There’s free parking, almost everywhere. The movie theatres and Chinese restaurants are a little busier. Other than Shaq vs. Kobe, there’s nothing on.
All in all, a stress free holiday. Does McClennan mean to say that he feels left out of the party, the way Jewish people are on Christmas? I can assure him that said feeling is far less troubling than reading a column from a supposedly major newspaper (Will Leitch’s former place of employ, natch) that drops the term “a Jew” not much differently than I might “a martian” or “a unicorn.”