Friday, February 20, 2015

Atone Deaf

Thank you for coming. I must admit I’m a little nervous. And not just because I’m standing before the editors of some of Northern New Jersey’s most respected synagogue newsletters. I’m nervous because I’ve never held a press conference before. Truthfully, I didn’t want to hold a press conference but I felt this was the only viable way for me to atone for my sins of the past year and apologize to those I’ve hurt.

FYI, I had intended to do this privately on Yom Kippur and not on the front lawn of my modest two-bedroom Paramus home. I completely missed the boat. It’s not like I didn’t know the day was coming. I wrote it down on a Post-It note and stuck it on my Water Pik. Unfortunately, the excessive moisture caused the letters to run and I thought it said “Yummy kipper snacks.”

You should know that I’ve never made a public display of my apologies before. Normally, I would craft well-thought out, heartfelt messages to those I had hurt. The only problem was I never told any of them. I was afraid that the apologies would not sound as good verbally as they did in my head. I was also afraid that the recipients would react poorly and smack me repeatedly with their lulavs. I’m sorry. That’s a reference to another holiday, either Sukkot or Palm Sunday. You know, I really wish I hadn’t cut so many Hebrew school classes.

On several occasions, I’ve attempted other ways of communicating my apologies that didn’t require putting myself in this potentially vulnerable position. One year I sent a Yom Kippur Gram. Another time I tried atoning through an orthodox rabbi hand puppet. I even had the chutzpah to send a Day of Atonement e-card.

As difficult as it is for me to stand here and seek the forgiveness of others, I know it’s the right and decent thing to do. Of course, I’d be lying if I didn’t say that I considered canceling the press conference. Now, I don’t blame you for rolling your eyes like that. I know I’ve canceled the press conference a few times before. Okay, two dozen. But I had some darn good reasons.

Once, I had to drive up to Cornell to console my son Kyle whose girlfriend dumped him for an orgasm app.

Another time, I was attending the opening of my new play, “Pledge Break: The Musical!”

And then there was the day I spent composing a letter to Miss Manners regarding the propriety of texting while cradling a child about to be circumcised.

Okay, now it’s time to get to the meat of the proceedings. There are many people I have injured by my insensitive behavior during the past year and I would like to take this opportunity to apologize to each and every one of them.
To my uncle, Myron Entemman: I feel awful for shaking your hand with a joy buzzer at Aunt Edna’s shiva call, causing your toupee to pirouette into the clam dip.

To my rabbi, Yonaton Shikker: I hope you can find it in your heart to forgive me for planting that wiretap in your yarmulke.
To my sister, Francine Lipbaum: I never intended to spend your wedding day being held for questioning at Newark Airport. But after a TSA agent insisted I remove my shoes, I thought it would be really funny to yell, “I can’t blow a plane to smithereens with Dr. Scholl’s bunion pads!”

To my acupuncturist, Helga Mandelbrat: If I had known that your work entailed piercing the human body with exceedingly sharp needles, I never would have lambasted you on Yelp, leading to your immediate deportation.

And finally, to the cast of “The Book of Mormon”: I’m sorry for leaving at intermission but I was under the impression that I had purchased a ticket for a musical based on the life of Ethel Merman.

Wow. I feel a lot better. And now, I’d like to take any questions you might have. Wait a minute, is that rain? No, I forgot to shut off the sprinkler system. I’ll be right back. In the meantime, feel free to stop by the buffet table and help yourself to some coffee and yummy kipper snacks.

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