You may recall my previous harangue against the chowderheads at the Jerusalem Post, who put out some of the shoddiest reporting in Israel (Y-Net, uh, nonwithstanding) and routinely publish editorials which happily sail into the deep chasm between “idiocy” and “offensiveness.” But until now, it was sort of a fuzzy generalized hatred, a hatred which would cause me to remark to my companions upon seeing the newspaper, “My, the Jerusalem Post surely is a unprecedentedly pedestrian excuse for a daily news-paper, chums, and I would not be averse to its use as a sanitary napkin!” – or cause me to call Caroline Glick a tyrannical Grendel’s Mother who shrieks in the language of demons, for that matter.
Until now. Because now, they’ve made it personal.
That’s right. The Jerusalem Post woke me up.
You see, I was sleeping, which is really one of the few pleasures in this short life besides hummus, and my phone rang. Because I’m a sucker for punishment, I looked at it. “Mispar hisui.” Disguised number. Fuck. Never a good sign. But for some reason, which I attribute to my sleep-addled sense of judgment failing to kick in, I answered it. Bad idea.
Fuck. FUCK!! A wrong number.
Now, I see you people who don’t live in Israel going, “What, it’s a wrong number, so what? You just say, ‘I’m sorry, I think you have the wrong number,’ and the other person says, ‘Oh, I’m sorry, bye,’ or, if they’re really annoying, ‘This isn’t 555-5555?’ and you say ‘No, it’s 555-5556’ and that’s the end of it. Thirty seconds tops.” I assure you all, the people reading this who live in Israel are saying, “Oh, Elohim adirim, that poor schmuck.” Because a wrong number in Israel is not a mere case of telephonic ships passing in the night. It is, in fact, cause for an interrogation.
“Zeh lo David.”
“Alo? Alo? Alo? David?!”
Israelis are hard of hearing.
“ZEH LO DAVID!”
Now, here’s where it gets Israeli. Back in the Galut, as I mentioned before, this is where a normal person would realize they had the wrong number and exeunt stage right from your life. But that’s not how we do it in the Jewish State! If you dial a wrong number, why not become accusatory?
“Zeh lo David?”
“Uhhh…Lo. Yesh l’kha et ha-mispar ha-lo nakhon.”
“Az mi zeh?”
What the fuck do you care who this is? You have the wrong number, chump! What the fuck are you, a cop? Do you think I know where David is? Do you think I have him locked up in a closet somewhere? Do you think I’m eating his flesh? Do you think I get kicks out of playing with the minds of my callers? I’m not David! LEAVE ME ALONE!
“Ah. Mikha’el. Zeh lo 555-5555?”
“Az eifo David?”
This is about the time the coronary started. But in the midst of rage-induced pulmonary failure, I remembered that I do in fact share an apartment with a man named David, whom you are all familiar with as our Dear Leader ck, and aforementioned David has a habit of giving out my number whenever he sets up some sort of service, such as Internet, which means I get all the sales calls. For this I swear I will put arsenic in his orange juice someday, but that’s not the point right now.
“Atah mekhapes et David Abutbul?”
“Lo. David Azuz.”
“Ani lo makir oto.”
“Atah lo makir?”
NOOOOOO! I TOLD YOU! YOU HAVE THE WRONG NUMBER! STOP ASKING ME QUESTIONS! DEMON! DEMON! DEMON!
And then, just when I thought it couldn’t get any worse, he dropped the bomb on me (baby), he dropped the bomb on me.
“Ahh, beseder, Mikha’el. Ani me ha-Jerusalem Post.”
ohgodohgodohgodohgodohgodohgod it was all a ruse they read jewlicious and now they have my phonenumberandthey’recomingtokillmeshitshitshitshit
“Atah kore et ha-Jerusalem Post, nakhon?”
Is this one of those Mossad trick questions? Can I survive jumping off my balcony? Are the gunmen already posted outside?
And then, just as I was about to get up and do myself in with the kitchen knife, he launched into a hyperspeed sales pitch for the Jerusalem Post. All the while calling me David. I listened to about thirty seconds of it, realized that I was not interested enough in the Jerusalem Post CHINAM!!!!!, or at any price really, to untangle Hebrew at 220 BPM and indulge this wrong-number-from-Hell, so I did the first rational thing I’d done all day, and hung up.
He called me back.
I turned off the phone and tried to go back to sleep. No luck. So now, here I am, a couple hours later, and I have a headache, and my eyes hurt, and I’m tired, and I’m going down to the newsstand to buy today’s issue of the Jerusalem Post. And then I’m going to set it on fire.