I’ve been feeling a bit introspective lately. Maybe it’s because of the war. War has a way of carpet-bombing entrenched strongholds of frivolity with a few tons of deep thought, which is disconcerting for those of us who prefer a bit of mental and environmental tranquility. Or maybe it’s because of adulthood, which has rather unexpectedly abducted me, and, from the looks of it, childhood is not prepared to negotiate for my return. Anyway, in all my recent introspection, I’ve reached an uncomfortable state of self-awareness, and realized something fundamentally disturbing.
I’m really poor. And not only that, but due to my, ahem, “artistic” bent, by which I mean a lack of any practical skill, it seems this will probably be a fairly permanent state – unless I follow the parting advice of a high school history teacher and marry a rich woman.
Don’t listen to all those wankers who romanticize poverty. It’s profoundly undignified. Poverty means having to choose between spending money on food and spending money on the finer things in life, such as
weed and bitches a healthy stock portfolio. It means having to choose between paying the rent and paying much-deserved attention to the Playstation 2. And these are choices nobody should be forced to make.
But the worst part of poverty is not being able to afford the kind of accomodations that one’s temperament may best be suited to, i.e. clean, quiet, air conditioned and with a staff. No, I have to live in what I will diplomatically term a hole. A hole where the most reliable entertainment is trying to guess the origin of the deathly odor in the stairwell (did a cat die, is it badly-cooked fish, or did someone leave a bag of bodily waste by the front door again?). A hole where the ambient noise lasts from roughly 4 AM to 2 AM. A hole where the noise from the drunken old men singing and playing ouds and darbukas until 3 AM is matched only by the constant car alarms which nobody bothers to turn off. A hole called Machaneh Yehudah.
Yes, living in the shuk kind of sucks, despite the undeniable convenience and central location. I could deal with it, but for one hitch. And thus, we finally arrive to the point of the post.
It’s that fucking bakery kiosk in the shuk, pictured above.
I am not by nature a violent man. But believe me when I say I have lain awake nights imagining the most suitable and painful torture for the operators of the aforementioned Fucking Bakery Kiosk, which, like much of Satan’s handiwork, has no name. Its sins are many. First, the guys who work there (who by the way all wear kippot) play a fun game I like to call “not giving you your change.” Say you give them 5 shekels for 3 shekels worth of baked goods. They’ll take your five shekels and disappear into the back of the store, or move on to somebody else, and when you yell at them to give you your goddam change, they pretend not to hear you, or deny that they owe you any change, until you get fed up and walk away. I’m not the only one they’ve done this to. If by some mistake you shop there and they do it to you, do me a favor and spit on their bread. Which, by the way, isn’t very good.
But the theft is just the venial sin. The capital sin is the fucking song. You see that rotund little justification for late-term abortion in the orange shirt behind the counter? He, calling upon the entirety of his mental faculties (which so far have landed him an advancement-free position selling pita until he dies), has hit upon a brilliant business strategy. What’s the best way to sell hotcakes like…hotcakes? If you guessed anything other than screaming at the top of one’s lungs a tuneless little melody whose sole lyrics are “BO, BO, BO L’KAN, BO, BO, BO L’KAN” hundreds of times a day, you’re wrong. Yes. He is convinced that bellowing out “come here” ad nauseum will attract customers. And the trend has caught on: often his co-workers will join him in the high-volume off-key braying. What he hasn’t counted on is that it convinces the people who live in earshot to never buy his bread, and makes them dream of making a recording of his fucking little ditty, making him listen to it with headphones so loud it ruptures his eardrums, then stuffing the headphones down his throat until he stops twitching.
I said I wasn’t violent. He made me this way. Him and his song.
So please, do me a favor. Never buy anything from that kiosk. Or better yet, go there and tell him that you’re not buying his bread because of his song. And while you’re at it, please send me some money. I can’t live like this.