foreskin’s lament-shalom auslander

“that sounds like a romance”

that was an actual response from a male co-worker when he saw what i was reading. i didn’t really have anything for that. but then, i didn’t really think we were a city that had paparazzi for mark ruffalo, either. especially outside of the cbc. i stand corrected. i was charmed by shalom auslander’s voice and words via podcast-namely the philly free library‘s, this american life, and the moth. much to my absolute pleasure, his voice is just as amazing when it reads from one’s own head. the delay on which this blog is operating is reminding me that i’m still waiting for beware of god-c’mon library. i laughed very hard at many times during this logical meditation on the existence of a benevolent god and how humans (specifically those in our families) fuck up their actions based on this possibility that should bring us closer together, and not drive stakes through our hearts.

“With their bright red and yellow wrappers, Slim Jims seemed more like candy than a forbidden food. Had God even seen these things? How could He get so worked up about candy? He was going to torture a kid because of candy? It wasn’t as if I’d ordered a hot dog. I wasn’t completely in this world, and hoped if I started at the shallow end, with a Slim Jim, He might just vaguely dislike me, or generally prefer the company of others.” (80-1)

“I closed my eyes, took a deep breath, and shoved as much of the Slim Jim into my mouth as I could, coiling it up inside my mouth like a pig-flavored garden hose, forcing the last few reddish brown inches with the tips of my impure, trembling fingers as I tried in vain to squeeze my lips shut.” (84)

“–It’s one lousy pepperoni. You’re going to ‘loathe me in this world and torture me in the next’ over a fucking pepperoni? This is why nobody likes You.” (160)

and, point.


4 thoughts on “foreskin’s lament-shalom auslander

  1. exclusive rights:

    “My teachers told me that it is a sin punishable by death from above for a Jew to embarrass the Jewish people, which I am concerned these stories do. But I take a deep breath and remember that Aaron Spelling’s doing okay, and if he’s not an embarrassment to the Jewish people, I don’t know who is.” (27)

    “I could probably get better grades than Ephraim if I tried hard enough, but in the family lineage department, he had me flat-out beat. I may have been a Levite, but Ephraim was a Cohen, a priest, a genealogical royal flush, the only tribe tighter with God than the Levites. On top of that, Ephraim’s father was a rabbi, and both of his grandfathers were rabbis. Kick-ass lineage. My lineage was in the garage next door, shouting obscenities at power tools; I’d be lucky if my lineage was wearing a yarmulke.” (51)

    “All that you were permitted to do was eat, sleep, and read, but no matter how many books I took out of the library on Friday afternoon, I was finished with them all by Friday night, and by Saturday afternoon I was slumped over the kitchen table, reading the side fo the Entemann’s doughnut box for the ten thousandth time.” (128)

    “–That’s the problem, I answered. –You have to /not/ want something for God to give it to you.” (145)

    “In the past two days, I had broken up with a real girl, had sex with a fake girl, ruined an opportunity to go out with another real girl, and agreed to introduce my friend to a girl who didn’t even exist.
    This is what storytellers call ‘the complication.’
    God rolled on the floor and held His sides.” (189)

    “We struggled. Manhattan was cold, dead, and full of psychotics-psychotics dressed in garbage bags who lived out of shopping carts; psychotics in sharp suits and ties who worked twenty hours a day at jobs they despised; psychotics who walked around as if on film, posing and preening as if surrounded by imaginary paparazzi and film crews. I preferred the homeless man berating his imaginary mother; at least I could understand the impulse. Instead of atheism, I found polytheism; there were more gods here than there had been in Monsey-not as vengeful, perhaps, but inspiring no less devotion among their worshippers: the upper gods-fashion, money, success, power-and the lower gods-car, health club membership, address (there was a holy war brewing, I was sure, between the Below Fourteenth Streetians and the Above Fourteenth Streetians). There was a bible called /The New York Times/, one called /The Village Voice/ a god named Frank Rich.” (260)

  2. FUBU:

    “A lot like a foreskin. Cut off from my past, uncertain of my future, bloodied, beaten, tossed away. I wondered if there was a place where the foreskins could go, a place where they could live together, peacefully, loved, wanted, a nation of the foreskins, by the foreskins, for the foreskins.” (153)

    “According to someone, the circumcision needs to happen on the eighth day, and it needs to be performed by a God-fearing, Torah-observant Jew; and the God-fearing, Torah-observant Jew needs to place his lips upon the wound and suck blood from it, and I need to say, -‘Blessed are You, Lord our God, King of the universe, who has sanctified us with His commandments and commanded us to enter him into the Covenant of Abraham our father.’
    I felt as if I had gotten the right answer on the final round of /Jeopardy!/ but had forgotten to phrase the answer as a question.
    It was the foreskin that broke the camel’s back.” (294)

  3. Hey, we talked on okc for a bit. During that time, I found your blog and subscribed. Just wanted to say that I always appreciate your commentary!

    • hey there, at least /something/ good came out of that three-month experiment. thank you for reaching out.

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