Prunes and Prism

RULES FOR YOUNG LADIES: Some arch advice on snagging a husband. Exercising the mouth into a pretty shape through repetition of certain words seems to have been an indoor sport for young nineteenth-century girls; in Little Dorrit, Charles Dickens' overly bred girl repeats, "papa, potatoes, poultry, prunes and prism." (

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Number Our Days

Tonight when I was walking home I passed a little army of Hasidim gentlemen, some of them brandishing big yellow flags with blue crowns and Hebrew lettering underneath. When a red-haired and -bearded one (why do I always go for the redheads?) had his little yarmulked son pass me a flyer, I figured they were Lubavitchers, and so they were. FYI: The King Messiah is already here, and for our generation it's Rebbe Shlita. Spread the Word.

For a split second I thought about taping the flyer to the door so the Comrade could find it when he comes home (the way I taped up pictures of Sasha Cohen during the Olympics), but then I thought better of it since (1) it's blasphemous and (2) the neighbors might think we're serious.

So I'd barely gotten the Good News about the Rebbe Shlita when I turned on the TV and flipped on to TLC's Shalom for the Home, with Shmuley Boteach, "America's Favorite Rabbi." Am I the last goy to know about this? I caught only the last minute or so of the episode, but apparently he'd reunited this family of indeterminate religious orientation sufficiently so that the dad was hugging the teenage daughter and the mom was salting a chicken. At the end Rabbi Shmuley left the parents with a little wisdom: A mountain is neither an obstacle nor a place to build a chalet, but just beauty to behold.

I'm a total sucker for this stuff. Isn't every fish-fry Methodist? Would it be so compelling if I were Allegra Goodman?

Let me see if I can explain: I was looking at another blog earlier this week on which the Texas blogger posted a video clip of her very cute and endearing family, and a number of posters pointed out the sexiness of her husband's Southern accent*. It floored me because for me, when I hear a man with a Southern accent he is always, always going to be (1) saying grace before the homecoming game or (2) ordering some extra Corona limes for the Deke kegger. Regardless of what he is actually saying. I make this point not to illustrate that Southern men aren't appealing, but that sex and faith both ride largely on mystery, which is why I perk right up when Rabbi Shmuley has something to say about the best way to love a mountain. Put that in Joel Osteen's mouth and I'd have already flipped past him to Bridezillas.

I wish Rabbi Shmuley could talk me out of the kitchen cabinets, from which I am eating baker's coconut with a spoon.

* I think maybe one person who reads this blog has never heard me talk, and so let me hasten to add that I have a middling-to-thick Southern accent myself, so no judgments.


Blogger Recovering Baptist said...

When your mother was having Easter dinner with us, talk turned afterward, like it does, to death and funerals. In the midst of doling out advice, my mother stopped short and in a voice filled with concern she asked your mom, "does Amy still have her southern accent?"

11:51 PM  
Anonymous EndureForte said...

Hmmm. If you're educated, that accent (what accent?) is perceived as charming. If not, then you're a hopeless redneck. This is years of experience talking.
Point taken regarding the mysteries and wisdom of Rabbi Schmuley. I've looked into the eyes of zen hillbillies who spoke eternal Truths. These homespun mystics share the same mountaintop spaces as their counterparts in India. It is a curiously American phenomena to embrace Truth more readily when clothed in anothers' cultural baggage. Interesting, Amy.
By the way, if your accent is slipping, we'll gladly send you some tapes!

1:16 AM  
Anonymous ashok said...

"Shalom for the Home?" - Oy vey.

I remember I was hanging around with some Lubavitcher rabbis once, and one of them was told by another to do something because "My wife was told by your wife to tell me to tell you..." The rabbi who got this message didn't understand why I hit the floor laughing. I guess there's quite a lot of shalom in most Hasidic homes.

Yeah, I didn't know you had a Southern accent. Thanks for bringing that up.

9:24 AM  

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