Paternal Dissertation, Volume IV

Footnotes on my father:

1. My stepmother once bought my father a German flag which he mounted on the deck. He then began a morning ritual of saluting the flag in his underwear. My stepmother began her own ritual of apologizing to the neighbors.

2. When I was in high school, we had a Russian exchange student stay with us for two weeks. My father spoke German to her the entire time.

3. My father tends to use the word “schmegma” interchangeably with the word “schmutz”. He once explained to me the real meaning of “schmegma” in a Bob’s Big Boy. I immediately shouted, “Nah-ah! There’s no such thing as schmegma!” The woman in the booth behind us promptly turned around and said, “Oh, yes, there is.”

4. My father once dropped me off for a bat mitzvah at a synagogue that had a steel sculpture of the Burning Bush out front. He pointed to it and said, “That’s where they roast the little shiksas so you better behave yourself.”

5. My father’s idea of appropriate dress is wearing a football jersey over a turtleneck tucked into dress pants with sneakers. This is considered reasonable for anything from working lunches to running on the treadmill.

6. After his annual Christmas party last year, my father treated his staff and family to a complimentary visit at the establishment of his latest client: The Hustler Club. My stepbrother treated my father to a lap dance.

7. My father refers to the wreath of dried twigs and branches my stepmother hung in the living room as “The Twat on the Wall”.

8. My father once convinced my aunt and uncle that the Army taught him how to kill a man with one finger. His finger pointed menacingly in their direction, he would say, “There’s a special little spot right in the back of the neck that not many people know about. But you get it at just the right angle and boom! You can kill a man with one finger!”

9. My father composed his own Christmas carol set to the tune of an up-tempo Silent Night:

Buy me some schmut! Buy me some schmut!
I’ll be
gut if you buy me some schmut.
Clothes and slippers.
I’ll shut up for many a day.
I’ll let you off the hoo-ook.
If you buy me lots of schmut!

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