I’ve been keeping things from you, Dear Reader. Many things. Some interesting, some not so interesting, some juicy, some, in fact, quite dry—for example, I’ve been conducting experiments as to figuring out how much Yiddish one can introduce into a conversation with a Brit without them losing all understanding of a conversation. Quite dry in my opinion, but there you have it.
One of these hidden cards—somewhere between interesting and Why-Are-You-Telling-Me-This,-It-Is-Dull—is that I fell in with a couple of Brits and started a drinking/screaming club around two weeks after I arrived in Canterbury. The screaming aspect of the club comes from one of them being a fan of both Bon Jovi and the Confederacy—two institutions for which I hold no love. So, inevitably, I’d go out with Dixie (as I called the man) and Chuckles (who had a tendency to launch into spiels that seemed ripped from the pages of either H.P. Lovecraft or Ayn Rand, depending on how he felt that day) and we’d get to talking. Generally, we’d start talking about music and Dixie would bring up Jon Bon Fucking Jovi, and it would all devolve into mayhem.
Now, you see, Dixie was a good guy. Really, he was—except for Jon Bon Jovi and the Confederacy. I’m sure that you, dear reader, have friends who consistently surprise you with their ideas. I have several. I, in fact, have a history of these sorts of friendships. Once, a long time ago, I was friends with a neo-Nazi. In my defense: I never claimed to be a smart man.
At any rate, Dixie was in the Musical Theatre Society. I am, at best, lukewarm towards musicals. Yes, one might say, “How does every one know the dance that starts up out of no where?” and follow it with a hearty “Hurr hurr.” I try to convince myself that my reasons are more intellectual. I find that, most of the time, the song and dance routines break up a perfectly good narrative. However, Dixie was a friend, and I decided to support him in his endeavor—at the time, I viewed it as if I were helping a friend go through withdrawals. (Besides, it was in the building right next to my flat, so I didn’t have an excuse not to go.)
The Society put on a showcase consisting of songs from The Blues Brothers, Avenue Q, The Producers and a bunch of others which I’d never heard of before. By and large, it was very well done, especially considering how they were performing on a lecture stage in an academic building. Now, the reason I bring all of this up, aside from my goal of giving a proper account of my time abroad, is that afterwards, Dixie mentioned that the Society was putting on Fiddler on the Roof and would begin casting in a few weeks.
My brain went into hyperdrive. This was no ordinary musical—this was Fiddler on the Roof. The musical every Jew is forced to watch at birth. And I would be Tevye! I stared at Dixie, still wearing his Hitler outfit (they’d finished the show with “Springtime for Hitler,” complete with a terrifying Aryan-looking man in a flawless SS uniform) grabbed him by the shoulders, and said, “What?”
“Casting’s in a few weeks. Starts on Thanksgiving, actually.”
He then started talking about the American Society, which was going to have a Thanksgiving dinner. I may have told him that myself and the other five were coming, but I’m not sure. I was too excited.
In fact, I ran out of the building, to my flat, knocked over Zaf along the way, and blared the soundtrack sixteen times. It should be noted that this is the extent to which I Jew out. Yes, I could go to synagogue on Shabbat. Yes, I could keep kosher. Yes, I could volunteer and fulfill some mitzvot, but, honestly, that’s a lot of work and I like bacon.