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Just making waves
By DANNY KATZ
Thursday 20 April 2000
Auntie Becky once ate a piece of fish that wasn't cooked properly and she got a tapeworm inside her and then she got really sick and almost died.
My mother told me that story; I don't know whether it's true or not, because my mother exaggerates everything. For all I know, Aunty Becky didn't actually get a tapeworm inside her and she probably didn't get sick; maybe she wasn't even eating fish - maybe she just ate a banana and bit her tongue, that was it.
My mother is the worst exaggerator in the whole world; she goes to the dentist and gets a cleaning, she comes home and tells us she got five root canals. She burns some porridge in the kitchen, she tells us the house almost caught fire and she was nearly burnt alive. She finds a spider in the bathroom, she's running around screaming DON'T WORRY ABOUT ME, YOU WATCH TV, I'LL KILL THE FUNNELWEB MYSELF. She can't help it; it's in her blood, Jewish people have a special gene - its called the Exaggerate-everything-for-the-sake-of-a-good-story gene.
Jews have had this gene for thousands of years: it makes them turn mundane day-to-day events into ridiculous over-the-top tales of miracles and wonder - and that's how I think the Passover story got written.
Passover is a Jewish festival that started last night and runs for the next eight days; it commemorates the time when the Israelites escaped from Egypt. It's the story of Moses and the plagues and the splitting of the Red Sea, but I'm not sure these things could've really happened: they're too weird. I bet the Red Sea didn't really split in two - thousands of years ago there was probably some little old Jewish woman sitting on the beach and she got splashed by a tiny wave then she ran home to tell her husband: "Saul, Saul, you won't believe what just happened, I was down at the beach and the sea split in two, just like that, it was amazing, THE WATER PARTED IN THE MIDDLE AND YOU COULD WALK TO THE OTHER SIDE. I'M NOT LYING SAUL, RIGHT IN THE MIDDLE, I TELL YOU.''
And then there were all the plagues that God sent down to punish the Egyptians; horrible plagues like hail and locusts and darkness - I'm convinced these were exaggerations too. The same thing happens when my family go out for a picnic in the park; there's a bit of afternoon drizzle and we all get a little over-excited, we start screaming IT'S HAILING and then Dad sees a grasshopper on the ground, LOCUSTS and then Mum looks up at the grey clouds THE HAND OF GOD HAS STRUCK DARKNESS OVER THE EARTH - it's easy to see how it can happen.
And other plagues were probably just a bad case of Jewish Whispers - which is kind of like Chinese Whispers, but a little more neurotic.
Long long ago, a bunch of old Jews were having a drink at the Gaza Strip Club and one old Jew whispered to another old Jew, "Oh my God, my feet are killing me, I've got the worst corn''. And the message got passed around the table until it reached the last old Jew and he jumped up and said: "Did you say God is killing the first born? IT'S A PLAGUE.''
Every Jew has the Exaggeration gene. Even Moses had it; he claimed he led the Israelites across the desert and it took him 40 years. Forty years is a long time, but what non-Jews have to understand is, Jewish time is different to normal time. When my Uncle Nat goes to the toilet, he's in there for 20 minutes, but he comes out saying "Oy yoy yoy, that took me 10 YEARS to push out''. So you have to do a bit of Jewish mathematics to work out the right time; if 10 years equals 20 minutes on the toilet, then 40 years equals 80 minutes in the desert - so Moses only led the Israelites through the desert FOR ABOUT AN HOUR AND 20 MINUTES, which is about the limit of walking-time any Jew can do before stopping somewhere for coffee and cake.
But the craziest wildest Passover story of all is the one about Moses meeting God; apparently he was standing on a hill and a bush caught fire and then the burning bush started talking to him. It said: "Hello I'm God and you've been chosen to lead the Children of Israel to freedom." This is beyond exaggeration, this is more like a hallucination; Moses probably ate some bad smoked salmon before going to bed and he dreamt it up.
It's exactly what happened to me when I ate all those bagels and bad lox last Sunday - I went to bed but I didn't dream about God and burning bushes and leading the Israelites to freedom, I dreamt that me and Poppy King went out to buy stereo speakers to take on a holiday to Sri Lanka.
If I had lived in biblical times, Poppy King might be part of Passover today.
This article is obviously Jewish - over-the-top.....
Regards from OZ
-- Pieter (firstname.lastname@example.org), April 19, 2000