Thursday, July 9, 2015

Untitled Play: First Three Scenes - Another Draft

(Friday night, the Friday after Thanksgiving, 1995. Seated around a table are a father, a mother, the father’s senile father (called Zaydie), the parents eldest son, an uncle, and an aunt. Ideally, they will all be short, squat, loud, and not particularly good looking. The father says the Friday night Kiddush, the whole thing. Then begins the action of the play.)


Mom: So I wanted to wait on telling you this until after we made Kiddush, but it turns out the oven wasn’t on (general laughter onstage) so it’ll be a little while. There's still a lot of stuff to do.

Aunt: (gets up) Here, let me help you in there.

Son 1: (stands up, makes for door) Can I go upstairs until you’re ready.

Dad: Y’know, you could ask if you could help.

Son 1: (as he walks out) So could you...

(Mom and Aunt leave for the kitchen behind him)

Uncle: So your daughter’s not gonna be here at all?

Dad: I dunno. She’s busy tonight tending to the family of "the podiatrist" (say with mocking tone).

Uncle: (shrugs) Nice guy.

Dad: Would it be too much to ask for a college sophomore to find a nice guy who isn’t 35 and divorced?

Uncle: He certainly makes a nice living.

Dad: If only she would spend his money rather than mine.

Uncle: She wants to look nice for him.

Dad: She doesn’t need to look nice, she’s 19! No kid should spend more money on clothes as they do on college tuition.  

Uncle: That’s gotta be an exaggeration.  

Dad: You should see her credit card bills.

Uncle: But she’s such a nice girl.

Dad: A nice girl... (throws up hands) A nice girl who I had to chase away from every jock in Pikesville.

Uncle: Alright, so she’s found a nice guy, get them married and there won’t be any problem.

Dad: No problem? In ten years they’ll be divorced when he finds a newer model and I’ll have to shill out for a good lawyer!

Uncle: Well, at least you have a son.

Dad: I have a son. I have a son! Ochen vey! I have a son!!

Uncle: You have three sons.

(Enter Aunt, bringing in salad, goes up to her husband to put some on his plate)

Aunt: Here, so we can at least start with some salad. What’s he kvetching about?

Uncle: Just the podiatrist.

Aunt: Oh. He’s a nice guy, not very bright though.

Dad: (shrugs) That’s ok, neither is she. (beat, Aunt puts the salad on Dad’s plate) Y’know, I really should have followed Mom’s advice and been a doctor. Once I was over my parents house. You weren’t there Dad, but Mom was sitting there with Mrs. Rabinovitch and Mrs. Indyk, and they were arguing about whose son gets more pride out of being a doctor. So Mrs. Indyk says, ‘My son’s a podiatrist, I get the most naches!’ and Mrs. Seidman says ‘My son’s a dentist, I get the most naches!’

Aunt: But neither of those are real doctors!

Dad: That’s not the point. The point is that when they left, my mother says to me: ‘Can you imagine them arguing over dinner about who gets more naches? One goes around all day smelling people’s feet, the other goes around all day smelling everybody’s halitosis. No real doctor goes around having to smell people like that. Now your brother, he’s a real doctor.’ Actually Mom, my brother’s a proctologist.

Uncle: Your brother was just listed as one of the top doctors in Baltimore.

Dad: And don’t think I’ll ever forgive him for that. I’d have been a great doctor and Mom would have loved me for it. But Mom always loved him best. (points to his father) Dad always loved me best, but that just meant he yelled at me more. Last year, (small beat) a couple weeks before she died, Mom asked me to help Mrs. Warshavsky with moving some boxes because her son the cardiologist was too busy to help her, so I asked Mom “why do you have to always say ‘her son the cardiologist?’ But then I went to help Mrs. Warshavsky, and she kept referring to “My son, the cardiologist, who makes six-hundred thousand dollars a year.” But I didn’t want to be a doctor. So when she asked me where I was going to apply to medical school, I told her I didn’t take the pre-med credits, and you should have seen how I almost killed her. But I never told my kids that they had to be anything at all long as they worked hard, and look at them now.
Uncle: I’m sure they’ll find something that works for them.

Dad: I have to help one son in New York with an apartment he doesn’t work hard enough to afford and another son who’s too depressed to live anywhere but upstairs.

Uncle: Give him time, he’ll figure something out.

Dad: Time is running out. The months are becoming years. Before he knows it he’ll be fifty. (beat) I’ll have long been dead but he’ll still be living with his Mom.

Uncle: It could be worse.

Dad: There’s worse.

Uncle: Oh?

Dad: Remember that friend of son #2 (always a bit of irony in naming the sons after numbers) who came down over Rosh Hashana?

Uncle: Yeah. I really liked him.

Dad: (completely deadpan) Turns out that for six months, that’s been his boyfriend.

Uncle: (laughs, shocked, but also amused) He’s a faygeleh?!?

Dad: I guess so. (shakes head) I just heard about this this week.

Uncle: But…... he had all those girlfriends in high school! Every time you visited him in college he was with a different girl.

Dad: I don’t know, he certainly seemed like he loved women when he was with them. But I’ve stopped thinking I can understand him. Maybe he’s just doing this to be innn-teresting.

Uncle: (shocked for a few seconds, then recovers) Well, good for him. If he’s gay he should feel comfortable letting us know and no matter what he does, he’s still an amazing kid. You should be proud of him and everything he’s accomplished.

Dad: What’s he accomplished?

Uncle: (defensive) You don’t ask what a kid’s accomplished when he just graduated magna cum laude at an Ivy League school.

Dad: That was more than a year ago, and he still doesn’t have a full-time job! Now he just plotzes around New York, tells me he’s going to be a filmmaker, and takes these pischer jobs at Bar Mitzvahs. All that money spent on his education just so he can run up his credit card bills at every bar in Manhattan. (remembers something…) Y’know, last month when I got his credit card bill, I found that he spent 50 dollars at a Chinese restaurant. Fifty Dollars! When he walked through the door of the restaurant, he must have shouted out ‘MOO GOO GAI PAN FOR EVERYBODY!’

Uncle: So he’s taking a little time off. He’s finding himself.

Dad: Not finding yourself at the age of 24 is a disgrace!

Uncle: Oh, and where were you at 24?

Dad: I was in Canada dodging the Vietnam draft, but it’s different now. This is 1995, this is America, we just won the Cold War! There is no end of jobs for a promising young man and there never will be.

Uncle: I think you’re being too hard on him. A liberal like you, you can’t possibly be mad that your son is gay.

Dad: (resignedly, getting to the heart of the matter) No, of course I’m not, I’m proud of him for coming out. But there’s something else.

Uncle: Oh?

Dad: The boy, you remember his name?

Uncle: Yeah, Robert Gold.  

Dad: It turns out that his name is Robert GOULD!

Uncle: (beat, taking in what this means, exaggerated but very sincere horror, almost shouting) He’s a goy?!...... How can he do that to us!? (puts his head in his hands) How can you ever forgive him for that?!?

Dad: It’s my worst nightmare come true.

Uncle: You put all that effort into your children, you raise them with the right education, the right values, you teach them to Jewish Day School so they learn Hebrew, you speak to them sometimes in Yiddish so they don't forget what was, you never raise a hand to them, you always are there to help them when they need it and respect their privacy when they don’t want you around. And then they take everything you value and spit it back into your face! (beat) If one of my kids did that to me I’m not sure I could go to the wedding.

Dad: Well, gays can’t get married. So at least we don’t have to worry about that.

Uncle: The guy was so swarthy. He was balding! We quoted Seinfeld to each other for half an hour! (beat) I just don’t know what to say.

Dad: There’s gotta be a couple gay Jewish boys I can introduce him to.

Uncle: Well at least your other son hasn’t turned his back on anything.

Dad: He wouldn’t know how to. He just sits on his bed all day like a bump on a pickle. Never had a girlfriend, never had a job, never even went to college. He’s just sat around for five years, getting fat and listening to his music, reading his books and feeling sorry for himself.

Uncle: I guarantee you he’s read five times as much as your younger one did in school. You gotta be a little nicer to him. He’s had it rough.

Dad: We all have it rough. What makes him special?

Uncle: What makes him special is that you have him around.

Dad: I have him around and we do nothing but yell at each other all day.

Uncle: You resent your son for yelling? (as if to imply ‘you of all people’)

Dad: Oy. (sighs very loudly) Even you’re against me.

Uncle: I’m not against you, I just don’t understand how you can hold that against him when he’s clearly so much like you.

Dad: He’s not like me. I found a wife, I could hold a job, I had a family.

Uncle: He’s twenty-six years old. When you were twenty-six your biggest accomplishment was having broken up with my sister five times.

Dad: (throws up hands) Alright, so I’m a loser. At least I want my kids to do better than I did.

Uncle: Look. You’re were always jealous of my family and compared your kids to mine. But my oldest has barely been back to Baltimore for fifteen years. She goes to practice international law in South America, then comes back with a nice Jewish boy from Argentina. In a couple years she’s such a high power attorney that she makes millions of dollars and has two houses in Seattle, and it’s a lucky year if we see her three times. One day the phone rings and she tells us that she’s getting divorced and marrying an old high school boyfriend.  For months, we get no explanation for why or what happened, we just had to accept that it is what it is. My second announces after freshman year that she’s dropping out of her prestigious expensive college to enlist in the Israeli army, what can we do to stop her? Now she’s been there for ten years and we see her twice a year. My twins, they’re both nice guys, they work very hard and they’ll do very well for themselves, and I hope they’ll decide to move back to Baltimore, but if they could they’d just watch sports all day. Sports is their religion, not Hashem.

Dad: What did they call themselves growing up?

Uncle: Kodak and Magic. But you can’t be Larry Bird and Magic Johnson when you’re five foot five.

Dad: Jews don’t play for basketball teams, they own them. (beat) And with your kids’ head for business, they just might.

Uncle: And just look at my youngest (motioning offstage)? She’s so Orthodox that this whole time she’s been sitting with a book in your living room rather than eat or pray with us because to her, we’re goyim too. You can’t stand your family, but at least you have one.

Dad: (puts head in hands) Where did we go wrong? At least your kids seemed with the program for a while. My kids were screwups from the time they knocked over their first lamp.

Uncle: (quietly and pointing to the door) Well one of them’s about to come through the door.

Father: (gets up with extravagant and not entirely sincere display of love) Oh my son, my son! (hugs and kisses him) I love you so much!

Son 1: (half-heartedly hugs him, says a bit begrudgingly) I love you too Dad.

Father: Yeah, but I mean it.

Son 1: No you don’t.

Uncle: (laughs) Be nicer to your father.

Son 1: Did you tell him to be nicer to me?

Father: He did actually.

Son 1: Well, I’m glad somebody pretends to be on my side.

Father: We’re all on your side!

Son 1: Yeah, well a flea is on the side of a dog, and the dog might actually miss the flea when the flea dies, but that doesn’t mean the flea wasn’t a nuisance.

Father: (combination of faux shocked and real shocked) Can you believe this?!

Uncle: Y’know, your father might be nicer to you if…

Son 1: (interrupts) Oh c’mon, you know he’ll never be nicer to me.

Uncle: That’s probably true, but there’s still hope for you.

Son 1: Well, you’re very kind to say that.

Dad: Your uncle believes in you. You should be grateful for him.

Son 1: I am. Do you believe in me?

Dad: Well did you accomplish anything today?

Son 1: Of course not. Did you?

Dad: The market went up.

Son 1: I’m sure you had plenty to do with that.

Dad: Why don’t you have some salad while you’re telling me what a horrible role model I am.

Son 1: Sure. I never said that you’re a horrible role model.

Dad: Well, I am a horrible role model. I sold the business, retired when you were still in high school, and you kids now think it’s OK not to work because you see me loafing around the house.

Son 1: Yes dad, it’s your fault that all your children are screwups.

Dad: Well, isn’t that what your therapist tells you?

Son 1: Sometimes. Y’know, therapy might do you a world of good.

Dad: I don’t need therapy, I know I had bad parents.

Son 1: (points to his grandfather) Jesus! Your father’s right there!

Dad: Don’t worry, he can’t hear us.

Scene 2:

Scene 2 (in the kitchen. Mom and Aunt are preparing food, Cousin 5, 16 and dressed in an ultra-orthodox skirt, is reading at the kitchen table, doesn’t look up.):

Aunt: What’s all the commotion in the dining room?

Mom: (dismissing it) They’re probably just fighting.

Aunt: (rolls eyes) Why’s this night different from all others?

Mom: (trepid) Well,... there’s a bit of news from the other one.

Aunt: What news? You told me he was gay months ago.

Mom: Yeah but... (pointing to the dining room) he didn’t know.

Aunt: Your husband wouldn’t care if his son were gay.

Mom: Well, that’s not the problem.

Aunt: What is?

Mom: Well,... remember the boyfriend, Robert Gold?

Aunt: Yeah.

Mom: It turns out he lied about the boy’s name, the name is Robert GOULD!

Aunt: THE BOYFRIEND’S A GOY!?!

Mom: Shhhhh. Don’t let your husband hear, he might have a heart attack.

Aunt: How can he do this to us?!

Mom: He never cared what we thought. He always did whatever he wanted. (small beat) Remember when he was four years old and I was pregnant again? Well... one day, just a few weeks before I had his sister, I couldn’t find him, so I asked his brother where he was. He told me, ‘he went out to lunch.’ So I went outside and I still couldn’t find him. I start looking down the road and still I couldn’t see him. That was when I realized that he was totally serious. So I ran as fast as I could toward Main Street screaming his name. When I finally see him, he's riding his tricycle in the middle of main street, with stopped cars honking their horns as far as the eye can see in either direction. I screamed at him ‘What do you think you’re doing?!’ And he shouts back: I’m going to McDonald’s.

Aunt: (laughs) Wow. How did you not have the baby right there?

Mom: Who knows? All I know is that was the moment I realized that I would have to watch him with both eyes. (sighs) By the time I realized the other one needed another two eyes, it was too late.

Aunt: (resigned) He was always so bright.

Mom: And his whole life, I never knew what to do to help him. We don’t know from musicians, we don't know from writers, we know from Jews.

Aunt: Couldn’t one of us help him find some of those people? Some people like him might make him happier.

Mom: We could if we tried, but why would we ever do that? If we helped him, he’d turn his back on us the way they all do. He might be happier but he’d become just like his brother and hate everything about us. (emphasis on us)

Aunt: You can’t know that.

Mom: Look at his brother! Y’know I almost would be OK with our sons becoming more assimilated if they actually assimilated. But they wouldn’t be Americans, they’re just America-haters like every other Jewish kid these days that comes out of college. They complain about everything in this country and ignore that this country did everything for them! From when they were little they both did everything they wanted and thought they were entitled to it. They never cared that their parents had no lives except taking care of them! And they both live like we’ll be here forever.

Aunt: Well look at your mother. You might be around forever!

Mom: I don’t think I will be. (comes right up to the aunt and says very quietly) I don’t want you to tell anybody this, but the reason I lost all the weight on that diet is that around this time last year I was diagnosed with Lupus.

Aunt: (concerned, perhaps overly) Oh my god!

Mom: Shhh… I don’t want the kids to know.

Aunt: Well, you’re obviously taking care of yourself.

Mom: But my kids can’t take care of themselves. It’s my fault for not teaching them, but I have to live with the fact that I've failed as a mother.

Aunt: (immediately) That’s the stupidest thing I ever heard! You’re the best mother in Baltimore!

Mom: No I'm not. I have to be around as long as I can because nobody else is gonna take care of them. They didn’t need the world's best mother, they needed a drill sergeant.

Aunt: Well, your husband certainly tried.  

Mother: And I should have let him. But he’s such a shithead.

Aunt: He means well, and when you need him he’s a real tzadik.

Mother: A tzadik maybe, but a manic depressive too. He always tells me that I want him to be miserable because the times when he’s miserable are the only times I’m not.

Aunt: (laughs) Was there ever any doubt about that?

Mother: Of course not. But he's proof that you can be a complete asshole and still be a great husband, son, and father. We have parents and children to take care of. And he takes care of them - anything they need: money, laundry, food, cars, apartments, tuition.

Aunt: (jokingly) And he wants every bit of credit for it.  

Mother: Yeah, he complains about it every second, but can you blame him? All these years when his Dad was sick: stroke after stroke, screaming nightmares from both his parents for their years in the camps. All the fights in his house during growing up and the breaking of the furniture.

Aunt: Did you ever wonder if his dad hit his mother?

Mother: (immediately) Never. Jews yell so they don’t have to hit each other

Aunt: Nobody in my family ever yelled, my parents just sat in the living room simmering at each other for fifty-eight years.

Mother: Your family was German Jews. Your great-grandparents all got here in the 19th century and moved out to the midwest to run stores. To Jews like us, your family might as well have been goyim.

Aunt: That’s not very nice!

Mother: You should be happy! You had a real American upbringing! The rest of us were just poor Jews in the middle of a neighborhood that became black after the fifties.

Aunt: We had antisemitism too!

Mother: Not the way we did! My family didn’t move out to the suburbs until 19fucking70 - in the sixties the schvartzes harassed me every day. Dad had to drive me and pick me up from college so I wouldn’t get groped on the way home from school.

Aunt: Yeah,... I'm sure that must have been hard. We didn’t have anything like that.

Mother: And I had it easy compared to my husband. He never really had a childhood! All those years in his parents store he would have to help out, stay up late to count the money from the day, get up early to help unload the stocks.

Aunt: And still he skipped two grades.   

Mother: And then he got PhD back when getting one meant something…

Aunt: Yeah. Why does he always dismiss that so much?

Mother: He always says he did it because of the war. But I think he just did it to get away from his family. He'd have loved to go to Vietnam if it meant getting out of that house, he might have almost been more scared that his draft number wasn't high enough! But it doesn't matter, that's all nearly thirty years ago. (sighs) I got pregnant, five months later we have a wedding with 400 people while I'm showing through my wedding dress. And now we're old too and I wonder if that brilliant mind of his isn’t gonna go sooner than his father’s did. The seizures are getting more frequent.

Aunt: I remember seeing it, it’s pretty scary. But long as you keep taking care of yourself, you’ll be there forever.

Mother: I don’t know that.

Aunt: Your kids still have plenty of time to figure it out. (decisively) They'll be fine. (beat) Anyway, I know you’ve known about him being gay for months. But how long have you known about the goyfriend?

Mom: (resignedly) From the beginning. I kept the whole thing a secret from his father until he told me to tell him, which was just this week. He didn’t want his father to know about the boy either because he knew his Dad would grill him about it until he got the truth.

Aunt: Well that’s just stupid. He should have told you everything right away.

Mom: He knew we’d try to break them up.

Aunt: Yeah, well, so what? There are plenty of gay Jews out there.    

Mom: You know him. If we tell him he can only date a Jew, he’ll go through every schkotz in New York.

Aunt: (confused) Y'know, I just don't get it... All those girls from college… Not a single shikse.

Mom: He probably shtupped his way through the whole Hillel house.

Aunt: How did he even find time for studying with all those schnozzy meydlach? (make a beak against your head with your elbow)

Mom: (laughs and shrugs) I don’t think he did. He was just one of those kids who could do the reading five minutes before class and ace the test.

Aunt: (shakes head) That’s so weird. I never thought of him as the type to cut corners.

Mom: (bitterly joking) Well, apparently he still likes things uncut…

Aunt: That’s horrible... (beat) But he was never the smart one. How did he turn out so well and your other one fuck up so badly?

Mom: (half-heartedly chuckles) Well, the other one always joked that he sold his birthright to his brother for a bowl of soup.

Aunt: I don’t get it… (thinks about it for a second) you mean like Esau did to Jacob?

Mom: Yeah. He keeps repeating that joke like it’s hilarious, but you know... nobody ever seemed to get most of his jokes but him.

Aunt: (as if to broach a difficult subject) Did you ever test him for some kind of autistic spectrum, like Asperger’s?

Mom: We did,... he has some traits in common, but if he has anything like that it’s mild. Between you and me, I always wondered if he had Borderline Personality Disorder.

Aunt: (aghast) Don’t say that!

Mom: (bitterly and resignedly) You’ve never really seen how bad his temper gets.

Aunt: Well I’ve seen flashes of it, and I’ve certainly heard all about it, but you should have seen the way my sister got when she was younger!

Mom: Yeah,... (knows she's broaching a difficult subject) y’know, about that, I know this is none of my business.

Aunt: (interrupting, angrily) Don’t start with that. You have no idea what she put me through. I know everybody gets along your family. But she’s crazy.

Mom: (beat, confused look) Have you taken a good look around here?

Aunt: She hasn’t thrown away a single article of paper in thirty years! She doesn’t let anyone come over to visit her so I can't even be in my mother's apartment anymore! She’s never had a job and now that Mom is dead she moved into Mom’s apartment with only her crap for company!

Mom: That sounds incredibly sad.

Aunt: I know it’s sad, but you can’t talk to her without her blowing up. She can’t even be in the presence of mustard!

Mom: Y'know... I might regret saying this, but with your permission of course,... if you want,... I’ll…

(Interrupted by the entrance of Brother 2 - 23 years old extraverted and charismatic, short but good-looking, wearing ripped jeans and a tight shirt - and Brother 3 - 13 years old, slightly shy and not a little surly - along with Cousin 3 - 28 years old, dressed in a suit.)


Cousin 3: I dunno… this dumpster diving thing sounds dangerous.

Aunt: (overlapping when she sees Cousin 3 and walking over to him) Oh there he is! Let me see you.

Cousin 3: Hang on a sec Ma. I gotta go to the bathroom. (rushes off stage, barely acknowledging)

Mom: (overlapping) Oh my god, what a sight for sore eyes (gives her son multiple kisses) If I’d have known you’d be here so early I’d have had us wait to say Kiddush.

Son 2: That’s ok! We can always say it again!

Cousin 5: (finally giving a subtle glance up from her book) No you can’t, you only say it once.

Son 2: (enthusiastically) Hey there! How are you?? You never call me anymore! (tries to hug her, she ducks the hug from her chair at the kitchen table)

Aunt: You can’t touch her now, she’s Shomer Negyia, it means no man can touch her until she gets married.

Son 2: Oh my god! That’s horrible!

Cousin: It’s what Hashem wants.

Son 2: Oh really? How’s God doin’?

Cousin 5: He’s great! He doesn’t judge me the way you do.

Son 2: Oh you can’t really believe that, can you?

Cousin 5: Of course I do.

Son 2: You know, you’re basically joining a cult...

Aunt: Yeah, but it’s our cult.

Cousin 5: MOM!

Aunt: Don’t mind her, this is just her teenage rebellion. Now stop avoiding me and say hello to your aunt (kisses him on the cheek). I hear your gay now.

Son 2: Yeah. For now...

Aunt: What? Is it like a shirt that you change every day?

Son 2: That’s what the Rabbis always told us.

Aunt: But your boyfriend, he seemed so Jewish! How could he possibly be a goy?

Son 2: That's why I figured you guys might like him. He might as well be one of us!

Aunt: There's no way he can be one of us.

Son 2: Well you can always try to break us up. God knows Mom and Dad did that when I was dating women.

Aunt: So men to you are like women used to be and you can just go through them like water?

Son 2: C’mon, be fair to me. Every one of those girls was at least as dear to me as cattle.

Aunt: And at least they were kosher cattle. 

Son 2: Well, sometimes a man wakes up and realizes he needs a bull instead of a cow.

Son 1: (entering from side) Well, you know that saying? Once you go bull, you never go back. (they hug)

Son 2: You look fantastic!

Son 1: Bullshit.

Son 2: You do! You look like a fat version of me!

Son 1: I look like a version of you without syphilis.

Son 2: Still with the manwhore jokes... I figured now that I'm out you were going to move on to asking me if I have AIDS yet.

Son 1: What's the difference? You sleep with men, you sleep with women, you're still a walking bag of disease.

Son 2: (hugs his brother, says, not entirely sarcastically) I miss you so much!

Son 1: I miss you too!

Aunt: (trying to come into the hug) Well, I just want you to know that we’re all really proud of you for coming out. Even if your gay guy’s a goy.

Son 2: Yes. The goy guy’s a gay.

Son 1: So the gay boy’s a goy.

Son 2: Yes, the goy boy toy.

Aunt: (seeing son and moving over to him) Now let me see my boy. (grabs him for a hug) Oh my god you’re so handsome.

Cousin 3: I certainly think so.

Aunt: How was your trainride? What time is your wife getting in?

Brother 2: She’s coming in with his twin, they should be here in about twenty minutes.

Brother 1: Aren’t you ever scared that she might confuse the two of you?

Cousin 3: Not really. I’m three years older than him.

Aunt: I’m your mother and once the two of you were fully grown I had to look at your teeth to tell you apart.

(enter Dad, Uncle, and Son 1)

Dad: You couldn’t have waited 20 minutes and all take a cab together?

Son 2: You can afford to pay for both…

Cousin 3: We couldn’t all have fit in one cab with the luggage; and I paid for the cab.

Dad: Well anyway, come here my son (gives his son a big hug and a kiss) I love you. And I just want you to know that we’re all very proud of you for coming out.

Son 2: (Waiting for it…) But....

Dad: (slaps him upside the head) Yes, but!… You’re going to break up with this goy tomorrow and I’m gonna find you a nice gay Jewish mixer.

Son 2: That’s very thoughtful of you Da...

Dad: (interrupting) You should have thought of your poor father and his ulcer! However long your mother was going to live you took ten years off her life! You sh...

Uncle: (interrupting, stepping between them) Easy there. Anyway, everything he said but without the slap. (hugs and kisses his nephew)

Son 2: I figured.

Dad: And nu? (going up to his nephew) How’s my favorite son? If only my real children had half your sechel for anything that really matters!

Son 1: (irritatedly sarcastic) Thanks Dad.

Dad: What? All I want is for you to make money, is that such a crime?

Son 1: And all I want is to spend your money.

Dad: I know you do. That’s why you’re going to put us all in the poorhouse before you move out of this one.

Son 1: Do you promise? That would be delightful.

Dad: (turns around to leave room before things get ugly. As he leaves, he exclaims with both hands) Ochen vey! I have a son!

(Exit Dad)

Cousin 3:  Well his kids are great. (puts arm on Son 1’s shoulder) I believe in them, even if they don’t.

Son 1: Oh go lose another million dollars!

Cousin 3: Well that’s the difference between me and my brother. When you’re in finance, you lose a million dollars every day. When you’re in computers like him, you make it.

Mom: Oh he’s not doing that well is he?

Cousin 3: Give him another few years and he’ll invent the robots that kill us all.

Son 1: And of course they’ll start with the Jews.

Mom: Why would they do that?

Son 1: I dunno, but of course his invention would beg the question: would killer robots be good for the Jews or bad for the Jews?

Aunt: I’m sure I’m not the only one who wishes you wouldn’t make fun of our religion so much.

Son 1: Don’t mind her. (turns to his youngest brother) She’s still mad about my idea to make your Bar Mitzvah party Holocaust themed.

Cousin 3: Oy gevalt.

Son 1: The place cards would all have yellow stars on them and you could be seated at the Bergen-Belsen table or the Majdanek table.

Cousin 3: Well (shrugs), it is very creative.

Son 1: Isn’t it? I really wish everyone in this family would stop acting like they don’t hate Bar Mitzvah parties so much

Mom: I think it’s nice to see all your family and friends together to celebrate.

Son 1: Well at my bar-mitzvah all our family and friends got together to watch Dad make fun of me. So I wouldn’t know.

Mom: You’ll appreciate them when your children get bar-mitzvahed.

Son 1: Let’s face it Mom, I’m never going to have children. Sorry about that.  

Aunt: Of course you are. All you need is one woman to pick you out of a lineup and say ‘this is the guy for me.’

Son 1: How romantic.

Uncle: That's what your Aunt did. Do you really think I had any success until she glommed onto me?

Son 2: You just need to get out of this cage and into the real world. You can always join me in New York. There’s no end of women up there!

Son 1: And have you set up with all your sloppy seconds? I think I’ll pass.

Son 2: There are millions of women in New York I haven’t slept with.

Son 1: What about men?

Son 2: Gimme two years…

Son 1: Y’know, it really is unfair. You got the charisma, the looks, the competence. All I got was the brains and you were still the one who went Ivy.

Son 2: You still could if you wanted to.

Son 1: With my standout resume?

Son 2: Everybody lies on their resume. It shouldn’t be too hard to fake one.

Son 1: So I’m going to fake a resume to get into Columbia just to find out that the reading is all jargon and the courseload is going to give me a nervous breakdown? Even I've got better things to do.

Son 2: It’s gotta be better than living here.

Aunt: For him? Everything’s better than here.

Mom: (takes Turkey out of oven) We have a Turkey!

(everybody leaving except Cousin 3 and Brother 1)

Cousin 3: So how you been feeling?

Brother 1: The usual. It’s touch and go every day. Every time I’m happy, Dad notices it and makes sure to find a way to make me miserable again. Though I’m sure he feels the same way about me.

Cousin 3: I know you’ve heard this a zillion times but…

Brother 1: I know. I need to move out, but I gotta be ready for it.

Cousin 3: A lot of things will improve when you do.

Brother 1: If I do…

Cousin 3: You will.

Brother 1: Who knows if he’ll pay for the rent.

Cousin 3: Of course he will.

Brother 1: I don’t know that. And what happens if he doesn’t, or if he stops. I get evicted and Dad might not let Mom take me back in.

Cousin 3: That’s nonsense.

Brother 1: (agitated, slightly raised voice) You don’t know that!

Cousin 3: (calming) I’m just trying to help.

Brother 1: (collects himself) I appreciate that. Really I do.

Cousin 3: Are you taking your medication?

Brother 1: Of course.

Cousin 3: We should go in. You know I’m here no matter what if things go wrong tonight, and I’m always just a phonecall away.

Brother 1: I do, and thank you for that. I can’t imagine it’s easy.

Cousin 3: Don’t worry about it. I work on Wall Street, I see bigger psychopaths every day.

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