I just got word a fairly popular parenting magazine (that will remain nameless for now) is interested in featuring “The Mighty Oak and Me” in their Holiday Gift Guide. Now I know nothing is cast in concrete, and it could fall through, but until then, “Hurray!”
So I made myself a salmon sandwich and sat down to savor my little victory and my lunch. The salmon came out perfect – not too fishy, not too much mayonnaise, not too much sour cream – the flavor balance was completely complementary. This delectable sandwich took me back…years back…to Mystic, Connecticut, of all places, in a Friendly’s restaurant. (This will make sense, eventually.)
My friend Sharon, 8 months pregnant at the time, sat across from me in the booth, and my best friend, Olivia, was to my right. We were enjoying our conversation, glad to be off our feet after touring the historic seaport and the aquarium. The woman sitting in the booth behind me had been going on about someone doing something on a front porch, someone cheating on someone else, and various and sundry white trash incidents. She was nothing more than background noise…until she bellowed the oddest thing.
“The Jewish people,” she said with disdain, disgust and displeasure. All three of us looked up, at each other, waiting for the conclusion. She did not disappoint. “The Jewish people…” she repeated, “they eat a lot of salmon.” Seriously, that was what she said. Her tone clearly made it sound like she meant ‘those dirty bastards eat all the salmon so there isn’t any left for the rest of us.’
I was literally flabbergasted. I recall squinting in bewilderment until Olivia hit me in the arm, and hard at that.
“Ow, what?” I asked, looking at her.
“Well,” she huffed, “aren’t you going to say anything?”
Suddenly, the fate and reputation of the world’s Jewish population rested upon my shoulders. I was now the chosen one. “About what?” I whispered.
“Well that’s not true,” Olivia said, still offended.
“What did we have for breakfast?” I reminded her.
“Bagels and lox….” her voice trailed off. She perked back up. “But still!”
Both Sharon and Olivia, who are not Jewish, were glaring at me. I couldn’t shirk my duty. I straightened up, turned my head slightly, and directed my voice to the booth behind me. “Yeah,” I said, volume turned up a notch, “those Jews eat a lot of salmon. Salmon is fish…fish is brain food…wait a minute, no wonder the Jews are so smart!”
I looked back to my friends. They slowly gave that single, slightly tilted nod of approval. The ridiculous woman behind me went silent, and our food arrived, as if it was a reward for standing up for my people. Sometimes, the most satisfying thing in the world is a little victory.