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Entry 32 "Put on a clean shirt"

I got to ride home with Stasch this afternoon. I went over to the middle school with him where he unlocked his bike. He was real solemn and not too talkative. I asked if any one was bothering him in class, but he said "no." We let it go at that. I asked if he had done anything interesting in school, and he told me to shut up.

We got home in time to hear our parents having a raelly good argument in the shop. They had to be loud because their argument carried over the offset printing press.

"I'm not going to services at some wannabee rabbi's..." snarled Orel. "I wish you'd ask me before you made those arrangements."

"I didn't have time to ask you," screamed back Aunt Aliza.

I reminded the parents that the customers could hear them argue. Aunt Aliza said she did not give a flying fuck and went back to arguing with dad.

"So what am I supposed to do now?"

"Put on a clean shirt Friday night."

"I'm not your son. You want a baby of your own. I ought to give you one."

"We've tried that all ready."

"Well, that's not my fucking fault!"

"That's nobody's fault. Anyway, we've got your boys. What do I need a baby for?"

"So I don't have to be your son, Aliza."

"Well you asked what you were going to do Friday night."

"Does it ever occur I might just want to relax? Getting dressed up to go to services just doesn't cut it."

"I didn't say anything about dressing up. All I said was 'put on a clean shirt.' Don't you ever fucking listen?"

I wondered if Stasch and I should head upstairs and leave Aunt Aliza and dad to fight it out. They'd get tired and cool down eventually. They didn't fight nearly as bad as dad used to fight with mom back in Duluth.

"I heard," snarled dad. "I fucking heard. I don't want to go out to all these charity and religious things. What's gotten in to you?"

"We have to build something here," Aunt Aliza replied. She didn't miss a beat. I was impressed.

"Great...we're building a fucking business. Isn't that enough?"

"No," answered Aunt Aliza. "We need good schools and other stuff."

"Bikes, kites, and all good stuff," I commented.

"All good stuff," Aliza replied. "Yes, all good stuff."

"So the fake synagogue is the 'good stuff.' Suddenly you are religious."

"Suddenly, Oisin would like to learn his spiritual heritage," snapped Aunt Aliza. "Haven't you seen him praying after supper. He sits on the couch with that little white book."

"I saw it. Aliza, Oisin is fourteen. He's too old to be bar mitzvahed."

"It doesn't matter. He can still go to services and maybe they have Hebrew school for adults some day. He's going to meet other Jewish kids when he goes to MIT..."

"If he goes to MIT."

"Why shouldn't he go to MIT?"

My dad snorted and then he glanced at Stasch and me. He always gets embarassed after the fact when he fights in front of us, as if we don't know what fighting is. "Oisin," he saked me. "Do you want to go to services at the Goldfarb's Friday night. It's going to be long and boring."

"It's not boring," I answered. "The prayers have poetry in them and they lift you up." I learned about uplifting poetry from Koli but I think she is right too.

"Oh God," sighed my dad. "All right we go to services tomorrow! But you'll all have to wear clean shirts!"

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