What I’d really like for Chanukah
Don’t get me wrong: I love getting gifts from my various loved ones wrapped in whatever blue hued Chanukah paper they can find amid all the red & green stuff this time of year. But as a nod in the direction of dreams and visions (a la this week’s Torah saga that begins with the 7 skinny & fat cows), and in preparation for the turning of the secular year with its sure-to-be-broken resolutions, I thought I’d share my other Chanukah list. Beware! There are some pricey items here.
1. A hundred interesting ways to say what is wrong with you? Preferably in my best intimidating-but-concerned mother voice. I’d inaugurate my new-found talent on Congressional idiots who refuse to extend unemployment insurance, repeal Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, or approve the renewal of the START treaty until tax increases for the richest Americans are taken off the table. They really need a good talking to.
Then it would be on to the jerk(s) who desecrated Jewish books in the IU library or threw a rock through windows where Jews congregate near campus. I would be saying these things, of course, while the perp was held aloft over a hundred flaming menorahs.
2. The ability to be in 2 places at once. Truly, who wouldn’t like this? I could celebrate Thanksgiving with my 93-year-old mother in Massachusetts and my Indiana-based crew and my in-laws/youngest stepdaughter in southern California all at once. (Dang, I guess that’s actually 3 places.)
3. The courage to do in true enemies with style & resolve. For this, I direct you to the story of Judith, once a vital part of the Chanukah narrative, but removed perhaps because of its gory ending (beheading of a general) and the bravery & independence of its heroine. For a summary, see this Jewesses With Attitude video about Judith. Of particular note is Judith’s prayer to God to be a good liar.
4. Time. Pretty straightforward: I need more of it. And I need the wisdom to make better use of it. Less sleep is not an option.
5. The metabolism of a 30-year-old. It is slowly dawning on me, at the recently-turned-age of 56, that I can play chicken with my body forever — and the body will win every time. The days of unlimited chocolate & potato latkes are over.
6. A rewind button. For all those times that something really dumb comes out of my mouth.
7. Whitman’s largesse. Generosity. Gifts. Liberality. His indisputable influence on a hundred years’ worth of poets. His willingness to try something utterly new. Also, I’ll take Yehuda Amichai’s lovingkindness, Muriel Rukeyser’s truth-telling, and Margaret Atwood’s imagination. Please.
8. The Dalai Lama’s laugh. I should probably ask for the equanimity that allows one to laugh with such abandon, but I don’t want to be unnecessarily greedy.
If you need my mailing address, let me know. Major deliveries can be left on the front porch, behind the Adirondack chairs.