What to get for the Jewish American Princess who has everything…
In a perfect world there would be an ESP gift registry and then you could get me exactly what I wanted. If you’d asked me months ago what I wanted most for Hanukahmas (which I refuse to call Hanukwaanzamas) I’d probably have said a trip to Israel. It’s something I keep putting off though I think now I have a pretty good excuse (the weather is warm here!). Back in the early 90s I almost went for a year long program at the University of Haifa. You had to see the look on my face when I was told that every credit hour meant two hours of classroom time. I was such a truant student that I just couldn’t see the point in traveling across the globe so I could not go to class across the globe! So I could prove that my country wasn’t at fault for my lack of interest in higher education. I came pretty close though, I filled out the application, got a physical, there were even two interviews. The first one went great, I hit it off with the interviewer. The second interviewer inquired about my political views and it was clear we were not simpatico. I almost slipped him a twenty to prove how committed I was to the spirit of Judaism! Ultimately I was “approved” but I backed out. It’s all good though because I carry Israel in my heart, if I forget thee Jerusalem let me forget my left hand (well, heck I’m a righty!)

Yo, what’s with this weather? It’s like 70 degrees today here in NY. If I were Mother Nature, I’d make it like negative 70 tomorrow. And then I’d have thunderclouds pattern across the sky “you and your fucking weather satellites!” Second to an aliyah, I think I want a replay tv. I could get one but it would only encourage me to watch more tv. If someone else got it for me, I could blame them. And also the United States of America (something’s gotta be their fault) Coming down from the thunderclouds and an extravagant gift wish list, I can generalize and say that most people have no taste. You can always please someone with a present in good taste but most people have bad taste. And of course they think they have good taste. In fact, I could very well be a person with bad taste who thinks they have good taste, but who are we kidding, I am so NOT! Since you all have obviously cut good-taste class, if you ever want to get me something be aware that only two kinds of gifts appeal to picky cynical me. Practical and sentimental. Practical can be broadly defined into 4 categories: 1)gift certificate 2)anything you can’t have enough of c)anything that plugs in d)anything you know for a fact that I need (“a good bitchslap” and “smack upside the head” are not options at this time) Sentimental…do I really have to define that? These are gifts by tightwads. I’m kidding! Half kidding anyway. A sentimental gift is kitschy in some nostalgic kind of way, or something personalized and handmade. “I’m not a princess!,” protested the queen. I’m just disillusioned by the lack of effort and/or time and/or money people put into gift giving. I’m blessed enough that at least one person a year makes me smile at conventional gift giving times. Now don’t go thinking that just because someone gives me a lame gift I don’t appreciate it. I may not like it but it doesn’t mean I don’t appreciate it. Like the time a boyfriend got me a Claddagh ring (McDebbie?) with this huge gaudy synthetic emerald (and the gold around it looked like it was about to turn the same color sometime soon) but I know that he tried. I think he thought it was pretty because it was flashy. The home shopping club mentality. Have you ever seen the jewelry on home shopping? They’ll dye a diamond 15 different colors never mind the natural prism effect. The 46 gemstone bracelet, yeah that’s elegant…if you’re a Christmas tree!

I hate flowers and perfume (you would stinky!) Ok I don’t hate them but how cliché can you get! One person once went out of their way to get me a certain brand of fragrance and that gesture I appreciated. And no I don’t expect a date to come to my door and hand me a toaster. But listen up fellas, a single flower IS as classy as a bunch. Just make sure the single flower is actually living. One of the first guys I ever met in college gave me a dead rose (that’s very romantic…on the addams family!) He gave it to me in the hallway so I brought it to my class. My friend couldn’t stop laughing. Even the professor smirked. I spent the entire class drawing a picture of my flower and outlining the different parts of a dead rose. I’m no botanist but I’d wager that the cause of death was weeks of water and soil deprivation.

Other misc. notes: Unless you know I want a certain book, please don’t get me a book. UNLESS you intend to send a bookcase. And this I have to say…the WORST gift in the world to get for Debbie is a stuffed animal. I have no more room for them and I have this problem getting rid of them. Apparently I have no problem personifying a big furry ball of stuffing. The following two stories are 100% true and unembellished. When I was a kid I was convinced my stuffed animals were uncomfortable on the shelf (would you sleep on a shelf?) so I slept with all of them. I had AT LEAST 100. By the time they were all placed in my bed I couldn’t move. My mom is convinced this is why I am a still sleeper to this day. Of course by the time I awoke, they were all over the floor. But they weren’t hurt because of my magical bubble enclosure that automatically enveloped them before they hit the ground. I only wish my magical bubble enclosure was available to me the time I had that dream where I was falling out of an airplane and I rolled off the sheets. Fast forward a couple of decades when I’m dating a junk collector (did I just un-flatter myself?) The TV he used, he found in garbage. Which is fine except that someone had a reason to throw it out, it barely worked! One day he comes home and gives me a stuffed animal that someone at work was going to throw out, again, with good reason. This was one ugly ass toy. Carnival caliber. It was a Christmas reindeer wearing red and green plaid. Couldn’t even get me a Maccabee moose, brings me a Xmas reindeer! I went to throw it out and it just gave me this look. If it could’ve spoken I’m sure it would’ve said “Please don’t throw me out. Would you want someone to throw you in the garbage can? Amy Grossberg did time, yknow!” Studies have shown that young kids who abuse their stuffed animals grow up to be serial killers. Of course my coloring in the ears on all my Barbie dolls doesn’t count, that was body art!

One last FYI, I don’t take Hanukahmas gift receiving too seriously. The only time I ever really feel stiffed is around my birthday. One year the only person who remembered my birthday (or acknowledged it on time) was my mom. Of course she got me a stuffed animal. She said she wouldn’t buy me a gift without consulting with me first because I’m difficult (nahhhh) and that she wanted to at least get me something. She’s the best. The only thing worse than having your birthday unacknowledged is having someone who didn’t acknowledge your birthday play if off instead of choosing from one of a million “I am lower than the lowest stratum of dirt. Happy belated birthday” cards.

Irony Stalks Me
I just received my first Hanukahmas gift, a book! My mother thinks people buy me books because they mistakenly assume I love to read. Or maybe they’re just trying to empty their overcrowded bookcases (I’m wise to you!) Actually the book I received was fantastic and thoughtful, a book of Yiddish wisdom. Some of it is highly amusing, Jews are funny. Ok, I know some unfunny Jews (you are a disgrace to your people!)  I am going to share some of the book with you…in English, you want the Yiddish, buy the book! By the way, my very website (I trust you but send cash) derives from a Yid proverb.
From “Yiddish Wisdom”
The heart is small and embraces the whole wide world.
Pray that you may never have to endure all that you can learn to bear.
If your grandmother had a beard, she’d be your grandfather (I don’t know why but this cracks me up!)
What will become of the sheep if the wolf is the judge?
When a thief kisses you, count your teeth (hehe!)
The world stands on three things, on money, on money and on money (Jews!)
Better to die upright than to live on your knees (I wish somebody had advised Lewinsky)
One is greeted according to one’s garb, bidden farewell according to one’s wisdom
Loans will get you moans (catchy! Rhymes in Yiddish too. Borgen macht zorgen)
As the wallet grows, so do the needs.
If one could do charity without money and favors without aggravation, the world would be full of saints.
Every ass likes to hear himself bray (bray bray!)
Easy to promise, hard to fulfill.
A wise man hears one word and understands two.
All brides are beautiful. All the dead are pious.
Petty thieves are hanged. Big thieves are pardoned. (I wish someone hadn’t advised Clinton)
The husband is the boss, if his wife allows. (remember this boys!)
The smoothest way is sometimes full of stones.
It’s easier to guard a sack of fleas than a girl in love.
The masses are asses. (ouch! Der oilem iz a goilem)
It’s good to learn to barber on someone else’s beard.
Fools and weeds grow without rain.
Words must be weighed and not counted.
A liar must have a good memory.
One old friend is better than two new ones.
Man thinks and G-d laughs.
Trying to outsmart everybody is the greatest folly.
When you look to the heights, hold on to your hat.
If you’re going to do something wrong, enjoy it!
Better the devil you know than the devil you don’t.
A fool falls on his back and bruises his nose (hehe!)
Nerve succeeds! (Chutzpeh gilt!)
No answer is also an answer.
A little charm and you are not ordinary.
One always thinks that others are happy.
From your mouth into G-d’s ears (yuck, I heard this growing up!)
And my least favorite…
The gift is not as precious as the thought. ;-)

Oy, I vant to go home