Thursday, November 18, 2004


I had lunch with Gravel-Voice Larry today, which was unusual.

What was unusual was the fact that it was lunch. I have breakfast with Larry almost every weekday. That is, the weekdays when I am in town and not off on some traveling errand on behalf of the Great Corporate Salt Mine. We both go to the shul and daven Shacharit [that’d be “go to synagogue and offer the daily morning worship service,” for all y’all Gentile-type folks out there], after which we repair to the Local Bagel Emporium for our Toroidal Sustenance [That’d be “bagels,” for all y’all non-doubletalking mathematician-type folks out there]. After a pleasant morning meal (often involving Smoked Fish), it’s off to the GCSM to slag the day away.

But today Larry was trying to find an excuse to not go home after one of his late-morning classes, and I was looking for a way to skeeve off work long enough to run by the shul office and pick up some committee-related crap for the Missus. So lunch it was.

Larry is a tall, tough-looking guy with a gravelly voice – the kind of voice that is extremely effective in such endeavors as bill collecting. One phone call from him, and deadbeats will sell their kidneys to avoid getting an actual in-person visit. Scary. I can only imagine what he was like back in the day, working as a cop in Miami. Some of the stories are pretty...interesting.

Underneath Larry’s crusty exterior lurks an equally crusty interior the heart of a Talmudic scholar. So it never fails to surprise me whenever he gets a phone call on his new cellular phone – as he did at lunch. It’s the ringtone, you see.

How many observant Jews have phones that play Wagner’s “The Ride of the Valkyries”?

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