Thursday, October 9, 2014

"We Don't Do Jesus."

That's what I overheard Paige tell a friend the other day while they were sitting at our kitchen table playing with Perler beads. Perler beads are one of the few plastic toys that, inexplicably, still appears to be acceptable in hippie society. These tiny plastic beads completely shit up your house and fit onto different-shaped molds made of more plastic. They are then ironed until they stick together, emitting a toxic odor and creating still more plastic from plastic that was initially made in China, but that has now been re-made in your kitchen into yet more plastic shaped like dolphins and palm trees. These creations then shit up the parts of your house not already shitted (shat?) up by the beads themselves.

But now back to Jesus. (Absolutely no offense intended by this awkward transition). This was Paige's way of explaining that our family is Jewish, a fact that generates endless curiosity among her peers. Their confusion and pity over the lack of Christmas in our lives has been the source of much angst. So much so that I've been tempted just to get a tree and tell Paige and Isaac that Santa is coming down the chimney of our wood stove and all that. My parents didn't believe in God or religion, but there's no doubt: my whole family is Jewish. Like, escape from Europe, change your name on Ellis Island, four generations deep in New York City, not-a-gentile-in-the-whole-gene-pool-for-a-thousand-years-Jewish. Geoff is Jewish too, but he had a more religious upbringing so he cared more about our kids having a sense of Jewish identity. Isaac is a bit young still, but it's been interesting to watch Paige embrace the concept of being "different" in this way.

I'm not interested in religion, but nor would I deny my heritage. Not everyone is the same, and conformity for conformity's sake isn't always a good thing. That's probably a good lesson for any kid to learn, regardless of the context in which they learn it. So I guess that's why I'm OK with "not doing Jesus," as Paige put it. Remember earlier when I promised that Jesus would be the subject of a future post? Well, the future is now.

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