Dear readers: The beginning of this week’s column is reprinted with permission of the author, which would be me. If you read my blog post from January 9, 2011, and remember it, please skip down to the second half of this column. If you have not had the pleasure of perusing my blog, holycrapimgonnabe40.blogspot.com, feel free to do so in your spare time; this is just one of the many fascinating pieces. It is also a good segue into this week’s topic. The name of this post was Timber!!!
This past weekend was truly wonderful. Son #2 became a man (which he kept telling us last night when he refused to go to sleep). He did an incredible job reading from the Torah and leading the services. He was charming and adorable. Our families were all together, the food was delicious (thank you Alan Shulman from Mauzone-Celebrations…you rocked it again!!). It was really special. But, since it’s all about me...let’s recap the mother-of-the-bar mitzvah-boy-speech that almost wasn’t...and I wish I was kidding...
So husband #1 introduces me...I walk up to the podium...and begin speaking. Now, you know in the movies when you hear a sound effect in the background that sounds like a heart beating...and then starts beating faster and faster? Ya, that was me. Out of nowhere, my heart starts to hurt and beat really, really fast... I start to sweat (which was good because of the possible weight loss, but bad because, well, I was standing in front of 350 people). As I am reading the words and looking out into the crowd, I’m thinking, “Holy cow, I am not going to be able to finish reading this, what is wrong with me?” So I try to calm down and make a joke about having a hot flash, thinking it might help...nope...I get really cold, start sweating more, start losing feeling in my hands and feet...look at husband #1 and say, “I think I am going to pass out...”
Long story short...I sit down, next to son #2, which ended up being really nice, finish the speech. When it’s over, my brother-in-law Dave and my parents’ friend, Seymour, rush up to take my pulse and see how I’m feeling (a doctor and an EMT, respectively). Turns out, the big girl, who eats all of the time, should’ve eaten that particular morning...who knew? But how is this funny? Well, apparently the other doctors in the audience, and there were lots of them, were afraid the big girl was going to take a tumble...and they were all afraid that they’d have to pick up my lifeless, now normal-range-BMI body from the stage. Real nice guys, real nice… Well, if you were nervous, think about what I was thinking: If I passed out, my big, control-top stocking-covered derriere might be exposed for all to see. That’s not pretty at all (even though I still maintain there were some relatives and friends secretly hoping I’d pass out...not mentioning any names…).
We are now back in 2016 and yes, the above is a true story. I did almost pass out. I credit it to the very large hat I was wearing, the fact that I had donated platelets that week and that I hadn’t eaten in a few days because I was so busy with the bar mitzvah. Well, folks, apparently I should have kept that weight off. Last Shabbos we were at a lovely meal, surrounded by a cardiologist, radiologist, injury lawyer and their equally productive and successful wives. We were having a spirited conversation about the merits of exceedingly high yeshiva tuition (no, that isn’t what we were really talking about. I have no idea what we were talking about, I can’t even remember what I had for breakfast!). We had finished the delicious appetizer and I went to get up to help clear the table. Well, folks, it didn’t go as I had planned.
Instead of getting up from the chair, I found the chair taking me down. Yes, I broke my friend’s dining room chair. As I was collapsing the chair, those same looks of horror I witnessed five years ago again appeared on the faces of the men around me, “I am not picking up that big lady from the floor!” I swear I had PTSD (post titanic sinking disorder—a condition that is suffered by large women who have had embarrassing situations happen to them). The chair break and subsequent sitting on the floor happened in slow motion and I could not stop laughing. Neither could anyone else. One of my sons got up to help—he would be the only one left in the will, so I won’t tell you which one it is (and there won’t be all that much left in the will after the aforementioned exceedingly high yeshiva tuition)—but I told him I was fine. And then I gracefully (ha ha) pulled myself up into a standing position using my core. Not really my core, but I figured it out.
What is the moral of this story? Well, shame on you for thinking it is that I am too fat, because as it turns out, three other people have broken chairs at this house. So the moral of this story is really… stay away from this house or just bring your own chair.
By Banji Latkin Ganchrow
Banji Ganchrow would like to acknowledge son #2’s friend Ariel Forman is an EMT, and if he had been certified at the time of the bar mitzvah would definitely have rushed up to help her.