June 15, 2024
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June 15, 2024
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Linking Northern and Central NJ, Bronx, Manhattan, Westchester and CT

Welcome back to “How Should I Know?”—the advice column where the questions never stop coming in, even if we try to rush the answers.

Dear Mordechai,

I have to get new glasses, but how would I know if they’re a good fit for my face if half my face is covered in a mask?—R.F.

Um… How long can you hold your breath?

One part of me says to just see what the new ones look like with your mask. We might be wearing masks for a while, and how long does a pair of glasses last? Especially if you can’t see where you’re going.

Also, as long as we’re wearing masks, we should all maybe think about investing in contact lenses. If only to avoid the fogging issue. Do contacts fog up? I haven’t heard people complain. And yes, you might not love the thought of sticking your fingers in your eyes. But we’re living in an age when we routinely have medical professionals stick a Q-Tip up our nose, so I think we should reconsider whether shoving our own fingers in our eyes is really that bad. The worst is that you see the finger coming toward you. With COVID tests, the way I handle it is I close my eyes. That way the timing is a surprise, I guess. How should I handle inserting contacts? By closing my nose?

Dear Mordechai,

I’ve recently come into possession of a large amount of milk, for reasons I don’t want to get into. None of my neighbors want it either, and it just keeps coming. What can I do with it?—E.H.

I would say to freeze them. And then pull them out later, for mishloach manot. No one can refuse them then.

You know, there are so many milchig foods, you’d think there’d be something you can make with milk. The problem is that very few recipes call for that much milk. Though I have a vague memory of my grandparents at some point making something called “milk soup.”

QUESTION: Isn’t that called cereal?

No, it was hot. Though to be honest, it sounds like something they made in Europe when they had a bunch of milk to finish up before the end of the day and no refrigerators, and also they wanted the kids to fill up so they would fall asleep already so the adults could get stuff done before the sun went down. Warm milk! That’s the way to go.

Personally, we’re just going through chocolate powder like crazy.

There are non-food uses, just so it doesn’t go to waste. For example, from what I’ve read, you can use it on your skin for bug bites, poison ivy and sunburn. But this knowledge isn’t that useful, because you have a lot of milk to get rid of, and it’s hard to hope your family suddenly gets a lot of bug bites and poison ivy.

“Let’s all go on a hike! No, no one bring protection!”

Also, you can rinse your hands in milk a couple of times a day to relieve skin dryness. Apparently, anyone who somehow has dry skin from washing their hands too much the past few months was supposed to be fixing it up with milk this whole time. Who knew? When Hashem closes a door, he opens a window.

Dear Mordechai,

Were hankies ever really a thing? Why weren’t people afraid of germs?—E.D.

This wasn’t about germs. No one was really sharing hankies.

Firstly, this was in the days before tissues, so it was mostly a way to encourage your higher-class people to not use their sleeves.

Also, hankies were used for:—Cleaning your monocle—Waving goodbye to departing ships—Taking leftovers home from a kiddush—Magic tricks—Face mask for old-timey pandemics—To show that you surrender—Identity protection for robbing stagecoaches—To filter noodles in yeshiva back in Europe—To hold hot pots, for people who didn’t have yarmulkes—Sleep mask—Adult bib—Jumping rope at weddings.

Dear Mordechai,

For how many nights should I be expected to eat Shabbat leftovers?—Full of Chulent

Hashem gives you schar for every day that you think about Shabbat.

Dear Mordechai,

Why do the 24-hour stores have locks on their doors?—E.D.

They’re for when the cashier goes out to Mincha.

Dear Mordechai,

Does the word “figment” appear anywhere other than in conjunction with “of your imagination”? Is figment a real word, or is it just a figment of someone’s imagination?—M.G.

Every word is a figment of someone’s imagination.

But I looked up figment, and the definition is “a thing someone believes to be real but that exists only in their imagination.” That said, “figment of your imagination” is redundant, like “ATM Machine,” “Please RSVP” and “tuna fish.”

Dear Mordechai,

Why do we say “it costs peanuts”? Are peanuts that cheap?—Going Nuts

“It costs peanuts” doesn’t have to mean it’s cheap. It could mean that peanuts were sometimes used as currency, instead of bills and coins. You’d put a few in your wallet, you’d sit down on them by mistake, and that’s how peanut butter was invented. And also why peanuts were worth less as a currency. Just below wooden nickels, which, if you had two of them to rub together, sometimes caught fire.

Dear Mordechai,

Why is breakfast salami called so? Do people have it for breakfast?—N.E.

I’ve never had this or heard of it, but I assume it’s for immediately after taaneisim.

Dear Mordechai,

How can we try and preserve our minds in these trying lockdown times?—From a desperate mind loser!

Sorry I waited 11 months to respond to this one. Are you still there?

Have a question for “How Should I Know?” Send it in, and maybe I’ll answer it in another lightning round, hopefully not several months too late.


Mordechai Schmutter is a freelance writer and a humor columnist for Hamodia and other magazines. He has also published seven books and does stand-up comedy. You can contact him at [email protected].

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