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You’re Asking Me? Awkward Timing

Welcome once again to “You’re Asking Me?” where we answer any and all questions sent in by readers. It’s a lot like all the other “ask the expert” columns, except that, whereas the other experts are interested in giving you a well-researched answer, our interest is more in meeting our deadlines so we can get back to looking for our car keys.

Dear Mordechai,

Why do garbage trucks always come in the wee hours of the morning?

A.S.

Dear A.,

They want to beat traffic.

Actually, it depends what you call “wee.” To me, the “wee hours of the morning” is anytime before noon. I think they like seeing you run out with your shirt half buttoned and one shoe on, screaming “Wait!” and holding a full, dripping bag over your head. This is why they always make enough noise to wake you up.

For years, I always assumed that garbage trucks went around all day, and that they just passed my house early in the morning. But so far I’ve lived in several different places, and wherever I’ve lived, they’ve somehow managed to get there between the hours of 5 and 8 a.m. So I’m beginning to think those are the only hours they work.

Another reason they take garbage early in the morning is that in total, it amounts to less garbage for them to take, because:

A. Chances are you’ll forget to bring out the garbage the night before, and

B. If you do remember, the garbage will sit out on the curb all night, and the longer it sits there, the more chance there is that people will drive by and say things like, “Hey, a broken toaster!”

Dear Mordechai,

Why do there seem to be more Hatzolah calls on Shabbos?

Y.S.

Dear Y.,

Obviously, it’s because you’re in charge of your own kids. And by “in charge,” we mean letting them watch themselves while you go take a nap. When do you suppose they came up with that contest to see who could jump off a higher step? There is only one way that game ends. Unless there’s an adult sleeping in the basement.

Another reason more people call Hatzolah is that Hatzolah members are more up-to-date on what you can and can’t do on Shabbos. For example, let’s say your kid is hurt—are you allowed to drive him to the hospital? Or do you have to make him drive himself? Hatzolah knows the answers. My heart actually goes out to the people who live where there is no Hatzolah, and are never sure what they’re allowed to tell the non-Hatzolah ambulance drivers straight out, and what they have to hint to them.

“My son broke his arm.”

“So you want us to take him to the hospital?”

“Um… My son broke his arm.”

“Okay, I think the father is going into shock. Load him in too.”

Dear Mordechai,

Why does childbirth always happen at night?

R.W.

Dear R.,

Because babies in general like to get up in middle of the night. Why should tonight be any different? Just be happy that this one time, your husband is getting up too.

Not that we’re helpful. With my last kid, I was so tired that I almost missed the turnoff to the hospital. My wife caught it, with her eyes closed. I was too focused on other things.

“Hey! A broken swivel chair! I can use one of those!”

That’s why the women come along.

But that is actually an excellent question. I notice that every night, about an hour after I send my kids to bed, they come down to tell me about all of their boo-boos. Their knee hurts, their throat hurts and their head hurts. Even though it’s not Shabbos. So I tell them that their knee hurts because they fell that morning, their throat hurts because they spent the whole day shrieking and their head hurts because they were jumping up and down on the bunk bed. “But why did you suddenly notice all this an hour after your bedtime?”

And the answer is that once you’re lying in bed, you have nothing to do but pay attention to your body. And the same goes for a mother-to-be. She’s running around all day trying to get everything done before she has the baby, so that once the baby comes, all she’ll have to do for the next 20 years is raise this child. So it’s not until she finally lies down that she starts noticing things, like, “Hey, where did this baby come from?”

Got a question for “You’re Asking Me?” Well, so do I, and it’s: How come everyone always sends me their questions after the articles come out? It’s like they run out, half-dressed, yelling, “Wait! You forgot to include my question!” And then I have to put out a new article the very next month. Every time! For goodness’ sake.

Mordechai Schmutter is a freelance writer and humor columnist for Hamodia, Jewish Press and Aish.com, among others. He has published four books with Israel Book Shop. He also does stand-up comedy. You can send him your questions and comments at [email protected].

By Mordechai Schmutter

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