Note: I’m a columnist for the Reader Weekly, an alt-weekly newspaper in Duluth, MN. Every Monday I post a new column.
The city streets lay barren and deserted. All of society’s basic components continue to function like clockwork, but there’s no people to use them. The white people have gone missing.
Subway cars and city buses make their usual stops, but no Caucasian passengers are riding. Starbucks coffee houses only have bored baristas, waiting for the crowds of white people with trendy glasses who will never come. Somewhere in the distance, dogs and cats are becoming lovers and Kentucky is legalizing gay marriage.
No, this isn’t a description of America after it’s ruined by the financial crisis, or taken over by illegal immigrants. This is a description of Los Angeles during the Jewish holiday season. Roughly 140 percent of white people in L.A. are Jewish, and Monday was the start of Rosh Hashanah, a Jewish holiday which I know nothing about and am far too apathetic to look up on Wikipedia.
All I know is each year it turns L.A. into a ghost town. It seriously looks like a James Frey book signing around here this week. I’m the only white person still here, because as recent census figures show, I’m the only white person in the city who isn’t Jewish. The streets look as deserted on a weekday as they would on Christmas morning. I’m surprised miscreants haven’t started looting.
When I first moved here, I was frightened by this sudden change. At the time, I thought Judaism was a form of martial arts, and didn’t know about the importance of the Jewish holiday season to L.A. residents. I saw the streets empty and thought terrorists had attacked, or some mysterious virus had infected everyone in the area except me. I finally asked an old immigrant woman in my apartment building where all the people went, and she said, “Jews. Jew day.”
I still didn’t understand though, because that’s the answer she gives no matter what question you ask her.
Now I look forward to the Jewish holiday season more than I look forward to Christmas. Presents are nice, but now that I’m older I’m much more intrigued by shorter commutes to work. Jewish holidays cut my hour and 15 minute commute down to 40 minutes. It is for this reason that I absolutely adore the Jewish faith.
If Jewish people included more unwarranted gifts in their religious activities and showed a little more enthusiasm for heavy drinking on St. Patrick’s Day, I might convert. I mean, what else does Christianity have? Easter? Who the hell needs Easter? Hollow chocolate, stale jelly beans, man-sized fake rabbits setting up a booth at the mall where children can come visit them? It sounds like a bad acid trip.
But Jewish holidays are exciting! They involve better traffic flow and faster driving speeds and a bunch of awesome religious junk I don’t care enough about to research on the internet! That’s something I can believe in, my friends.
I can’t wait until Yom Kippur, an even more important Jewish holiday which I am also far too apathetic to look up on Wikipedia. I think it’s similar to Christianity’s Easter, but with fewer rabbits and crucifixions. Well, one fewer crucifixion, if you want to be accurate. Regardless, the important thing is Yom Kippur has even less traffic than Rosh Hashanah, and getting all those extra Jewish people off the road gets me home before 7pm.
Though I now understand and enjoy Jewish holidays – or at least understand how they help me – it’s still a weird feeling when the entire white population of a city collectively decides to stay home. You’d think The Beatles had released a new anthology album, or CBS was putting Hee Haw back on the air.
The entire community shuts down. Instead of going out on the town and eating whatever chicken-related meal they can find on a menu, white people just sit at home and fast, or pretend to fast. The entire entertainment industry shuts down as well. Movies aren’t made, books aren’t published, and deli meat isn’t sliced as thin.
Even my office was crippled. I never realized how many of my co-workers are Jewish until I showed up this week. I was one of three employees there, and the other two were people I had always secretly suspected of worshipping Satan. Two satanists and a gentile who finds Wikipedia research too hassling is not a good team for running a company.
I’m not sure if other cities are this affected by Jewish holidays, but they should be. Everyone deserves a break from bad traffic and having to do actual work in their jobs. Though I’m not Jewish, I’d encourage all my readers to please spread Judaism as much as they can in their communities. You’ll be rewarded like a true mensch each fall when gridlock is reduced and lines at the grocery store are shorter.
Trust me on this one. I may not be Jewish, but you don’t have to be to know a good bargain when you see one. Better traffic is the best religious perk since the creation of the universe itself.