In My Own Words: A few things, serious and silly

By Rabbi Rachel Esserman

Are they really serious? 

Imagine if you are in third grade and are not allowed to talk about your parents. Why? Because talking about them would somehow corrupt your classmates. Am I speaking of mass murderers or pedophiles? Nope. I’m talking about children with two daddies or two mommies. I’m not joking: currently 11 states have forbidden any mention of the LGBTQ+ community in classrooms from kindergarten to third grade. 

I’m not sure how saying that someone is gay or that someone has two parents of the same sex is really talking about sex, as in sexual intercourse. If it is, then we need to ban all conversation about parents. After all, heterosexual couples – gasp! – have sex. Unless they were adopted, the children of those folks had sexual intercourse and everyone who’s had any sex education knows that. (Well, unless you believe the stork brings babies. If you don’t know what that means, Google it.) Actually, I’m not sure why anyone would be talking about sex with a child that age.

Since no one is suggesting that sex education be given to children that age, the “don’t say gay” laws, as they have been called, don’t make sense, at least no more sense than forbidding people from talking about their religion or ethnicity. The next thing you know they will be punishing Jewish children for not believing in Santa Claus and telling their classmates he doesn’t exist. OK, that’s not exactly the same thing, but this is one slippery slope.
A not serious pet peeve, or why do they do this?

Do I really want or need to watch television when I’m pumping gas? Yes, there are gas stations that offer TV screens on their pumps, which not only show ads for what’s on sale inside the station, but actual TV shows. I know that talk and noise bother me more than many people. It’s a side effect of my hearing loss, but this still doesn’t make sense to me. Can’t we stand for five minutes without being entertained? Is it that hard to amuse ourselves? It’s pretty pathetic if we can’t.

Plus, what if the show on the screen is interesting? Is anyone going to stand there for a half hour to find out what happens or what the person says next? I would have thought the point was for us to get our gas and then leave quickly so the next person can use the pump.

Something very silly

I have a friend who has been trying to talk me into getting a cat, something that doesn’t make sense because she doesn’t like cats. I actually really like cats, but have no desire to own one. Fortunately, even when I do get tempted, the people I work with quickly cure me of the desire: nothing like tales of your cat biting your fingers or ear to wake you up, or nearly slipping on cat vomit first thing in the morning, to make me not want to get a pet.

But there has been one unexpected result of my friend’s encouragement and it’s getting expensive. Well, not as expensive as if I had a real pet, but it still counts. That’s because I’ve fallen in love with the cartoons featuring Simon’s Cat, which I found when teasing my friend about reasons for me to not get a pet. The cat doesn’t have a name, but the drawings are great (so few lines, but so much expression) and the cartoons (which you can find on Facebook or Youtube) make me laugh out loud in a way few things do. As for it’s being expensive, I now have two Simon’s Cat mugs, Simon’s Cat stickers, Simon’s Cat books (two were a birthday present, the third I bought myself and I have been tempted to buy more) and two Simon’s Cat 2024 calendars, one a monthly and the other a daily.

That means my friend has literally filled my life with cats, even if it isn’t the way she meant. But my new obsession means that I don’t have vet bills or all the other expenses and aggravations that come with owning a pet. And best of all: I do not have to change the litter box!