Tag Archives: brother

The Problem with Nostalgia

It was this book!

It’s really terrible; there’s an Ebola outbreak in Guinea and I’m getting nostalgic. This hemorrhagic fever has held legendary status in my mind since about 4th or 5th grade. I heard about it from my brother who heard about it from his teacher.

“Nine days. Boom. Dead!” he bulged his eyes out and flexed then flicked his fingers at the word boom for effect. He was imitating his teacher. He then described to a rapt audience (me) how when they cut the person open everything would just be mush. All their organs turned to goop.

“It starts with diarrhea…” he said in a low voice and then rose to “And then nine days, Boom. Dead!”

I’ve been paranoid of diarrhea since.

And then Mack Bolan (are those books still in print?), who was my brother’s favorite fictional character at the time, was infected with the virus by a sinister foe, but he had the antidote in the green tipped syringe (or was it red? I don’t remember, one of them was the virus the other the antidote) and he lived.

I didn’t like Mack Bolan,too much action and machismo, but I took that book and read the last chapter or so, just to take in more about Ebola. I’m not sure why it fascinated me. Was is my brother’s animation or the body’s disintegration, or the anticipatory fear, I don’t know.

I don’t know if anything that hooked me in the first place is even true. Diarrhea only comes after joint pain muscle weakness and an assortment of other symptoms. And nothing comes up when I Google Ebola 9 day. Maybe it’s because I left out the word Boom.

But while Liberia is closing its borders, and the WHO is issuing recommendations and people are dying, I have a small smile on my face.

I’m terrible, I know.


Posted by on March 31, 2014 in The Sporadic Side


Tags: , , ,

Will the Real Tom Chenko Please Stand Up

I can’t wait to move to Lakewood and acquaint myself with Tom Chenko.

Apparently every proper Bais Yaakov girl, Kollel Wife, and any upstanding woman knows him really well. And jumps at his beck and call.

My brother, fresh meat to Lakewood, picked up the phone in his in-laws house.

“Tom Chenko,” the voice on the other line said. 

“Who?!” my brother asked. 

“Tom Chenko,” the voice repeated.

 “Tom Chenko? I think you have the wrong number,” my brother responded politely.

 The person on the other line stammered and started to hang up.

 “Wait!” by brother’s sister-in-law who was standing nearby called, and she took the receiver from my brother.

 “What’s the name?” she asked. “Is it going up or down?” And she hung up.

 My brother looked at his sister-in-law quizzically. That conversation made no sense to him, who was Tom Chenko? Names? And Lists?

 …Shidduchim?…Rapist Alert?….Political Campaign?…he thought.

 “Tehilim Chain Call” his sister-in-law explained slowly, “Very common in Lakewood.” As she took out the telephone book, flipped though it, picked up the receiver again and started dialing.

 I can’t wait.


Posted by on May 11, 2009 in Uncategorized


Tags: , , ,

%d bloggers like this: