Because my husband was away on internship business, I headed to Brooklyn with the rest of my entourage, my cute little sister. She help me lug my little suitcase around and chatted up guests during dinner so I wouldn't hurt my face before my actual speech. She did such a good job chatting guests up that our section of the table was surrounded by a handful of Brooklyn College students throughout the meal. I think she had a good time because she didn't ask me to pay her for her time later.
Friday night I gave my "Becoming a Jewminicana" speech. I had most of the speech memorized by I improvised some extra jokes and took sneak peeks at my notes. Actually, sometimes, the resulting laughter threw me off a little but I speedily charged ahead to garner more laughs. I had been worried before that perhaps parts of the speech would be so depressing I wouldn't get many laughs but I was pleasantly surprised. My joke about Stern girls was a hit.
Afterwards, a student asked me if I was a stand-up comedian and another congratulated me on "a great performance." I wonder if I have a career as a stand-up comedian in me. Hmm. Even a Catholic in the audience says she wasn't offended by my Christian jokes. I think the Rabbi and Rebbetzin, who are totally awesome by the way, were pleased that I was actually a legit speaker.
I woke up early on Saturday morning but like Friday night, I didn't get much praying done. I have trouble sitting through Shabbat meals without pain and I was worried that if I threw praying in on top of that, I would collapse before my second speech/lecture on "Racism in the Jewish Community." This really leads one to wonder about my priorities. Sorry, G-d.
Again, though the topic ("Racism in the Jewish community") was not light on Saturday afternoon, I managed to get a lot of laughs. As usual, the room was split with people who were incensed by racism in the Jewish community, people who didn't mind it so much and people who were just trying to digest their food while giving my words some thought.
One disheartening racism story came from someone in the audience. She said she had seen a Jewish mom with a Jewish kid in a shopping cart in a supermarket. Then she saw them ride up alongside a Hispanic mom and her Hispanic daughter in a shopping cart. The Jewish kid pointed over at the little girl and said, "Look, Ma, a baby maid." That managed to get a reaction from even the crowd that thought the Mexican housekeeper joke that had pissed me off one Shabbos meal was funny.
After both speeches, I hung around with students at the Hillel. They were an eclectic mix wearing everything from suits to cowboy hats and jeans. When I got home, despite my best efforts, I did collapse. And my little sister was there again to help me out of my clothes, mix a painkiller/muscle relaxer cocktail, feed me and put me to bed. G-d bless her. Next time I'll have to watch myself to make sure I don't overdo it but it's hard to watch yourself when you're having so much fun.