Jewfro: The Things I Learned In 5774 …



By Ben Falik

20140618_130230In 5774, it was a very good year. It was a very good year for repairing the world and Detroit hustling harder. In spite of the premature nostalgia for the 5750s and the way I wrote 5773 on my checks well into the year, I feel exceedingly grateful for the things I learned along the way. Here are a few:

  1. In many cultures, rain is a symbol for cleansing and new beginnings. In no cultures (that I am aware of) is untreated waste water a symbol for cleansing and new beginnings.
  2. An acronym is pronounceable (JARC). Otherwise, it’s an initialism (JFS).
  3. When creating a puppet, the puppeteer applies personality traits to it very early in the process.
  4. Kindergarten is a bigger transition for the parents of the kindergartener than the kindergartener himself.
  5. If you swear in front of your kids, they will swear in front of you. And the same lack of impulse control that led you to swear in the first place will probably lead you to laugh uncontrollably. Which will only make matters worse. Or better.
  6. It takes a village to raise my children.
  7. Voting in primaries is important.
  8. The best way to ensure extreme winter weather is to cancel your snow-plow service.
  9. Extreme winter weather does not mean the Earth is not warming.
  10. Israel is hard to talk about.
  11. You don’t appreciate I-96 until it’s gone.
  12. We don’t need to widen I-94.
  13. I-76, which runs through Philadelphia, was not actually named to honor the signing of the Declaration of Independence.
  14. For that matter, Augustus Woodward claimed that he did not name Woodward after himself but because it ran toward the woods.
  15. The best cuisine in Detroit is Thai food served out of a truck. You can find Katoi most nights at Two James Distillery on Michigan Avenue in Corktown.
  16. Some people want to find out the gender of their baby before it is born and you shouldn’t judge them, even though they are depriving themselves of life’s last great surprise.
  17. The best thing you can do as a wedding attendee is make the happy couple feel like their wedding is really special. That and stick to the registry.
  18. Detroit has exported a lot of talent. Detroit has also imported a lot of talent. We need to be open to both to build the strongest possible community.
  19. Similarly, at a certain point you can’t buy new clothes without giving away some of your current clothes.
  20. No one deserves Spirit Airlines.
  21. The key to developing community partnerships — or any partnerships, for that matter — is setting and managing expectations.
  22. Livernois is teeming with potential.
  23. All drivers in Michigan should check the box for the $11 Recreation Passport when they renew their plates.
  24. And the organ donor box when they renew their licenses.
  25. There are other phones
    besides iPhones.
  26. It is going to be hard to explain to our grandkids why there was a time when two people could be prevented from marrying each other based on their gender.
  27. I am not nostalgic for video cassettes.
  28. Think twice before stopping on the expressway to save a duckling. If you must, make sure you pull all the way over onto the shoulder and that you are wearing proper footwear. Once you have the duckling in the car, be prepared for it to poop on your floor mats. If you bring the duckling to a children’s concert, it will be very popular and you can pretend that you are the one that is very popular. Until it can fly, the duckling can cohabitate harmoniously with baby chicks. Then you must set it free.


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