Friendships change, always
I used to be able to say, proudly, that some of my best friends are Jewish. From childhood, it always felt better to say "Jewish" than "Jew." I thought back then that the word Jew was as insulting as the '"n" word came to be. And the reason I thought this was because some people used the word that way. As Wittgenstein put it so perfectly "An expression only has meaning within the stream of life."
My being born in 1947 a mere two years after the holocaust made the story of Jewish persecution nearly living history for me.
As a teen, a few decades later came the SixDay War between the Jewish State of Israel and a bunch of the Arab world.
I also shamefully discovered the existence of pubic hair on women by looking at Jewish women being herded across a railway yard at Auschwitz by smiling Nazis holding machine guns, in my father's Pictorial History of WW2, Time/Life oversized, coffee table book. Those women looked beautiful to me, as confused as I was by their situation.
All of these experiences, and having been raised in an all-white middle-class WASP American suburb, slanted my feelings about Jews. I admired them and was always happy to find myself in a friendship with them. I became uncomfortable with and stopped using the slang "Are you going to try and jew him down?" and with the casual insult of "Jewish lightning" to suggest insurance fraud by arson.
I made lots of Jewish friends. Some of my best friends...
Recently, though, I've had a dispirited falling out, or something similar, with three, once close Jewish friends. I absolutely don't feel that these estrangements have anything to do with their Jewishness or my Atheism. And yet somehow I've lost these intimate contacts almost simultaneously.
I possess a Master of Science in Applied Psychology, the "science" part b/c of my study of research methods and statistical analysis, thus I can assure you with professional objectivity and certainty that an N (number) of 3 (three) is insufficient to make any reliable and trustworthy conclusions. Three subjects in science are just too small a sample.
Nonetheless, because each of these once friends, now not so much so, is Jewish, when I recently came across the piece below, about my abject horror and incomprehension regarding anti-semitism, I decided to re-post it. This is partly to reassure me and the world that this recent falling out, or something similar, with these once treasured souls, has nothing to do with their ethnicity or religion.
I suppose this is kind of a non-mea-culpa since each of these broken friendships has clear, easily traceable reasons for occurring that are likely settled by an Occam's Razor (the simplest and most common) explanation:
Sometimes friendships of very long standing slowly erode into nothing.
Sometimes friendships new and fresh and delightfully intense end as they began, unexpectedly, suddenly, without much or any warning.
And in any event, ALL friendships change over time and there's never more than a 50/50 chance that they'll change for the better than that they'll go in the other direction.
By the way, I have some Catholic pals, and atheist comrades, and nymphomaniacal former paramours, and Lutherans and plumbers and poets and sports fans and relatives thru earlier marriages and every other type of human you can imagine who have also fallen by the wayside over the years.
So happy fuckin' Hanaka or whatever, etc.
I am presently accepting applications for a new set of Jewish friends to replace recent losses in these ranks.
When love and friendship are lost in this life, the wise man seeks a replacement. This is my Replacement Theory.
Yep, and fuck you, Tucker Carlson.
Photo by Taton Moïse on Unsplash