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Treasure Found In the Depths of the Middle Closet - Part Two

We're back again today against the sounds of illegal fireworks exploding loudly in the alley behind my house. My parents said once that the noise reminded them of Beirut, which I guess is a joke I need to be about five years older to really appreciate, seeing as the first major news event I can clearly remember from television was the O.J. Simpson trial. I suppose the Beirut comparison is in poor taste, as is going to be the fact that it reminded me of Israel, which I suppose is the current (and of course by current I mean lasting for the last 60 years) source of random acts of inhuman violence. It is thus incredibly serendipitous that I found the one exchange between me and my Israeli pen pal I was forced to have in the fifth grade of my Hebrew School education at Emanuel. If I may say so myself, folks, I like this one more than the love letters.

Now, as is the case with all of these very wordy, NPR inspired, oh-please-goodness-Ira-Glass-like-me-I-remember-interesting-things-too! stories that I like telling on the internet for all my friends to read, I think I should qualify a few things before we get in to seeing just what this exchange was.

First of all, I am undecided on my Zionist positions. I do believe the Jews deserve and need a place in the world, but I am shaky about the actions of both the Israelis and Palestinians with respect to the six decades old conflict there. It has made me an outcast in my temple, and I guess I just have to live with that. Good, that should either eliminate or exacerbate the inevitable FREE PALESTINE debate the internet sure loves.

Secondly, while I am exceptionally culturally sensitive and nice human being now by most standards, I guess I was kind of an ass in the fifth grade. I guess I am still sort of an ass now, because I think I said something insensitive about how there are lots of bombings in Israel now. My heart always goes out to those affected by this situation, but going back to my first qualification, the retaliation efforts by Israelis is just too...

I am getting mired down in a debate I never wanted to have. Ugh. Now that I have been added to terrorist watchdog groups for saying the words "Free Palestine" and my future employers have shamed me for comparing Beirut to Israel, let's move on.

This is actually where our story begins, with word from Israel that we would all be receiving our own pen pals! Mandatory ones! Here is the precursor letter from Israel. The formatting was way too fucking crazy to not scan. Abby, I expect translations, provided my opening diatribe did not permanently put me in your bad standings.

And these very loving, very sweet and friendly albeit highlighter crazy Israelis delivered on their promise, and I received a new and awesome pen pall named Shay! How is it I know Shay was awesome? Let's just have a look at the letter he sent me.

Though it almost needs no explanation, let's examine exactly why this is the best letter in the history of one shot anonymous pen palling. The dove is pink, making it both fabulously fantastical and also peace loving. He loves football, both a team of Macabees and the currently tip-top "Mancheste[r] United," which as a popular blog would say totally dominates white culture! Finally, let's look at this back page. The students, per the letter, have been told to decorate the shit out of their letters, and this is a shining, gold star, double plus good example. TELL ME THAT IS NOT THE COOLEST ROBOT THING YOU HAVE EVER SEEN. Israeli robots clearly can beat up ours. Is that a famous one? Who knows. Madness. Madness like a 90210 trading card, which as much as I would like to remove from the letter to examine Brandon's stats on the back, is currently taped down.

I owe this kid. I owe him big time. Like, bigger than the entire universe big. But you see, the sad thing is, I still have the letter I wrote him in reply. It's here in America, not there in Israel. We aren't chatting up why it is that Arsenal has such a good young team, but really, when it comes down to talent Man U is simply where it is at. We aren't excitedly talking about the new series of 90210 they're starting in the fall. No, we're at square fucking one. Here's my letter.

I'm so sorry, Shay. I didn't have the balls or the drive or any interest in all at going to six more hours of school per week when I was 10 years old, so I ignored your letter, left it as just a shitty generic reply that your teacher no doubt automatically filled in for me, because I can tell it is his handwriting. I fucked up big time, and I am sorry for not making an equally sweet letter. So here I go, trying to make it up to you the best way I know how: retroactive postage. In this same mysterious closet, I have found maybe the one thing I could attach to my response letter that could have wowed you the same way that you tried to wow me. I know it's not soccer, but it's Chicago in the nineties. We had a dynasty then. And I went to the playoffs.