Last week I had an experience so traumatic that the only way I can express its true horror is by making an analogy to a multple choice math problem.
The first step in solving any multiple choice math problem is to remember that you fucking hate math, and to curse yourself for winding up in a situation where people can ask you questions about it.
Which was exactly how I felt on Friday night, when the new synagogue rabbinical intern stopped me on my way out and said “You look really familiar, do I know you?”
Eliminate all answers that cannot possibly be correct.
I’ve been traveling a lot recently, and haven’t been to synagogue in a few weeks. Also, I’ve never been introduced to the rabbinic intern before. So of course the answer is no.
Have someone explain to you that the reason you’re struggling is because you fucked up step two.
“Is your name Ben? Ben Levy?”
Stand there dumbfounded.
Lady, I don’t know you. Or even your name. Even though I know the Rabbi mentioned it like seven times tonight. I wasn’t paying attention because NO ONE TOLD ME THERE WAS GOING TO BE A TEST.
Have the person start to explain how to find the right answer. During this step, you will be able to follow everything they say. All of it will make sense. But you still won’t understand how it leads to the right answer at the end.
“Did you go to Camp Ramah in the Poconos? We were in the same Adah (age group)! With [CENSORED] and [REDACTED] and [OH GD I KNOW ALL THESE PEOPLE SHE'S NAMING BUT I SWEAR I'VE NEVER MET HER BEFORE]!
Stare at the person with the look of one who is cursed to seek the answer to this problem for all eternity and to never find it.
This step isn’t even an analogy. It’s just what happened.
The person has now proudly, logically, reached the end of their explanation as to why you’re a complete idiot. You still don’t get it.
“It’s me, [FIRST NAME]!”
They run through the explanation a second time.
“[FIRST NAME] [LAST NAME]? Remember?”
With dawning horror, you realize that of course that’s the answer. You would have sworn on your Grandparents’ graves that was the least likely answer of all the choices given. But you were wrong. You were so wrong that it feels as though you didn’t just fail to understand a multiple choice math problem- you failed to grasp a basic law of reality.
Oh my gd. I do recognize her face now. I….I’ve had dreams where I showed up to school naked that were more comfortable than this.
Here the analogy breaks down. Because in a multiple choice math problem, the horror ends at step 9. But in my life, this happened:
“You remember my mother don’t you? She was a teacher at Camp Ramah.”
“Oh, hi Ben Levy!”