My cousin Eric Shafran lives in Denver but has a place up in Beaver Creek, so I went over there last night for Shabbat dinner. The last time I had seen Eric, I suspect I was wearing Batman underoos, so it was nice to connect. (And yes, that could well mean I saw him last week---don't judge my underoos, you know you are just jealous.) I had a very nice time, and it also reminded me that whatever misgivings I may have about organized religion, there are several aspects of Judaism that are really rather appealing. Now, don't worry, I'm still a cynical bastard who thinks our life after death consists of being an amuse buche for earthworms. However, the notion of setting aside one day a week to slow down, put aside the frenetic pace and concerns of weekly life and focus on what really matters (family) is something we got right. I also hadn't sat down with family (or anyone else for that matter) for Shabbat dinner in who knows how long, and I realized that I actually do miss it. Of course, you can't beat a Shabbat where you talk about "Lazy Sunday" directly before benching. (For the older readers: Lazy Sunday is a recent SNL skit. For the Goyish readers: benching is grace after meals) It will be interesting to see if Judaism is something that becomes more important in my life as I get older, given how strongly I feel about it on one hand, yet how ambivalent on the other.
Thankfully, I am scheduled to work tomorrow night so I at least get paid for having to deal with the inanity that is New Year's Eve. I am of course traumatized that I won't be able to spend another Dec. 31 at the Velvet Dog (not a euphemism for some sort of sexual and/or drug exploit, but rather a bar in Cleveland). I sure will miss the overweight shirtless man with the scrolling LED display hanging around his chest that read "I Wanna Lick Your Nipples." Ahh, memories.