valentine’s day

[written in February 2001]

[names have been changed]

Sarah Goldstein was in my high school class and is now a year in front of me here [in med school]. She recently got married thank god and is now Sarah Steingold. During her second year, she started the Southwestern Jewish Alliance, which is now defunct. That same year she served as the editor of The Murmur, a quarterly newspaper designed to serve as a humorous outlet for medical students. At that time I had just moved to Dallas, and submitted a witty and intelligent criticism of the first week of medical school that she, without asking me, modified before including it in the paper. She expunged all the funny spicy parts and replaced them with hackneyed jokes, and introduced GRAMMATICAL MISTAKES. I sent her an email she probably never received because her internet-watch software picked up all the curse words and deleted the message before it got to her unblemished eyes.

This morning, she made everyone on the medicine 2a team (eight of us) brownies for valentine’s day. Later on in the morning I asked her what she was doing with her husband to celebrate the occasion and she told me with a self-satisfied look that she does not celebrate valentine’s day. I took the bait and asked why. Though I was blinded by the light reflecting off the Hebrew letters on her necklace that spell her name, I am sure she gave me a look of disgust as she said, “It’s Saint Valentine’s day, Reuben.”

An hour later I was waiting with Sarah, another student, and two residents as several members of the team were visiting a patient with tuberculosis. Somehow the hospital hallway conversation made its way to hot dogs and Dr. Vorth mentioned that though he is not jewish he has always eaten Hebrew National hot dogs. Sarah quickly pointed out that Hebrew National hot dogs are in fact not kosher. I should have known better, but I told her that they are widely consumed in kosher households, presumably because they say “kosher” on the package. She replied by telling me that Hebrew National has numerous documented instances of Kashrut violations and that no one who really keeps Kosher would allow anything made by Hebrew National into their home. It has been years since I have felt the masturbatory condescending slobber of this type of orthodox jew, and I should have known better, but I told her that everyone keeps kosher in their own way. To this she replied, with arms flailing, that you can not be pregnant in your own way, that you either keep kosher or you don’t.

When considering how to strangle someone, I recommend the Littmann Cardiology III stethoscope. Its single-shaft design won’t get caught up in your victim’s hair, and the diaphragm serves as a great handle for extra leverage. It’s the perfect length for most necks, and, when you’re finished, you can use it to confidently verify the absence of breath sounds.

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