A few days ago I returned home to Mahopac, N.Y. to attend Rosh Hashanah services at my childhood synagogue, Chavurah Beth Chai. Upon entering the building I reached into the yarmulke box to grab some head cover. The one I picked out happened to be bright pink, with what appear to be coffee stains running down the side. Out of curiosity (eh, boredom), I opened it up to read inside. It said:
JACQUELINE MAY ZISBLATT
JUNE 22, 1985
I was immediately sent back in time, to a point when I was 13 and in lust. Jackie and I took Bar/Bat Mitzvah classes together every Wednesday night with a woman named Gladyss. I only recall her name because we collectively nicknamed her “Happy Tushie, and thought it was the most hilarious thing of all time (get it? Glad. Ass.). Anyhow, I had a huuuuuge crush on Jackie, who had snazzy white tennis sneakers, 8,000 freckles and a coolness I simply couldn’t touch. I remember secretly telling David, my older brother, about my lust for Ms. Zisblatt. “I’m gonna tell her!” he said repeatedly. “I can’t wait to tell her!!”
I was mortifiedâ—but I had a plan. I decided that, midway through her Bat Mitzvah, I’d pull Jackie aside and ask her to be my girlfriend. Sure, it was the biggest party of her life. And sure, I was the fringe guest—Hebrew School Geek Associate. But, well, surely she’d be swept off her feet by the Pearlman charm. Surely, she’d fall into my arms and. Surely …
I wussed out.
But here I sit, 24 years later, yarmulke on my desk (I don’t think the Chavurah will mind), again a pimply face boy with a crush.