Here are few compliments and utterings by my family and friends that define me the best:
Around the tender age of eight, my anti-Commie proclivities surfaced and defined themselves never to be buried again under any circumstances; combined with my big yup that sometimes presented tiny problems. At any rate, one of my uncles, flabbergasted by such displays, politely informed my Dad that this kid might just land him in prison. My Daddy, confirmed anti-Commie since the age of eighteen, threw his chest forward and proudly proclaimed: “My Daughter!”
Two months before my twelfth birthday, I got the supreme pleasure of being enrolled in a class with about twenty five other kids, with about 80% of the parent body being in “diplomatic service” – Commie speak for KGB agents. Unfortunately, my big yup got the better of me yet again, and shortly thereafter I was confronted by an angry mob of kiddies around and slightly above my age cornering me outside of our classroom and yelling the Russian equivalents of “dirty kike” at me. I responded by calling them “Nazis”. Shortly after my twelfth birthday, my dad went to this illustrious learning institution to collect my transcripts in order to enroll me in a different school. The principle, also flabbergasted by yours truly, snippily informed my parent that in her forty years of educational experience that was the first case of a student calling the entire body of young pioneers in the school “HitlerJugend”. My Daddy, G-d bless him, informed her that his daughter did not tell lies, and if she called the students little Nazis, maybe they were, in fact, little Nazis.
When I was about seventeen, a certain family member who kept popping in and out of friendship with us re-surfaced again. In a fit of generosity, she offered to take me for a ride in her car – quite a treat in Moscow in the eighties. Yours truly, however, declined due to the fear of succumbing to the car sickness. The blessed relative took it as an offense and confronted my Dad, accusing my poor Mom of some nefarious deeds. My Dad squelched the stupidity, in the process explaining that it is very hard to force Barbara to do something she really does not want to do, despite her seemingly obliging nature. “You could never do it – just try”.
One of my many former friends (at least I think it was him), who liked to pretend the deep knowledge of Judaism and assume the pose of erudite philosopher, once politely told me that for a religious fanatic I looked and acted quite normally. Thanks, dude!
In the not so olden days, when yours truly was not the only singleton in her circle of friends, one of those friends decided to go to some kind of singles weekend function, and invited Beloved Sibling and your humble servant to come along. This author, already fed up with all kinds of organized singles events, politely declined. The friend persisted, trying to engage the help of my sister. “You do not know my sister?” - Was Beloved Sibling’s reply – “if she sticks her two hooves into the ground, it is impossible to budge her”. Friend was genuinely surprised, but the weekend went swimmingly without my attendance.
Just this morning, I ran into my other good friend on the subway station. As he, for reasons that flabbergasted me, continues to be an Obama supporter, I half-jokingly call him “class enemy”. He, in turn, is always trying to come up with suitable responses. So, this morning he greeted me with “Hello, the enemy of the proletariat”! As I was, as my friend E. puts it, pre-coffee, I did not respond in the satisfactory (for me) manner. Only later, after my customary 24 oz. of Hazelnut with half and half, did the good rejoinder pop into my brain. “Proud and confirmed enemy of the proletariat since the age of seven”!
In summary, I am a “stiff-necked” Jew, mouthy, and set in her ways – and very proud of it.