Now, bear with me, I shan’t be long. You see, the mispoche are coming round later and I’ll have to get started slow-cooking a large leg of lamb for our seder. I’ll be leading it, which means that I’ll be doing my RSC (Reduced Seder Company) performance, whose aim is to follow the minimum critical path between service and food. If you’ve ever been to a full-dress seder, you’ll know what I mean.
Our festivities kicked in yesterday with a showing of the animated magic lantern performance of The Prince of Egypt, which if you haven’t seen before, is very moving and highly recommended. The younger Croxii had seen this film many times but it was a first for me – I expect it’ll become as traditional at this time of year as It’s A Wonderful Life is at Christmas. The depictions of the plagues of darkness and the slaughter of the firstborn were heart-wrenching.
Some of those plagues, though, I have to admit, are a bit old-school. Lice, boils, ticks, frogs and so on and so forth, given that the theme of release from bondage is one that recurs and has contemporary resonance, far beyond the bronze-age setting. If an Intransigent Pharaoh were reigning today, what plagues would you wish on him to let your people go?
I have a few ideas. (Crox Minor helped.)
I expect you can think of additions of your own.
1. The Plague of Workmen. Spring is here, which is when men come to dig holes randomly in roads. We’re about to have some right outside our house, where they are due to install a telephone pole, especially to take our telephone wire, because the wires hanging from a nearby pole hang too low for health-and-safety mavens at BT to countenance men climbing up the pole to fix them. Health and Safety. Whatcha gonna do?
2. The Plague of Cold-Callers. We get quite a few people calling, quite obviously
with from foreign parts, to tell us that our computer has gone wrong. Callers from closer to home tell us that we’ve been mis-sold insurance. My father had an appalling one – someone called him to say that one of his relatives had had an accident. I imagine that if Pharaoh were subject to cold-callers of this kind every minute of the day, he’d soon go demented.
3. The Plague of Jehovah’s Witnesses. Every now and then I see clusters of extraordinarily well-dressed people in the street. At first I think they must be attending a wedding or similar simcha, but it turns out that they are Jehovah’s Witnesses. Luckily for them Mrs Crox usually gets to the door before I do, because if I did, I’d remind them that religion is like a penis. If you have one, love it and cherish it, but please keep it to yourself. Some people consider it rude to wave your penis around in public. (This blog excepted.)
4. The Plague of Celebrities. It is now virtually impossible to watch anything on TV that isn’t presented by someone famous for doing something else, even if that something can’t immediately be recalled. It is virtually impossible to get a book published unless it’s written by a celeb. Philippa Middleton’s Book of Bottoms. You know the sort of thing.
5. The Plague of Lawnmowers. This is a surreal tradition chez Crox, I’m afraid. Move along, now, nothing to see here.
6. The Plague of Cellphones. I’m addicted to mine. My fingers twitch when I don’t have it to hand, and I start to get palpitations of the kind that Bilbo got when he couldn’t immediately find his Ring (stop sniggering, Grant.) Everyone else is addicted to theirs.
7. The Plague of People Walking Behind You With Noisy Shoes. This drives me barmy. I usually stop so they can overtake, then I follow closely, giving them the Evil Eye. This is closely related and may be co-euphorbious with the Plague of Pedestrians. I am quite convinced that there exists a secret organisation called S. T. O. P., short for the Society of Tiresome and Obstructive Pedestrians, whose members include Italian exchange students who hang around in shop doorways, and little old ladies who, while small, conspire to block an entire pavement, and so on.
8. The Plague of Homework. This one was suggested by Crox Minor.
9. The Plague of Drunkards. Sometimes when I have finished playing a concert with Stealer, a popular beat combo, and am trying to move equipment between the venue and Caroline the eVolvo, I have to step lightly over prone, semi-clad young women being sick in the street, and dodge the attention of violent/pissed young men. When I am driving home I have to take extra care that they don’t wander into the street in front of the car. It’s a sign of the times.
10. The Plague of Lego Bricks. Crox Minor and I agree that this is the piece-de-resistance, the capo-di-tutti-frutti, the thing that would finally get Pharoah to Let Our People Go. Few things are as painful on the unshod foot as a lego brick scattered on a laminate floor, when trodden on at 3 a. m. Just imagine the terror in the Treasure Cities of Ramses and Pishon if lego bricks had been scattered randomly on floors and in the street, so that one could hardly walk anywhere without injury, or – worse – the fear of injury, caused by the sudden and unexpected collision of soft flesh with these tiny spiked horrors.
Chag Pesach Sameach, everyone.