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Klezmer Maniac

I only worked a couple of hours on Telegraph, then packed up the stand and met Josh and Jay. They'd sort of hit it off at dinner yesterday, and he'd volunteered to give us a lift to the convention center in Oakland, for Klezmer Mania.

That's an annual Jewish folk art, music, and culture festival, and Josh was there to soak it up, but Jay and I were there to sell fish. The Gefilte fish was of course a big hit, and we broke yesterday's record for the biggest single-day sales volume in the history of fish. 

Christmas, man. This is when people buy. The American economy would crater without December.

I'd thought Josh would taxi us and our stuff to the con, maybe enjoy the festival for a few hours, and then he'd go home. Nope. He was having a great time, and never got around to leaving. 

After a few hours at the fair, he sat with Jay and me and helped scissor fish from mylar, answered customers' questions, and basically did my job without earning my pay. Thanks, Josh. What a great guy, and also, I think he has a crush on Jay.

When we first got there, though, running late, the crowds started pressing in before we had the table set up. I don't do well in crowds. People make me nervous, and a few thousand people make me a few thousand nervous.

And I sorta snapped at Jay when she complained that I'd left the Book of Fish (the ledger) on a chair where someone could snatch it. Nobody snatched it, but I said, "If you start giving me crap before we're even open for business, it's gonna be a long, long day."

Despite all the confrontations with strangers on the Avenue, if anything I'm usually too patient and slow to anger. I bottle it up inside, and then when things get volatile I might go nitroglycerin.

What I said to Jay was way out of line. She's someone I like, someone who's given me a great job, forgiven some of my workplace stupidity (11/26 comes to mind), takes me to breakfast once in a while, even bought the socks  I'm wearing. Why would I snap at her? 

Being stubborn and stupid, though, I didn't have any inclination to apologize until later, and by then we had customers lined up half a dozen deep, so I never did say I'm sorry.

I'm sorry, Jay. That was just me, being an ass, and you didn't deserve it at all.

Other than that, my only regret about Klezmer Mania was that there was never a chance to get out of my chair and go exploring. The music from down the hall sounded swell, and the food (delivered by Josh) was superb, but all I did was tend fish all day, quoting prices over and over again even though the prices are posted in big writing. I put so many fish stickers and magnets into so many plastic bags, I would've lost track if we didn't have the Book of Fish.

And ya know what's the best thing about selling blasphemous fish at a Jewish folk festival, versus selling the same fish on Telegraph? We didn't see a single angry Christian all day.

From Pathetic Life #19
Sunday, Dec. 17, 1995

This is an entry retyped from an on-paper zine I wrote many years ago, called Pathetic Life. The opinions stated were my opinions then, but might not be my opinions now. Also, I said and did some disgusting things, so parental guidance is advised.

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