Earnest writer discovers all the worlds a column

A former journalism professor of mine used to say, "Don't vamp till ready." In other words, don't dance around the subject. Get to the point.

She also used to say, "Don't put peas up the reader's nose." By that, she meant don't confuse the reader with trains of thought that lead nowhere.

Az a nar gait in mark, fraien zich di kremer.

But I digress…

What a wonderful response I got to my first column! Tons of positive feedback from my mom and dad. My brother and sister liked it too.

Oh, and I even heard from readers happy to see my byline again. That truly made my heart sing.

I must say that having a column has given me a slightly different perspective on the world. Suddenly, everything has become potential fodder for a Bulletin rant.

I eat a knish and think "column!" I shvitz and think "column!" Columns are everywhere.

My supervisor at work thinks that's pretty funny. "Soon," he jokes, "you'll be writing about how you got a paper cut."

Hmmm. Not a bad idea. Not a bad idea at all. But how do I make a paper cut Jewish?

Which leads to my next point. What does make a column Jewish anyway? Is it enough that the writer sees the world through a distinctly Jewish lens? Or does the column need to tackle explicitly Jewish subjects? I mean, if I pen a piece about George "Dubya" and throw in an "oy," does that make the column Jewish?

If I eat a matzah ball in a forest and no one sees me eating it, did I really eat that matzah ball?

What do you think, readers? Lemme know.

In the meantime, allow me to address the issue of e-jokes.

E-jokes, as most of you know, are those ubiquitous funnies that circulate via e-mail. One person sends them to 25,000 friends. Those people forward them to their friends. And eventually, the entire world is singing the Jewish version of "Mama, Don't Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Cowboys."

I receive loads of dorky e-jokes, many of them Jewish in tone, many of them courtesy of my uncle. I don't have the heart to tell my dear uncle that most of the jokes he sends along are about as funny as a lump of old kugel.

However, of the countless e-jokes that have filled my e-box lately, something funny did come across the transom. David M. Bader's Jewish haiku could well be the first e-humor that actually made me laugh out loud.

Haiku, as many of you know, is unrhymed, three-line Japanese poetry written in five, seven and five syllables, respectively. Here's Bader's take on the centuries-old craft known for its terse beauty and simplicity:

Is one Nobel Prizeso much to ask from a childafter all I've done?

Harry Houdini –amazing escape from hisreal name, Erich Weiss.

Today I am aman. Tomorrow I returnto the seventh grade.

Would-be convert lost –thawed Lender's Bagels made abad first impression.

Cherry blossoms bloom.Sure, it's beautiful, but isit good for the Jews?

Hey! Get back indoors!Whatever you were doingcould put an eye out.

And on that note, see you next time…

Leslie Katz

Leslie Katz is a former J. staff writer.