This week, on the “(Is It) Good for the Jews?” podcast …
Larry Rosen: So last weekend I went to a classic car show in Golden Gate Park. I don’t know if you’re into cars…
Eric Goldbrener: I like cars.
LR: See, there’s two kinds of into cars; I was raised to be into small, European cars. Italian cars. The other kind — the kind that seems very un-Jewish — is the hot rod guys, the muscle car guys. Of all the Jews I know, how many are into hot rods?
EG: I can think of one. And he drives a Jaguar now.
EG: It’s real simple why Jews aren’t into the hot rod thing. You walk into the dealer and you buy the Ferrari. The hot rod guys buy the car and work on it. You’ve got a lot of tools, you’re greasy, you’re hanging out with your buddies… You’re a doctor or lawyer, do you have time? Is your wife going to tolerate this hobby?
LR: Also, for a lot of us Jewish guys, a car engine might as well be a Rubik’s Cube.
EG: Sea monsters. Unsolvable.
LR: I was at this show with a buddy, an Italian guy who says everyone thinks he’s Jewish.
EG: It’s practically the same thing!
LR: Except. When we look into the engine bay of a 1961 Chevy Impala, I see sea monsters. Not only does he say his family had one when we was a kid, he also says, “Look at that. No computers. You could just work on that all day.”
EG: Not you.
LR: Still looked like a Rubik’s Cube to me. Let me tell you a story. When I lived in Seattle I had my own motorcycle magazine.
EG: Wow. Cool guy.
LR: We started it. I was the only Jew.
EG: And you were in charge of the finances? The legal department?
LR: No, but we all had to sell ads — to motorcycle shops, dealers, anything remotely connected to motorcycles, up to and including cool clothing places downtown with choppers in their window displays.
EG: I had no idea you were so cool!
LR: It wore off. So I get the assignment to sell an ad to Eastside Harley-Davidson. I got the short straw. I walk in there and I sit down across from the Harley guys and I think, “I have never felt more Jewish in my life.”
EG: Surrounded by Harley guys!
LR: It was like the scene in “Annie Hall,” where the camera pans to Woody’s character and he’s dressed as a Lubavitcher. Was that in “Annie Hall”?
EG: I disown Woody Allen. We’ve already discussed that. But why didn’t you just talk motorcycles? You’re running a motorcycle magazine!
LR: Not a Harley guy. This is what I’m saying. Jews: not hot rod guys, not Harley guys. It’s very, very rare.
EG: You like the Italian bikes, the Italian cars. Makes sense.
LR: Totally different world. Intimidated by these guys? You’d better believe it!
EG: None of those guys could be as big as you. Didn’t you just walk in there, leather jacket, strutting around…
LR: “Um, hello, sir, I was wondering if you…”
EG: “What are you selling, Jew?”
LR: (Mel Brooks accent) “I’ve got the nicest ad for you to buy! Regular $125, but for you? $100!”
EG: I’d go in there, first thing I’d do is get the tattoo sleeves…
LR: Of what? Tallit? I’d get a tattoo of a tallit, to save time, let them know where I’m coming from.
EG: That’s not going far enough. I’d get tefillin tattooed on both arms. “Rad, man. Stripes. What do they mean?” Eh, it’s a religious thing.
LR: Right. My biker name is “Mezuzah.”
EG: I’m not a motorcycle guy, but if I was, you know what I’d be into? Sidecars.
LR: Why am I not surprised?
EG: That’d be cool.
LR: I’m not going to sugarcoat this. I think that’s incredibly goofy. And what, you go the whole route, with the goggles and the flowing scarf? The leather hat?
EG: Oh, yeah. Steampunk, baby. I can see it now.
LR: And then take that into the Harley dealer and try to sell him an ad. Good luck with that.