-from PLOTZ #8-

I can't go to Yom Kippur services because of a deeply wounding childhood experience.  I must have been about 8.  Maybe 6 or 7.  We lived in Marblehead, Massachusetts on a small, unpaved, deadend street with two other Jewish families . . . the Mosesons, who were Orthodox, and the Consevative Phillipses.  We were reform.  Both families had sons my own age.  One fall day, my mother asked me if I wanted to go with Kenny Phillips to a "children's circus."  Of course, I eagerly assented.  Now, upon reflection, and in light of what happened, I realize that it was Yom Kippur, and I know that she must have said "children's SERVICE," but what I clearly heard at the time, and what I distinctly remember, was children's CIRCUS.   However, I soon found myself sitting with Kenny and his father in a large, somber room, the temple, full of men in talluses, before a grim bearded man who droned on for hours. The thing is, though, it certainly wasn't a "children's" service; it was the full-fledged, hard core adult variety.  And it went on.  And on.  Do you know what the attention span and patience of a seven-year-old boy is?  Well let me tell you:  it was an eternity.  And not only that, but the one time I managed to slip out to use the bathroom, I found to my horror that the water fountains had been shut off!  My parched throat!  The thing was endless.  And the irony of it is, I kept hoping for that circus.  At any moment, I thought, a whistle would blow, and elephants would come marching in. That never happened.  After several hours of the most defeating, numbing boredom I'd experienced and never saw again before going to law school, we went home, for the afternoon break -- not to eat lunch, of course, but to rest before returning for the afternoon.  I came running up to my door with tears streaming down my face.  "You said there was going to be children's circus!"  I charged.  My mother dried my tears and made me a big plate of Chef-Boy-Ar-Dee canned ravioli.

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