Mort Laitner
Mort Laitner

The Wicked Son Discusses Ben and Jerry’s

We sit at the kitchen table for dinner and our wicked son is tearing through a talking jag.

His mouth, lips and tongue can’t stop moving.

I hardly get a chance to break in and say a few words.

But his brain is in a state of brain freeze.

It is as if he had just finished a half vanilla and half chocolate custard at Dairy Queen.

We know he’s looking to get a rise out of us.

We know how much he loves getting a rise out of us.

We know he loves verbally fighting with us, raising our blood pressures and making our stomachs turn.

It is his job, his duty and his responsibility.

Why, because he is our wicked son.

So, we look into each other’s eyes and ask, “Is this why we had children?”

“Mom, Dad I got a great idea, for next Passover. On our Seder table, I think we should add two more cups next to Elijah’s wine glass.”

“Why, son?”

“Well, they’re not ordinary porcelain or glass cups.

No Magen Davids painted or carved into their bodies.

They’re made of thick paper.

Well, I might as well be more specific. They’re two empty Ben and Jerry’s pint-size ice cream containers.”

“What flavors?” I ask.

“Dad, cut the sarcasm. It doesn’t matter what flavors were in those containers. What matters is that they must be Ben and Jerry’s. One cup honoring Ben and the other honoring Jerry.”

“Pray tell, why Ben and Jerry’s?”

“Because they’re Jewish heroes. They love Palestinians more than their fellow Jews. They’re willing to stick their necks out for a cause. They don’t care about Israel’s security. All they want is peace, love and for people to eat ice cream. They’re a couple of idealists. They’re all about freedom. And Passover is all about freedom. Therefore, they deserve a space on the Seder table. Let’s fill the pint containers with Manichewitz, so that when Elijah enters our house he’ll have even more wine to drink.

My blood pressure rises to a level where I feel a headache coming on. My stomach flips and flops like a live carp in a kitchen sink. My stomach acids climb my esophagus as if they’re trying to reach the summit of Everest. I feel like I’m about to puke.

“Dad, we can even say a prayer to Ben and Jerry. A blessing like—Thank you G-d for giving us two true friends. Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield, great makers of ice cream and Jews with a conscience. They’re not slaves to the propaganda coming out of Israel.

Dad, what does this boycott ritual of Ben and Jerry’s mean to us American Jews anyway?

It’s none of our business.”

“Yeah son, it is our business and with friends like Ben and Jerry, who needs enemies.”

“Well, here’s another idea I have for Passover, in each Haggadah we insert a Ben and Jerry’s gift card and or a two for one ice cream coupon, the ones with the promo codes.

We can also tape a gift card on to the afikoman, So when the lucky kid finds it, he or she will be super happy.”

“Over my dead body!” I scream.

“We’re never again serving or eating Ben and Jerry’s in this house.

Your ideas make me want to vomit.

Son, if you had been in Egypt with Moses you wouldn’t have been redeemed.

I think David Mamet would have said, ‘You and Ben and Jerry are trying to find acceptance in a liberal society antagonistic to Israel.’

That posture is intolerable and reprehensible.

Now let’s finish our meal in silence.”

About the Author
Florida's Jewish short-story writer, speaker, film producer and retired attorney. He has authored, "A Hebraic Obsession", "The Hanukkah Bunny" and "The Greatest Gift." He produced an award-winning short film entitled, "The Stairs". Movie can be viewed on my TOI blog. Mort is a correspondent for the Fort Lauderdale Sun Sentinel Jewish Journal.
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