Over the summer my mom, BubbeGoof, had a very big birthday. I won’t say how many – it wouldn’t be polite. But as a gift (because what do you get for the woman who has everything?) I vowed to stop making fun of her age. This has not been easy for me – but I have persevered. When GoofBoy had a project on Westward expansion I DID NOT tell him to call Bubbe and ask her about the Conestoga Wagons. When GoofGirl was learning about the Ice Age, I DID NOT tell her to call Bubbe and have them ask her about the weather when she was little.
They made those calls on their own initiative.
So we threw a big party for my mom. Friends and family were there and my brother and I prepared a presentation – some gentle schtick.
In the car ride up, the little Goofs announced that they wanted a role. MamaGoof suggested maybe they could give a short speech in Hebrew. No one else there would actually know Hebrew, so they could say anything, but it would be touching nonetheless.
The little Goofs wanted to do something lively, not just deliver some birthday greetings.
“OK,” I said, “This is one of the oldest sketch comedy bits in the book. GoofBoy, you will give a speech in Hebrew. I’ll translate.”
“Daddy, you don’t know any Hebrew,” GoofGirl pointed out.
“Right, that’s part of the joke – just listen. My translation will be part of the joke because it will obviously have nothing to do with the speech. Then, when I give the signal, you will push me out of the way and say, ‘My Daddy doesn’t know Hebrew! What my brother is really saying is…’ Got it?”
“OK,” the little Goofs nodded.
“When you do this bit, one of the jokes is the speaker will give a really long statement and the translator will just say a few words. Then, at another point the speaker will just say a few words and the translator will go on forever. It is an old bit, but it always works – I think Aristophanes used it. Got it?”
“We got!” the little Goofs affirmed.
“Good, because we’re here.”
We had a delightful birthday brunch. We brought a smile to BubbeGoof and her many friends. But most of all, the little Goofs nailed it! Almost no prep time and they did it perfectly!
Afterwards, we all went back to Bubbe's to swim at the condo pool. I told the little Goofs this was the after-party - where the real action happens.