BILL SMITH AND THE AZA

 

            In high school, there were very many people with very unique names. I will mention but three. None of them grew up to be in the movies, unless they changed their name to something odd. There was Gretchen Wildebeest, Alan Freeasthewind and lovely lovely Beverly Sobreandnewwoman. And then there was Bill Smith. 

           

            Bill was a very humorous boy. He was always telling jokes which were, unlike the majority of sitcoms, funny. 

           

            Bill had an excellent sense of humor. He knew more Knock Knock jokes than anyone I have ever known

                       

                        Bill: Knock knock  

                        You: Who's there? 

                        Bill: Flora!

                        You: Flora who?

                        Bill: It's flora clock in the morning, why are you bothering me? 

                       

           Ahh. Bill, you were the best.

                       

            One day Bill asked if I was going to come to his house to play some chess.  (I say chess because it makes me sound more smarter than I really am.)

                       

                        "No sorry, Bill, I have a meeting tonight!"

                       

                        "Oh? Where?"

 

                        "The AZA."

                       

                        As a young Jewish boy in Cincinnati, Ohio, in the Sixties, they did not have an Irgun requirement office, so it was necessary for us to become members of the American Zionists Association. Jews in the Sixties were never brainwashed into going to defend  the relatively new country of Israel. We were just taught that the new land was as ancient as many and any and had the most intelligent and judaic land of what some tried  to insult us with by  saying "Your land."  But it was the land of my fathers, and by little extenuation my people, the people I wanted to see survive after the great hitler (I refuse to capitalize that name) failed experiment. 

 

                        "The AZA," I repeated, and knew immediately that I should have said what AZA stood for. 

 

                        But Bill was already on a roll. "What does AZA stand for? The American Zombie Association?" 

 

                        I chuckled and said, "No, The American Zionist Association!"

                       

                        And to that Bill had no more smart aleck cracks.

 

                        Bill, my man, I have grown to have a bad memory. Well, I never had a decent one, but I promise you I will never forget that wise crack, and thus I will never forget you.

 

                        In my high school, people had names like Gretchen Gretshward and Harvey Dedframentsa, but Bill, I will never forget you. You wise-cracking man.

           

                        May you be in peace and may you have peace always.

 

                        American ZombiesÉ.Indeed.

 

 

© G. David Schwartz

 

Bio:  G. David Schwartz is the former president of Seedhouse, the online interfaith committee. Schwartz is the author of A Jewish  Appraisal of Dialogue and Midrash and Working Out Of The Book.   Currently a volunteer at the Cincinnati J, Schwartz continues to write. His newest book, Shards And Stanzas (Baltimore, PublishAmerica, 2012) is now in stores or can be ordered online. Names used are not those of real people.