Wednesday, June 20, 2007

The Tonight Show... not airing Tonight... or probably ever

I walked to and from Universal CityWalk today, a walk I haven't done in a couple of months, since the day of the blackout, and I noticed that they were filming Jaywalking for The Tonight Show in which participants were asked to display an unusual talent. Having so many regrets in my life in not taking certain opportunities and my apparent lack of shame, I decided to try out an unusual talent. Well, as I told the producer it was unusual and a talent, anyway. I told him I forget important things but soak up trivia like a sponge. I particularly have a savant ability that, if given a topic, I can think of specific prooftexts in the Old Testament (aka Hebrew Bible, but nobody knows WTF I would have been talking about. I was wearing a tzahal shirt, I think they know I'm Jewish, though I balanced it out with douche-bag aviator sunglasses that I had purchased a couple of minutes earlier, as well as my ever-present iPod in jogging-mode). Needless to say, it's not a talent I get asked to perform at many parties.

This "talent" is probably the result of attending Junior Congregation, my grandfather quizzing me when ever I talked to him on the phone ("Snakes!" was one he used on me a couple of years ago, the same topic on which he was tested at his Rabbinical School interview by Louis Ginzberg. My answers to him, by the way, included: Garden of Eden, Aaron's staff in the court of Pharaoh, the plague of asps at Baal Peor and the copper snake used to cure it, later destroyed by King Hezekiah in his attempt to combat idolatry). I also read random minor prophets and later writings when bored on Shabbos afternoons in Jerusalem seeing as none of the shuls did mincha.

Anyway, the producer said "Leviticus 4:17". "Well", I told him, "I usually do it the other way around", but let's do this Jeopardy style: I I immediately shot back, "priestly sacrifices -- but that's a cop-out as the entire book is sacrifices. Wait, specifically it is about the inauguration of the desert Temple-thingy , The Tabernacle" possibly stuff about putting oil and blood on thumbs and big toes of the priests. (NOTE: Upon looking it up later, I was damn close: "4:17 "And the priest shall dip his finger in the blood, and sprinkle it seven times before the LORD, in front of the veil." -JPS).

Anyway, he said I was right. I asked him how he knew I was right. He said that he was at Bnai Mitzvah last year and this is the subject the kids were talking about. It also happens to be something, according to him, that was mentioned by Father Mulcahy on M*A*S*H. I didn't know whether to be more impressed that this guy knew this bit of trivia or the fact that someone would mention this passage on a sitcom. I had a long conversation with this producer, stepped in front of the microphone, and the PA asked me to sign a release form, though the producer said that he doesn't know what he could do with the footage. Much like parties, the American public just isn't interested in savant abilities to reference the Bible, though he wanted me to recall other things, such as episode titles of Dukes of Hazzard (to which I responded would be quite a feat seeing as I have never seen the show). So this probably will never see the light of day, though he did want me to come up with other ideas because he liked me. I have another unusual hobby of learning dead or diminished languages like Phonetician, Proto-Canaanite, Akkadian, Babylonian Aramaic, and Yiddish, but I decided that that was stupid so I didn't mention it.

A photograph of my exploits, as of press, can be found as the new image on my facebook profile which is the closest that this talent will probably make to appearing on media in the near future.

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