Ladies and Geetles of the congregation, you may be seated.
It is true, what you have heard. I, King of Jewish Baseball, after many years in exile, recently returned to Cleveland, city of my upbringing, to be inducted into the Shaker Heights High School Hall of Fame, a great institution. Think Cooperstown, but more important. Ah yes, Cleveland, C-town, the Land, great shining city on a river, that caught fire, once, a long time ago, we won’t talk about that, a city built for millions, and occupied by nearly several thousand, a city that will steal your heart, and your wallet, denying both, returning neither.
I traveled to Cleveland in a machine called an airplane they sent to ensure my safe passage. Upon entering the city, I noticed the streets were lined with stray dogs to celebrate my return. They had also boarded up all the windows of the houses to prevent any damage the ensuing party would surely cause. I was, after all, a unanimous first ballot inductee.
The Hall of Fame was nice. There were chandeliers and food. They said my name into a microphone several times, and I was permitted to speak. But, to my amazement, at the conclusion of the evening, they asked me, along with everyone else, to leave. I had my things and had begun to unpack when it was explained to me that I and my fellow inductees of the class of 5777 would not be living out the remainder of our lives together in the Hall of Fame, and that the Hall of Fame was not even a real place, and that we were in a country club that had been rented for the night. I was disappointed, to say the least. They foolishly assumed that we all had “jobs” and “homes”, and more, that we had achieved some level of stability or monetary success with our various accomplishments and contributions to humanity. But you know what they say about assumptions…. they’re almost always right.
We were a food writer, a comedian, a mathematician, a drummer, a CEO, a doctor, an activist, and a King of Jewish Baseball. We were different ages, races, and lived in different places. We had almost nothing in common besides the unavoidable truth that we had all, at one point, attended Shaker Heights High School. And now we were forever bound by the cosmos, and the committee of people in charge. We had one magical evening together, and breakfast the next day, of course, I am, after all, a gentleman.
My friends in Cleveland asked me what I am going to do now. I looked at them with disgust. What were they going to do was the question. I’m in the Hall of Fame. I will live out my days basking in the glory of recognition, wandering the corridors of a hall that does not exist. That’s what I am going to do.
Thank you, thank you, thank you to the Shaker Heights High School Alumni Hall of Fame.
It was an honor and a privilege.
To hear about all of the things, check the Podcast below…