Purim, Revisited: Excerpt from the notebook of Mrs. Faigy Kurlansky

I don’t know what came over me this year, but it’s leil Purim, and I’m not running around like a chicken without a head. It’s leil Purim, and because I planned ahead, I have everything under control.

Me. Everything.

The menu is not only written but cooked. All I have left is the cake for dessert. The costumes are purchased, the mishloach manos are made, complete with ribbons, and I even wrote the poem. I wrote the poem! For the first time in my life, I’m like those people—you know, those people who don’t sometimes walk out of the house and get into the car and go all the way to work and then get back home before realizing that they are wearing two shoes, which is good, but they are not the same shoes, which is bad. Those people who seem to know this season’s fashions before the stores are even stocked; those people who bake challah every Thursday afternoon while their children play happily and quietly at their feet; those people who do not quickly throw everything on the kitchen counter into the oven, but can and do happily welcome surprise visitors because their houses are always clean and their sinks are never full of dishes, and they have cake they can whip out of the freezer and serve. Magical people whom I do not resent at all because we all have our own strengths, even if Hashem saw fit to give me, as my strength, the ability—nay, the gift—of buying something the day before it goes on sale. In essence, follow me around, because I can predict sales.

Anyway, where was I? Oh, yes, patting myself on the back, which sounded a lot like the opposite, so let me get back on track and back to the back-patting, because this year, I did it.

I said to myself: Self, do you want to stay up until five in the morning the night before Purim because you’re still curling ribbons and the ribbons won’t curl? Or because Riva’s costume needs to be hemmed and Yitzy’s doesn’t have a hat and Yossi’s costume doesn’t come with a sword like it showed on the packaging, and so, using a combination of aluminum foil and desperation, you are molding him one as the sun comes up, and meanwhile, back in the kitchen, the soup burns, which is a very, very hard thing for soup to do when it started out in a ten-gallon pot?

No, my self answered. I do not want that to happen. That all sounds terrible. Plus, I’ve done all that. It’s time for something new.

And so I did the unthinkable. I planned ahead. I planned everything ahead, and I carried out my plans, down to the very last detail. The very. Last. Detail.

The bottom line is that it’s worth it! It really is! It’s worth it to plan Purim far in advance, because now, the night before Purim, I get to sit back, relax, and pat myself on the back.


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