A rare Friday early afternoon in Fair Lawn yesterday afforded the opportunity to cruise over to Cedar Lane for a quick perusal of the new arrival section at Judaica House before closing time. Greeting the store’s patrons at the entrance way is this handsome display celebrating 50 years of classic jokes from The Jewish Press (no relation).
Loosely translated, Abi Gezunt means “As long as you have your health”. As we age that’s no longer just a punchline to a joke, but in the days when Arnold Fine first started to write his gems for the back page of the Jewish Press they were simply delightful pieces we looked forward to each week. Abi Gezunt! served as the perfect complement to Fine’s “I Remember When” sweet nostalgia pieces.
My father, a gifted kibitzer and story teller in his own right, always enjoyed Fine’s sense of humor. Were my father still alive, I’d take a drive over to his apartment and share some of the selections in this Fine collection. So in his memory, here a few oldies but goodies …
The four partners, Tim Murphy, Pat Healy, Jim McKeon and Abe Goldberg had signed a business agreement that should any of them pass away, each would deposit $500 in the grave with the deceased, so that he may venture into another business in the world beyond. It might have been a silly agreement, but the men went along with the idea. Sure enough, as it must come to all men, Tim Murphy passed on. Following the funeral service, each of the partners passed in front of the casket and carried out their obligation. First, Pat Healy paused, said a silent prayer, and placed five crisp $100 bills on the coffin. Then Jim McKeon walked over, lowered his eyes and placed $500 in small bills on the coffin. Then Abe Goldberg approached, wrote out a check for $1,500, laid it on the coffin and took $1,000 change.
A wealthy old timer passed way and a short time later, the family gathered for the reading of the will. “To my wife, I leave all my money and my house.” the lawyer solemnly read. “To my sons and daughters, I leave the new cars and all of my books.” “And to my brother-in-law, who always kept saying, ‘Health is better than wealth’, I leave my sunlamp.”
An apartment house in the Bronx had been robbed so many times that the tenants formed a protection committee that decided to erect a sign. It read: “NOTICE TO THIEVES – YOU’RE TOO LATE. THESE PREMISES HAVE BEEN ROBBED AND THERE’S NOTHING OF VALUE LEFT TO TAKE”. Two days later, somebody stole the sign.
An out-of-towner stops by a shul and asks if anyone there knows the shul’s president, Seymour Rabinowitz. One man walks forward and says, “Rabinowitz? That scoundrel? That crook? That no-goodnik?” The stranger, aghast, asks, “How come you know so much about him?” The old-timer smiled. “How come? Because I’m his best friend!”
It was a dark, dreary night. The wind was howling and the sky was overcast. Sarah couldn’t sleep. Suddenly, there was a bolt of lightning that lit up the sky. The figure of a burglar was outlined in the window. “Shloimy! There’s a burglar standing by the window!” Stirring slowly, Sholimy stared bleary eyed through his sleep and spied the burglar and his tools just outside the window. “Sh-h-h-h-“, he cautioned. “Don’t scare him. Maybe he can get the window up. That’s the one we couldn’t get open since the painters left!”
An American old timer went to Israel to tour the land. He stepped into one of the Israeli taxis and asked to be take to some of the historic points of interest. The driver took him to a variety of spots and as they were coming down a large mountain, suddenly the cab begins to gain speed. “Slow down, please,” the American pleaded. “I can’t” shouted back the taxi driver, “The brakes are gone.” “Then for heaven’s sake,” shouted the American, “At least turn off the meter!”
Somebody finally figured out how an American could make a small fortune in Israel. You come with a large one!