Nora Ephron’s “Heartburn” came highly recommended. Although, the novel on the whoel was just about OK, Ephron had moments where she was just so bitingly fierce and funny at the same time, it made me yearn for more. It makes perfect sense to call hers a rapier wit. I believe she got most of her ammunition from divorcing her ex-husband(s), the most recent of whom apparently had an affair behind her back.
In this book, she couples the story of her heroine, who’s a cookbook author, with her loser husband who’s got a wife and mistress and wants to keep both, and her recipes, homilies and just candid observations. And just so I don’t forget these passages which make me laugh everytime I read them, no matter that I pretty much know what it’s about etc., I am going to archive some of the choicest on a 2 part post.
The first is dedicated to the crowning jewel of the book : The Jewish Prince routine. This routine is one by the main protagonist Rachel Samstat, and is about ways in which to recognize if the man before you is indeed a prince. In this passage, Ephron does all womankind a big service, since amazingly most cultures have their own princes, and the ability to recognize one is indeed a true gift. Replace Jewish with Indian, or American or Brazilian, and it would still be true.
Well, I dither no more, and present to you (in part):
Rachel Samstat’s Jewish Prince Routine
You know what a Jewish prince is, don’t you ?
(Cocks her eyebrow)
If you don’t, there’s an easy way to recognize one. A simple sentence. “Where’s the butter?”
(A long pause here, because the laugh starts slowly and build)
Okay. We all know where the butter is, don’t we?
(A little smile)
The butter is in the refrigerator.
The butter is in the refrigerator in the little compartment in the door marked “Butter”.
But the Jewish prince doesn’t mean “Where’s the butter?” He means “Get me the butter.” He’s too clever to say “Get me” so he says “Where’s.”
And if you say to him –
“in the refrigerator”—
(Resume normal voice)
And he goes to look, an interesting thing happens, a medical phenomenon that has not been sufficiently remarked upon.
The effect of the refrigerator light on the male cornea.
(a long beat)
“I don’t see it anywhere.”