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Tuesday, October 10, 2006


In the interest of being a good neighbor I have avoided any mention of a certain couple since the great beehive wars of 2005

Seeing as it is only a few days after Yom Kippur one would think I would continue with that trend. 

But one would be mistaken.

There is a basketball hoop in the courtyard outside our garden gate where many of the neighborhood kids (including ours) gather to play ball.  The location (OK, the very existance) of the basketball hoop caused a bit of a flap a few months back, so in the interest of appeasing certain elderly [read: difficult] neighbors, the parents of all the children who use the hoop got together and agreed on specific hours when kids could - and couldn't - play. 

That should have been that.

However, kids being kids... they sometimes stop dribbling a few moments after 2:00PM... and toss a few anticipatory baskets a second or two before 4:00PM.  It doesn't happen often... but it does happen.

This elderly couple must sit by the door staring at the second hand on the clock... waiting for such violations of the neighborhood playtime treaty, because every single time this happens, one (or both) of them springs from their front door like a jack-in-the-box, screaming at the offending kid(s).

Well, the other day a young boy from the neighborhood committed the cardinal sin of actually bouncing a basketball 30 seconds before four o'clock, and suddenly found himself being roundly harrangued by an indignant elderly woman.

So there she was... hands on hips... screaming down at this little kid (in Hebrew),  "Don't you know it's forbidden to play between two and four?!"   [Ata lo yodeah sh'asur lisacheik bein shtayim l'arbah?!"]

The little kid stood there like a deer in the headlights, not knowing what to say... but finally responded plaintively, "But I'm not between two and four... I'm six!" [Aval ani lo bein shtayim l'arbah... ani ben sheysh!"]

Do you remember that scene at the end of 'How the grinch stole Christmas' where the grinch's heart, which had been "two sizes too small" grows and swells, and finally bursts the frame of the window through which we are viewing it... and then he returns the sled full of toys to Whoville, and everyone lives happily ever after?  Do you???

Well this was nothing like that.


She was so shocked by his response that she stood and glared at this little kid for a full minute, unable to think of anything else to scream at him.  Apparantly this sweet little boy's innocent misunderstanding of her rant completely threw her off her game. 

In frustration, she finally just turned around and stormed back into her house.

I may buy that kid ice cream and krembo for the rest of his life.


Posted by David Bogner on October 10, 2006 | Permalink


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I just read your history with this couple and also about East and West Turdistan's brave conquering by the Foreign Legions. I don't think I've read a series of more funny blog posts. Thanks for the funny diversion!

Maybe you could sign the couple up to receive information from the local old folks home, if there is such a thing in Israel.

Posted by: Fern | Oct 10, 2006 12:00:11 PM

♥ !

(the Grinchens sound like our old neighbours from ages ago...brrrrr)

Posted by: Account Deleted | Oct 10, 2006 12:03:08 PM

Fern... Thank you for the compliment. Unfortunately, I have good material with which to work. :-) As to the neighbors... my lovely wife has so far prevented me from dropping off brochures from the local 'Batei Avot' (old age homes). I imagine I would probably have been thrown in jail years ago without her calming influence and prevailing common sense. :-)

a. ... I thought this might resonate with you (both because of the neighbor issue and because of the funny Hebrew exchange)

Posted by: treppenwitz | Oct 10, 2006 12:08:55 PM

hahahaha...ah trepp...'for the rest of his life'...great post as ususal...i hope i never turn into one of those krotchety old people...but as the 2,000 year old man said...'we mock the things we are to be'...maybe i should start eating krembo now...hmmmmmm

Posted by: marallyn | Oct 10, 2006 1:13:29 PM

I wished I could have seen the look on her face! Why can't the kids play between 2pm & 4pm?

Posted by: seawitch | Oct 10, 2006 1:52:59 PM

Dave, your restraint is admirable. Perhaps, one day, the kids should stop at 2 and the adults should play from 2-4. THAT would be priceless!

Posted by: val | Oct 10, 2006 2:17:18 PM


Posted by: Ezzie | Oct 10, 2006 2:44:22 PM

... and so all the Who's in Whoville gathered 'round the Grinch and began beaning her with basketballs until she and her evil consort retreated into their cave, never to be seen or heard of again.

(It's a fairy tale, okay?)

Posted by: Bob | Oct 10, 2006 3:44:52 PM

That kid is destined for greatness.

Did you know Prozac comes as a syrup too? And you can take it once a week. I think the neighbors require half a bottle each in their morning cream of wheat (or whatever the equivalent old fogey breakfast is in Israel). Risperdal comes in a liquid too. It all depends if you'd like them more cheerful in about a month, or profoundly sedated today.

Posted by: Doctor Bean | Oct 10, 2006 4:31:13 PM

How cute!

That old couple sounds so stereotypical... and I can't understand, why is it that so many people when they get to retire and live stress-free lives for their enjoyment, becomes so cranky and intolerant? : (

Posted by: Irina | Oct 10, 2006 4:57:42 PM

You know what would help, you ought to build a woodshop right next to the basketball court.

You could explain to this lovely couple that the children are building a nice soundproof wall for their enjoyment.

As an alternative might I suggest conducting trombone practice somewhere near the hoop.

Old people do love their music.

Posted by: Jack | Oct 10, 2006 5:22:55 PM

Better yet, why not give them one of these lovely pillows.

Posted by: Jack | Oct 10, 2006 5:24:36 PM

Great idea, Jack.

Posted by: val | Oct 10, 2006 5:24:44 PM

Priceless! Why did they decide to live in a kid-centered community if they hate children?

Posted by: Essie | Oct 10, 2006 5:38:00 PM

don't you love how literal kids are? That is such a great story. I vote for Jack's idea...trombone's sound best between 2 and 4.

Posted by: cruisin-mom | Oct 10, 2006 5:48:32 PM

So what was the upshot with the fake beehive? How far did it play out?

Posted by: Scott | Oct 10, 2006 6:01:03 PM


Oh, I love children. As long as they're someone else's, that is. ;)

Posted by: matlabfreak | Oct 10, 2006 6:18:39 PM

out of the mouth of babes.


Posted by: weese | Oct 10, 2006 6:47:00 PM

LOL - that's priceless. What a great story.

Posted by: jaime | Oct 10, 2006 11:56:10 PM

Marallyn... Never too early or late to eat krembo.

Seawitch... Many mediterranean cultures have an official 'siesta' period in the afternoon when businesses close and people nap. This is still a part of Israeli culture although it is less so now than it was 20 years ago. However, many municipalities still have an unofficial quiet rule between 2 and 4.

Val... the 2 to 4 rule is for kids of all ages.

Ezzie... =:~>

Bob... I like your ending just fine.

Doctor Bean... First of all, thank you for once again coming through with a killer comment. I didn't mind cleaning the diet coke off my screen one bit! As to your question... I'll go with profoundly sedated, thanks.

Irina... I'm told they weren't much fun when they were younger either.

Jack... LOL! Brilliant... I honestly hadn't thought of that. I'm thinking I'm going to change the room I practice in... and the time.

Essie... Because it's all about them.

Cruisin' mom... Not between 2 and 4, but I have a feeling they go to bed early.

Scott... A post for another day. Trust me.

Matlabfreak... Aw, big talker. I'll bet you end up raising a brood of little geeks. :-)

Weese... The kid in the so try is a really clean-cut, polite child so it was doubly funny that it came from him and not one of the fresh kids in the neighborhood.

Jaime... Thanks... I'm blessed with great material. :-)

Posted by: treppenwitz | Oct 11, 2006 12:13:51 AM

I second Scott's request. I want to hear the end of the beehive story.
Not still concerned about your halo, are you?

Posted by: Brutus | Oct 11, 2006 4:32:25 AM

wow, that was rich...

i hope your sukkos is going great. cant wait to come for shabbos some time soon.

Posted by: Tonny | Oct 11, 2006 10:55:13 AM

That was a great story - I told it to my daughter and she loved it too - I think it had never occured to her that you could tell a joke in Hebrew that wouldn't work in English!

Posted by: Shifra | Oct 11, 2006 3:29:25 PM

Brutus... In time. Every story needs the correct time and place. That one is still to raw for the retelling (although I think you'll enjoy the ending). :-)

Tonny... Looking forward to it.

Shifra... True it worked better in Hebrew, but it was still cute even translated into English.

Posted by: treppenwitz | Oct 12, 2006 10:40:41 AM

Just read the Beehive Wars entry. Priceless. You should have their photographs put next to the definition of jerks in the dictionary.

Posted by: Avner | Oct 12, 2006 11:10:07 AM

Made my night. Adorable story....now get off my lawn!!

Posted by: mcaryeh | Nov 5, 2006 6:27:41 AM

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