I recently heard a psychologist discussing the end of "Seinfeld" and its probable impact on society. To a certain segment of society, this will be a huge loss, akin to Elvis' induction into the Army, the breakup of the Beatles or the death of Dr. Seuss.
Now hordes of "Seinfeld" fans will suffer the classic symptoms of depression and grief over the demise of their favorite TV sitcom. Support groups will spring up, with the bereaved searching for a way to fill the void.Now I like "Seinfeld" as much as anyone (meaning I don't take calls during the show), but I'm confident that I'll be able to carry on. After all, if I survived the end of "The Golden Girls," I can handle anything. What I am bitter about, however, is that now I'll never have the chance to see my "real life" experiences turned into "Seinfeld" episodes, something I'd been fixing to do just as soon as I got caught up on the laundry.
Like the time my father's boss and his wife came for dinner. My mother, a bad cook on a good day, prepared stuffed trout - the very trout that my father had caught on a fishing trip with the aforementioned boss. Despite the media spin that it was "supposed to be cold," everyone knew at first bite that my mother had neglected to turn on the oven and so the fish was, in fact, raw.
Having come for dinner before, the guests weren't a bit surprised and happily ate the pizza that soon materialized.
I thought that was a pretty funny episode, but an even more Seinfeldian one was my grandfather's funeral.
When my grandfather died, nobody laughed. He was extremely well-liked ("the man's a saint!"), and his passing saddened many people. Grief descended with a vengeance. Among the most audible mourners was my grandmother, who wailed loudly and unceasingly, "Forget him, he's dead already! What will become of me?" Which caused my mother to take to her bed with a sedative, while my father and everyone else sat around weeping.
Somehow, even though I was barely out of my teens, I was put in charge of the proceedings. Since it was the first funeral I was "doing" and I had less than 24 hours in which to do it (Jews get in the ground fast - it's the same mentality that makes us put the potato salad back in the refrigerator immediately, so it shouldn't spoil) - I worried that I'd make some horrible mistake and ruin my grandfather's funeral, which would have killed him, I'm sure.
Arriving at the funeral home on the big day, I watched the arrival of family and friends with relief, since it meant I had gotten the time and place right in the obituary listing. I watched as they wheeled in my grandfather's casket, placing it amid the dozens of beautiful flowers I had ordered. Bracing myself for my last goodbye, I approached the coffin and was shocked instead to find a much younger man, not my grandfather at all!
Running around frantically, I finally located the funeral home director and breathlessly babbled the news: "That's not my grandfather in there! It's a whole other dead person!"
"Calm down, dear," he said, patting me on the shoulder comfortingly. "Everyone says they look so different in death, that's a typical response."
"But this is different. My grandfather was 78! We got some guy who's about 40."
"You know, some people do actually look younger in death."
"Thirty years younger? And his hair turned black, is that possible?" I yelled. Just then, a scream was heard from a chapel down the hall, as a young widow discovered my grandfather in her husband's coffin. (I wondered if she was, at that very moment, being told how death made people look older.) After a brief flurry of casket-wheeling, things proceeded normally. However, I never got over it, and to this day I have no friends in the funeral business.
Between my grandfather's funeral, my cousin Betsy's wedding, my Uncle Lefty's kidnapping and my first marriage, I've had plenty to laugh about. I'm sure I'll be fine on Thursday nights - after all, "Seinfeld" may be off the air, but my memories play on and on.