Rarely do my two adulthoods (one married/one not), overlap. When they do, as they did just Monday, well … to place it in poker parlance: I’m on “tilt”.

It is a curious paradox knowing you are welcomed yet not feeling at home. No one’s fault, really–certainly not the hosts. Still…

“Bobby would get it”, I told myself after minutes at the bris. Mingling pre-slice, smiling the smiles, shaking the hands I well knew: Bobby would get it. If my buddy was there he’d pat my shoulder, ask me “Why do you care?”, and understand.

Ed. Note 1: Only marginally is it an overstatement to say I’d take a bullet for the Mandels. The fibers of our friendship rooted with Harriet and Elaine back at Glenville, strengthened with Booey, Dooey, H & B at Brush, and nurture still through our Fab Five raised in Beachwood. The fidelity of fellowship has been undeterred by changes in time, temperament, divorce or geography. Indeed, it is a beautiful beat that goes on.

Still there I was Monday, mixing in a sea of faces from days of my matrimony. Many, in the two decades since The Great Divide, have considered me traif. I know that. And yet, do I not relish happenstance when we’re in the same place and some of these folks shift their angles geometrically to avoid sharing greetings?

Ed. Note 2: Being the ex-husband in a Beachwood divorce, even if you’ve previously held favor, is like being losing candidate in a run for the presidency. Anybody invite Mike Dukakis to dinner lately?  How about Robert Dole?

Yes, there I was, alone in a crowd of nice people, some of whom, frankly, have feigned knowing me since Clinton first “didn’t have sexual relations with that woman”….”.

I saw one mumser. From temple, Beachwood, and even JNF I’d known him. We’d socialized, in fact, as couples. Back then.

“He doesn’t like you,” Linick told me (late 90’s).
“Why not?” I’d asked.
“Nothing major. He just thinks you’re a jerk”.

So there he was in the vestibule of the shul, working the room. “Fuck it,” I figured. “I’ll say hello.” (Not that I was trying to be polite, not that I was trying to do the right thing. Au contraire! I wanted to see the worm squirm. No more, no less).

Barely concealing my spit-eating grin I walked ‘cross the room.

And then. And then…two things happened, contemporaneously, that have since led me to believe it just wasn’t meant to be:

1. Fenton cut in, sidetracking me with a query only Stuart could muster:

“B,” he asked, “How many people have you ever known named Horace?” (This was his subtle homage to the recent death of the widow of a Brush teacher, one Horace Ebersole).


2. The clown I was approaching … in one clear motion, pivoted dramatically and went the other way. (Did he see me coming? I’m not sure. But I do know they should have called “Travelling”).

Ed. Note 3: I really didn’t care. The guy turned so fast .. I think I saw him limping later. I’m thinking he may have pulled a

The ritual of the Bris, of course, was beautiful. Passing the infant from the loving hands of one generation to the tender mitts of another, my friends honored the sacred covenant entered into years ago sustaining our faith to yet a next generation.

I sat there as the baby passed. Watching the blanketed beauty I thought to Max and Eli, and to their beginnings.

The rabbi spoke (or was it the mohel?). His hochme, his Bible tale as you will, was moving and right on point.

I thought again of my grandchildren. Sitting in the chapel…listening… I thought of their being out of town….and how beautiful their Bris’s had been… how we’d passed each boy from generation to generation.

I thought again of steadfast Bobby… and his grandkids, (some of whom are out of town).

I welled up a bit as the prayers continued.

And all the while I was thinking: Bobby would get this too.

2 Responses to “THE INVISIBLE MAN”

  1. Stuart says:

    Hey. Not so invisible. I saw you and could see you were up to something. Enjoy the ride and always listen to Bobby.

  2. bob snyder says:

    I would’ve said why do you care?

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