Choose Your Own Adventure With Jewish Grandparents
You’ve come down to Florida to introduce your new girlfriend to your grandparents. The drive to their condo in Boca Raton from Fort Lauderdale airport is half an hour. On the way there, you prep your girlfriend for what lays ahead, making sure to mention your grandfather’s glaucoma and hearing aids.
→If your girlfriend’s name is Christine skip to page 20.
→If your girlfriend’s name is Sarah skip to page 2.
You and Sarah arrive in Boca Raton around lunch time, and you’re both hungry from the flight. Something about those Terra Blue Chips just didn’t do it for you. Maybe next time you won’t fly Jetblue.
→If you stop for lunch before going up to the condo, skip to page 19.
→If you head straight up to the condo, skip to page 4.
→If you stop to pick up takeout and then head to the condo, skip to page 3.
Like the nice Jewish girl that she is, Sarah reminds you to call your grandparents first to see if they want anything to eat. Isn’t it strange, you think, she sounds just like my mother.
→If you call them, skip to page 5.
→If you ignore Sarah and just get takeout for yourselves, skip to page 6.
You arrive at the condo just before 4pm. When you knock at the door you hear shouting in Yiddish. Half clothed, your grandma Marlene opens the door and yells “David! You look so big!”
→If you tell your Grandma that you haven’t grown at all, skip to page 7.
→If you tell your Grandma that she also looks “so big,” skip to page 8.
You call your grandparents condo. Grandpa Richie answers and asks for two lobster tacos with “extra sour cream.” “Make sure they put it in the small containers. Your grandma likes those,” he says. Of course he does.
→If you purposefully “forget” to get the extra sour cream, skip to page 10.
→If you listen to your ungrateful grandfather and do as he asks, skip to page 9.
You show up to the condo with two baskets of chicken fingers for you and Sarah. When Grandpa Richie opens the door he exclaims “What? You’re good for nothing. You didn’t bring us food? Back in Minsk if your grandson didn’t bring you food it was acceptable to kill him.”
→If you apologize and give your own dinner to Grandpa Richie, skip to page 11.
→If you insist everyone just forgets about it and goes to the pool, skip to page 14.
After telling your Grandma that you haven’t grown, she insists you try on Grandpa Richie’s tuxedo from their wedding, “just in case you and this Sarlene girl get married.”
→If you try on the tux, skip to page 15.
→If you refuse to try on the tux, and instead ask to sit in the living room, skip to page 12.
After the inadvertent comment on Grandma Marlene’s weight, Grandpa Richie berates you: “You come into our condo and talk about your Grandma this way? I should have you paraded around shul in a tutu.” Your grandma calms him down before asking if you’d like to go to the pool (“it’s heated,” she reminds you).
→If you go down to the pool, skip to page 14.
→If you don’t go to the pool, skip to page 12.
You show up to the condo with two baskets of chicken fingers for you and Sarah and two lobster tacos for your grandparents. When Grandpa Richie opens the door he exclaims “Where’s the sour cream?” before he even hugs you or Sarah.
→If you give Grandpa Richie the food, turn to page 11.
→If you insist everyone eats right away, turn to page 12.
You show up to the condo with two baskets of chicken fingers for you and Sarah and two lobster tacos for your grandparents. Just as Grandpa Richie opens the door you yell “Oh shit, I forgot the sour cream.” Grandpa Richie responds by telling you that you have a “small schmekel.”
→If you snap back at him, skip to page 26.
→If you let the comment go and instead suggest everyone goes to the pool, skip to page 14.
Grandpa Richie puts the food in the fridge “for later, so Lester and I can share it over a game of solitaire.” Lester is Grandpa Richie’s close friend from two condoes over.
→If you take the food back out of the fridge and start eating it, skip to page 16.
→If you curse Grandpa Richie out, skip to page 26.
Everyone heads to the living room. Sarah sits first, and your grandparents quickly swoop down on either side of her like vultures. “So tell us,” your grandma says. “What does your father do?”
→If you answer for Sarah, skip to page 17.
→If you let Sarah answer, skip to page 13.
Sarah responds truthfully, telling your grandparents that her father is actually a rabbi. In the midst of explaining this, she drops in that her mother isn’t actually Jewish.
→If you accept defeat, skip to page 24.
→If you try to deescalate the situation by now suggesting that everyone goes to the pool, skip to page 14.
You take the elevator down to the pool, where you notice that the whole place smells as if Gefilte Fish started its own hospital. On the way down, your Grandma reminds you for the 100th time that the “pool is heated.” When you arrive, your grandpa gives the poolboy a light tap on the butt, explaining “he doesn’t mind.”
→If you tell Grandpa Richie what he did is wrong, skip to page 18.
→If you let it slide, skip to page 29.
You try on the tux and discover miraculously that it fits. Filled with newfound confidence — and somehow overcoming the smell of decades old mothballs — you propose to Sarah right in your grandparents’ living room.
→If you really want Sarah to say yes, skip to page 21.
→If you secretly want Sarah to say no, skip to page 21.
When Grandpa Richie sees you eating the food he just put in the fridge, he tells you “Ah forget about it. I’m going to the pool. You can kiss my tuchus.”
→If you follow Grandpa Richie to the pool, skip to page 14.
→If you insist he stay and you all chat in the living room, skip to page 12.
Knowing that this is perhaps the most important moment of your life, you lie: “He’s a doctor. A doctor and a lawyer actually. He does both,” you say.
→If, realizing your grandparents will certainly approve of Sarah now, you on a whim offer to try on that old tux, turn to page 15.
→If, discovering that your work is done, you suggest everyone goes to the pool, skip to page 14.
While explaining the nuances of non-consensual touching to your Grandpa, he slips and falls on his hip. “Oy Gevalt,” your Grandma yells.
→If you call 911, turn to page 22.
→If you help him to a lounge chair, turn to page 23.
After a mediocre lunch at Captain Hook’s Seafood House, which took far too long for a glorified salad bar, you arrive at the condo just before 5pm. Sadly, you just missed your grandparents, who already left for the early bird special at The Flamingo Steakhouse. Oh well, guess you’ll have to visit next year.
Realizing that your grandparents will never accept a non-Jewish partner for you, you pull a U-turn on the highway, drop your girlfriend at the airport, and head to South Beach to look for a Bat-Mitzvahed replacement. Why you make such sacrifices for them you’ll never know.
Sarah says no.
→If, heartbroken, you admit to your grandparents that it isn’t actually Sarah’s mom who’s Jewish, but her dad, turn to page 24.
→If you don’t know what to do, turn to page 23.
Paramedics arrive, and as it so happens, one of them is Lester’s (from two condoes over) grandson Barry.
→If you pretend not to know Barry, skip to page 25.
→If you give Barry a warm greeting, skip to page 27.
Realizing that your patience for Florida has just about reached its limit, you return to the airport and board the first flight back to New York.
In a state of shock, your Grandparents ask that you leave. You and Sarah share an awkward taxi back to the airport and flight home.
Feeling shunned, Barry refuses to care for Grandpa Richie.
→If, realizing that now is the time for Tikun Olam, you decide to stay and care for your grandpa, skip to page 28.
→If you’re done, skip to page 23.
Grandpa Richie calls condo security on you, which is actually just two slightly less old condo residents. They escort you outside, where you and Sarah take a taxi to the airport and fly back to New York.
Barry is so happy to be remembered by you that he completely forgets to care of Grandpa Richie, who, in the ensuing chaos, passes away.
→If you volunteer to host the shiva back in New York, skip to page 28.
→If you refuse to host the shiva, skip to page 23.
Despite all your hard work throughout life, Grandpa Richie is gone. While at the shiva back home, you retell the story of your and Sarah’s visit with Grandpa Richie and Grandma Marlene.
→If you tell the part about Grandpa Richie slapping the poolboy’s butt, skip to page 29.
→If you leave out the part about Grandpa Richie slapping the poolboy’s butt, skip to page 30.
You go to Jewish hell.
You go to Jewish heaven.