Going Crackers! - Trying to buy Matzos in Alabama
“What am I doing?” - That was the thought that hit me while I was staring at a giant wall of crackers in Walmart. When working on a Cruise Ship, you gain a new appreciation for the little things, the toiletries, the everyday items that you take for granted on land. If you run out of shampoo you can’t simply pop to the shops. Embarkation day, the first day of a cruise, is manic. It is the one day of the cruise where you most likely to find yourself close to a supermarket but if you are lucky enough to get some time off, you are under some obligation to shop for at least 12 of your friends who are not.
The previous day, I had asked a rather attractive individual with a great sense of humour and a nice set of abs, if he wanted anything from the mall and he responded “Matzos”. It was March so I asked “When is Passover?” - Except I used the proper Hebrew word which I cannot spell but he was very impressed and possibly turned on. I knew Matzos was spelt differently to how it was pronounced but staring up at all the unfamiliar brands of crackers I couldn’t even see anything that started with an “M”. I asked some lady who worked there where I could locate it. She was one of those Southern Baptist types and she looked at me like I was a Martian. Don’t they have Jews inI didn’t even know he was Jewish at first, although, in retrospect, he did watch more Seinfeld than your average gentile. – That should have been a hint. His name was part of the problem, who names a Jewish kid after an apostle anyway? I can’t believe I wasted my South African Easter eggs on him! Sure, he would only ever be my second favourite Jew after Jesus, but our religious differences just didn’t seem like a good enough reason to break up with someone I wasn’t really dating in the first place. And this was it, the ultimate test of our ‘friend’ship so far. I started removing boxes from the shelves and checking the ingredients for leavening. - They all had effing leavening!
Back home I knew what Matzos looked like, I knew the branding and I knew where they stocked it in Pick ‘n Pay. I knew all of this because my father used to buy it. I have no idea why, it was about as tasteless as Provita and Provita was available all year round. I had now been in the cracker aisle for 45 minutes. It should not take 45 minutes to buy crackers! I scanned the shelves one more time in the other direction just in case I had missed something but …Nothing. That’s it. I had failed. It was over. In fact, not only had I ruined things between us, but I had ruined Passover forever. This would officially be the worst Passover since the original event. No more Seinfeld screenings in his cabin for me! It was too late to go to Target, there was nothing I could do but accept my fate. Our - whatever-it-was - was doomed to die like an Egyptian baby boy however many thousands of years ago and I was surely doomed to wander the desert of singleness for years to come.
I turned to grab some Goldfish (the most Christian of all the crackers) and I hung my head in shame as I left the biscuit section. Then, as I was proceeding towards the checkout aisle, like a burning bush, something caught my eye. It was a sign for Mexican food. Just next to it was the Indian section. Sure, ‘Jewish’ is a religion not so much a nationality, but based on the experiences I had had with their staff in this shop, I was uncertain that they knew that, and I was in
Alabama. I looked further and, sure enough, there was the ‘Kosher’ section, and there in the ‘Kosher’ section, like manna from heaven (too obvious a reference, I know), was Matzos - complete with the Star of David branding and everything! Thank you, Jesus.