Bagel Man and Shmear

… or why it is not a good idea to have two martinis before story time


“Let’s see… Berenstain Bears?  Winnie the Pooh?  Bread and Jam for Frances?  I love the drawings in that book.”

“Dad… you always fall asleep when you read Frances stories to me…”

“I’ve had a long day.  How ’bout Stand Back the Elephant is Going to Sneeze! The drawings in that book are hysterical.”

“Dad… do we have any Super Hero stories?”

“Super Hero?  Super Hero!  Who told you about Super Hero’s?”

“Ari Widlansky’s father reads him Super Hero stories.”

“You mean Ari Widlansky’s father reads him comic books!”

“But Dad… they’re fun.  Lots of action… saving people, beating up the bad guys and driving cool cars like the Bat Mobile!  At Tumblebugs, sometimes Ari and I pretend that we’re Batman and Robin!”

“Batman and Robin?  When I was a kid I used to like the Green Hornet and Kato.”

“I don’t know them.  Are they good guys or bad guys?”

“They’re good guys… just like the Lone Ranger and Tonto, and Captain Kangaroo and Mr. Green Jeans.”

“And they’re Super Hero’s, too?”

“In a manner of speaking.  Hey… here’s Blueberries For Sal.  That’s a great story!”

“Dad… are there any Jewish Super Hero’s?”

“Other than Sandy Koufax and Groucho Marx?”

“Dad!  Stop making stuff up!”

“Well… when I was a kid we had Bagel Man…”

“For real?”

“For real.  He had super power strength… could walk thru brick walls.  He had an enormous brain capacity and could instantly solve complex math problems, he scored a perfect 800 on his college boards, he had total memory recall and he could name every English Ruler going back to Ethelred the Unready.  And for all his Super Power strength and smarts, he still was someone who was kind and thoughtful enough to help an elderly woman to walk across the street… and if some wise-guy delivery person on a bike got too close, he would whip out his Reverse Semi-Automatic Bialystok Stun Gun, and shout, ‘Stand fast you knave!’ and then blast the kid into the next time zone!”

“Wow!  Did Bagel Man have a side kick?”

“Side Kick?  Sure!  Shmear!  Shmear went everywhere with BagelMan… they were a team.  They even went to the opera together!  One time they got first row mezzanine seats for the Metropolitan’s production of Don Giovanni.  And in the scene when Don Giovanni sings, “Versalino! Eccelente Marzemino!” as he was about to descend into the dark netherworld, Bagel Man stood up from his seat and shouted, ‘Don’t do it!  I’ll save you!’ And he started to jump down to the stage, when Shmear stopped him and said, ‘It’s OK BM, Mozart wrote it that way.’ And Bagel Man looked around at all the people in the audience staring at him, and said to Shmear, ‘Thanks, dear friend.’ And Shmear said, ‘That’s what friends are for!’  That was Shmear’s famous line… he was always saying, that’s what friends are for… Like when they went to the 21 Club for dinner and Shmear picked up the check, he would say, ‘That’s what friends are for!’  Bagel Man and Shmear!  Truth, Justice, Observing the Sabbath and making sure that young men get into medical school!  And like all Super Hero’s they had one vulnerability… they wouldn’t rescue the downtrodden or stop a felony on Rosh Hashonah or Yom Kippur.”

“Dad?  Why don’t we read Bread and Jam for Frances.”

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