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Great Advice from a Master of Characterization! 

Posted June 9th 2008

As of December 31 2007, I can't even pretend to try to update a funny page every week, so I'm not going to. I'll post one when it occurs and I have the time to write it. My home page, as you may have noticed depending how you got here, is now my blog. You can always click the "Most Recent Funny Page" link to see if I've posted lately. The blog has the RSS and Atom scripts, so it will notify you of activity on it, if you want it to. meantime, there is an archive going back over seven years. Try some of the old stuff. Occasionally, it's actually pretty good. And the rest, well, it was fun to write it.

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By Steve Fey

So the story goes that the old Rabbi was at last on his deathbed.

One reason Iím attracted to humor is that I donít understand the world. Take the current oil price mess, for instance. Doesnít it seem odd that you hear that international speculators are driving it, but that nobody has mentioned that the price surge might, maybe, be a bubble?

There was a line of lesser Rabbis and students that went out the door of his room, down the stairs, out the front door of the building, down the stone stairs of the stoop, and out into the street.

And, something else, I really donít understand why the people running automobile manufacturers are so shocked, shocked that the price of oil has suddenly gone so high that people donít want to buy those stupid SUV trucks any more. Are those people living in bizzaro world, where everything is free and the bums all gather round the big rock candy mountain?

At the very end of the line was a new rabbinical student who had never met the old Rabbi. Heíd come to this school especially to learn from the old man, so he really, really wanted to ask just one question.

I try to be sympathetic, seeing those people all upside down on their truck payments. Itís a real shame that theyíre not out there clogging the streets when I drive around in my small car any more. I can hardly stand the freedom of movement that affords. I may have to move somewhere where big trucks are the norm. Maybe Afghanistan.

So, the young student asked the student immediately in front of him to ask the old Rabbi "What is the meaning of life?" The student in front of the young student asked the guy in front of him, who asked the guy in front of him, who asked, well you get the idea, until finally, up the stoop, in the door, up the stairs, in the door, across the room, the second eldest Rabbi listened, nodded, and asked the old Rabbi, "What is the meaning of life?"

The old Rabbi thought for a minute, then whispered in the second eldest Rabbiís ear, "Life is like a river."

Again, I donít understand why people are surprised that the price of oil went up so high. Itís a bubble, after all, and thatís what bubbles do. I also donít understand exactly what is going to happen when the bubble bursts. Somebody is going to be left holding the bag full of oil, and it will be worth a lot less than they paid for it.

The second eldest Rabbi whispered to the third eldest Rabbi, "He says life is like a river. Pass it on to that kid out front." The third eldest rabbi, well, you know, out the door, down the stairs, out the door, down the stoop, into the street, and finally the second youngest student says to the youngest, "He says life is like a river!"

The real mystery, of course, will be that the price of gasoline will fall maybe twenty percent as far as the price of crude oil. You can quote me on that.

The youngest student bursts out, "What does he mean, life is like a river?" So the second youngest student dutifully passes that question on up.

There are bunches of other things I donít understand, of course. Like why Paris Hilton gets any work at all, or why anyone cares what any celebrity thinks about a politician, or why anyone in their right mind buys one of those ugly little square Scion things.

The question went up the stoop, in the door, up the stairs, in the room door, across the room, until it got to the second eldest Rabbi. The second eldest Rabbi listened, then said to the old man, "He wants to know what you mean by saying Ďlife is like a river.í

They say religion provides answers for many people, but consider the answer given by the old Rabbi in the story.

The old Rabbi looks up with watery eyes and gestures to the second eldest Rabbi to come closer. The second eldest Rabbi leans close in order to hear, and the old man says, "So alright, life is not like a river!"