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June 26, 2014 - Image 31

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2014-06-26

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How I Met Your Mother: Part I

By Ben Falik


ear Judah and Phoebe,

In June of 2004, the Pistons
were on their way to an NBA
championship, John Kerry was on
his way to ousting George W. Bush
as president and I was on my way
home. I graduated from college
and, as swiftly as our Saturn sta-
tion wagon had stewarded me to
Columbia four years earlier, I found
myself back in the same room in
the same house in the same sub-
urb that had motivated me to bolt
for New York in the first place.
To my surprise, it appeared my
soul mate had been waiting there
for me all along — playful, restless,
sweetly stubborn. No, Jackson, the
border collie my parents got to
replace me when I left for school,
is not your mother. But he helped
find her.
Jackson and I woke up every
day, usually in the morning, and
went jogging. I wouldn't go too
fast, for fear of wearing out my
four-legged friend, and the pace
gave us a chance to talk about life.
And girls, though he had a much
cruder name for them.
I told him that I was bullish
about coming back to continue
working in Detroit — back to
our inspiring young mayor and
upcoming Super Bowl, which the
Lions would no doubt win on their
home turf — and that I was ner-
vous about meeting girls. Or not
meeting them.
Then, one morning (or morning-
adjacent) jog, we triumphantly
dashed across Long Lake Road only
to almost trip over a moss-covered
rock in the middle of the street. But
this wasn't a typical rock. It was a
turtle. It was a rock-shaped turtle
that didn't stand a chance against
the SUV drivers distracted by their
Motorola Razr flip phones and
Maroon 5 CDs.
Unable to convince Jackson that
the turtle was, in fact, a rock, I went
into what can only be described as
Suburban MacGyver Mode, racing
home and grabbing the first things
I could find: a pair of oven mitts
and a cardboard box.
Back at the entrance to the Wa-
beek North subdivision — a paved-
over wetland that must have been
much more reptile-friendly when
the turtle was born 100 or so years
earlier — I told myself to stop
thinking. Stop thinking, I thought.

Get said turtle in said box and then
you can start thinking again.





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This is why I'm bad at yoga; I
couldn't stop thinking. About not
thinking about not thinking about
one thing: the turtle does not
know that you are trying to save
it. I should have been thinking (to
the extent I had to think about
something) about what I did not
I did not know that this turtle
was a snapping turtle. Until it
snapped. At which point, unlike
MacGyver, I screamed and passed
When I regained consciousness,
I checked to see if I still had all my
fingers. I still had all my fingers. I
also had guests, the family whose
house I was standing in front of.
I also had no clothes on, except
some contraband late-90s Umbro
shorts I had "lost" after soccer one
year and a headband that would
have made Richard Simmons
Note: In 2004, people made
frequent MacGyver and Richard
Simmons references and listened
to Maroon 5 on compact disc.
Hey neighbors! Scarcely fleet of
foot enough to run away, I had
no alternative but to pretend
like there was nothing unusual
about these circumstances. Just a
three-quarters naked guy jogging
in oven mitts past a turtle that,
like the Warner Brothers' singing
cartoon frog, had gone back to its
mild-mannered centenarian mossy
rock pose. And a box.
The wife must have found me
pretty charming on that fateful
day 10 years ago. No, kids, that
married mother of two young
children who lived down the
street from my parents is not your
mother. But her sister is.

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