Seinfeld was a show about nothing. Sometimes though when life – which isn’t about nothing – imitates the art of the show of nothing, we live through those Seinfeld moments.
Anyone in their mid to late 40’s can probably recite almost every episode of Seinfeld – certainly we’ve seen them all. Sometimes though, life gives you Seinfeld moments. Then there are days you get them back-to-back which as Yogi Berra said can give you deja vu all over again.
First case study is 12.0 and her current reading project for English. They are working on mysteries in class and she’s reading a Sherlock Holmes story. Now we’re trying to solve a mystery of just where the book went. She took the book with her when we went skiing (I was sure she was never going to read it, but I let the pretense go). What I didn’t count on was her losing the book. Its final destination is somewhere between our house and Lanesboro, MA – destination truly unknown.
So, as of now I’m on the hook for replacing the book for the school library.
For quick replacement of the missing book, we went down to our public library to borrow the book – only to find out she is three-year’s overdue for a book there. 12.0 had a great solution to the problem, I can go buy her a Kindle and she won’t lose any more books – of course keeping track of the Kindle would be a different story. But notification of the three year overdue book at the library launched my first Seinfeld moment.
My mind automatically goes to Seinfeld and flash back to the episode Lt. Joe Bookman confronts Jerry about the book Tropic of Cancer he checked out of the library in 1971.
“Let me tell you something, funny boy… You know that little stamp? The one that says New York Public Library? Well, that may not mean anything to you, but that means a lot to me. One whole helluva lot. Sure, go ahead, laugh if you want to. I’ve seen your type before — flashy, making the scene, flaunting convention. Yeah, I know what you’re thinking… Why’s this guy making such a big stink about old library books? Let me give you a hint, junior. Maybe we can live without libraries, people like you and me…. Maybe. Sure, we’re too old to change the world. What about that kid, sitting down, opening a book right now in a branch of the local library and finding pictures of pee-pees and wee-wees in The Cat in the Hat and The Five Chinese Brothers. Doesn’t he deserve better? Look, if you think this is about overdue fines and missing books, you’d better think again. This is about that kid’s right to read a book without getting his mind warped. Or maybe that turns you on, Seinfeld… Maybe that’s how you get your kicks… You and your goodtime buddies… I’ve got a flash for you, joy boy. Partytime is over.”– Lt. Bookman, in “The Library”
So now I’m trying not to laugh as the librarian is telling me we’ve racked up three years of over-due fees or can pay for the book ($5.99) All I can hear is Phillip Baker Hall’s voice channeling his Bookman character:
The next case came after dinner when14.5 decided to use an episode of Seinfeld to complete an assignment on camera angles for her English class – where they are doing some film study work. As I sent the girls upstairs to take showers, and settled in to relax and catch up with life outside work, she came downstairs, and turned on Seinfeld – and I was now explaining Seinfeld. The episode was the one where the gang heads to East Hampton and they see George’s girlfriend topless and George serves lobster to Jerry’s Jewish girlfriend who keeps kosher.
There are so many Seinfeld moments that come up in everyday life. Marble rye in the bakery, we’re just days away from Festivus – but living the Seinfeld moments is a little surreal. So maybe we can all air our grievances – or perhaps just have a cinnamon babka. The moments keep on coming – not imagined, and sometimes they’re even beyond being about nothing.