Tag: Seinfeld

A Quote about a Quote for the Quote of the Day

 

“A man finds joy in giving an apt reply – and how good is a timely word.” — Proverbs 15:23

L’esprit de l’escalier, or “the staircase mind,” is the French phrase for when the witty reply that you could have used at the bottom of the staircase doesn’t come to you until you reach the top. In one of many wonderful moments in Seinfeld (season 8, episode 13), George Costanza was at a business meeting catered with shrimp cocktails. A co-worker notices George stuffing his face and says, “Hey George, the ocean called and running out of shrimp!” George has no reply (and even if he had a reply, he has a very full mouth). After the meeting, George realizes he has the “perfect” comeback: “The jerk store called and they’re running out of you!” George goes to great lengths to recreate the circumstances, to get in a meeting with the same men, with shrimp, and can deliver his killer line. The man quickly responds, “What’s the difference? You’re their all-time best seller!”

I didn’t get Seinfeld when I first watched it. I thought, like most sitcoms, we were supposed to be rooting for the characters. But I saw they were awful people, so how could I root for them? Eventually, I saw that the showrunners and writers knew these were awful people as well, the worst of ourselves. Like George, it is a very rare thing when we have the right thing to say at the right time. It probably is just as well we don’t when it comes to insults. So much damage can be done with our tongues.

Festivus – A Family Tradition

 

I didn’t know until today that Festivus, celebrated Saturday, Dec. 23, wasn’t just made up for the TV show “Seinfeld,” but was an honest-to-goodness family tradition of one of the show’s writers, a tradition the other writers had to talk him into using in a television script.

According to O’Keefe family legend, the first Festivus occurred in 1966 to commemorate when Daniel Lawrence O’Keefe, the father of the Seinfeld writer (also named Daniel), took Deborah, the woman who would soon be his wife and mother of his children, out on their first date. Rather than busting out a Festivus pole (which was invented for the Seinfeld script), the O’Keefe family’s yearly celebration involved nailing a bagged clock to the wall – a ritual whose purpose, O’Keefe Sr. darkly told his children, was “not for you to know!” – and wearing silly decorated hats, including a Viking hat with Play-Doh horns.

Who’s on Your Airing of Grievances List?

 

castanzaToday is Christmas Eve eve, which means it’s time to enjoy Frank Costanza’s Festivus, an annual tradition when we participate in the “Airing of Grievances.” This is a special day to skewer those deserving of our ire.

Many folks are on my list, from politicians, journalists and celebrities to my neighbor upwind of me who partakes in the “herb.”

I will start the list with Terry Fine. Terry is a professor at University of Central Florida who wrote an article suggesting Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, or even Happy Holidays is “exclusionary.” Instead, Terry wants us to greet each other with “Happy Federal Holiday.” Because guv’ment is our true religion, amirite?