Sunday, February 15, 2009

Getting Lost Within Myself

Sometimes, I feel like I live two separate distinct lives and it all comes down to a name. A name? Yes, a name, which I believe is a very powerful thing indeed. To me, it defines who we are and adds essence to our being.

That I firmly believe.

When each of our daughters was born, although we had a list of names picked out, I had to gaze at their countenance intently before agreeing that they would become that we would name them. It’s that serious to me.

I’ve heard Rabbis state that a person should never be called by a nickname, as it is not a proper reference of who a person is intrinsically. I don’t go that far, but I see their point.

Which brings me too some reflective thoughts which have been on my mind recently.

Growing up, I was called by “Yitz”, a common shortened version (aka nickname) of my Hebrew name Yitzchak (Hebrew for Isaac), although my legal given name is Seth Isaac. I identify myself primarily to that name. When I was of age that my legal name was required (drivers license, bank accounts, jobs, etc), it was much easier to use my English name in secular environments, as the full Hebrew name was inevitably butchered with the “ch” coming out like the standard English pronunciation (as in “chalk”) or a “ja” (as in “jack”) sound. The proper sound is guttural, like your hocking a loogey. Ah, that brings a nice warm feeling all over. :) On top of that, my Hebrew name is not legally registered as an alias, and I have been dissuaded of ever changing it for the very reason cited.

Where was I? Oh yes. So throughout life, almost everyone I know from my community etc will refer to me at Yitz or Yitzchak, whereas in my professional life I am known as Seth. It took a little getting used to at first, but I soon became accustomed to both, each in its own environment. Getting phone calls at home for Seth still occasionally takes a nanosecond to adjust to every once in a while.

Recently though, this dual identity is starting to itch again. Joining Facebook with my legal name, I have my friends, going back to grade school inquiring if this person perchance is related to Yitz. Sigh. It gets old quick. It’s caused me to realize that I really drew a line between my professional/secular life and my personal life and never really merged the two together; I almost subconsciously think of myself as two distinct persons. Being a religiously observant individual added to this subconscious schism that I carved into my very being. [explanation: There is a school of thought that a removal of temptation will allow for an easier path of observance of the Torah’s letter of the law, and therefore one should refrain from becoming too entrenched in “secular” environments – a topic for another time if I ever get around to it.]

With technology evolving and social networking becoming a mainstay of our (digital) lives, the barriers between my two worlds are starting to overlap, and I am fascinated by it all being revealed; I have spared very little conscious effort towards at all in the past, and it is now being brought to the surface.

So I’ll wrap with a thanks to Yitz for writing this all out. Anytime, Seth. Good night.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

I take the leech, I'm bleeding me

Ok, time to have a little fun! It’s bad enough that we are limited with mediocre choices in Jewish education in our wonderful city of Chicago; that notwithstanding, I thought I’d take a stab at the 10 Top ways to pay tuition for this second-rate service. Enjoy!

10. Donate first born
9. Pimp self out on street corner
8. Become a Nicaraguan drug mule
7. Plant a money tree in the backyard
6. Rob three banks (One isn’t enough, you’ll need at least three in order to pay the balance)
5. Go to Kollel so the rest of the community can pay it for you
4. Send each child to a different school. Tell each school that your money is going to the other schools
3. Send your kid to catholic school – it’s cheaper
2. Pay them with your own blood, but only if your blood is gold
1. Have a rich father/uncle/grandfather

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Won't waste my hate on you

giToday was very challenging. Coming off a very big high (not that kind!) seeing my favorite band for the first time in concert last night (still won't tell who it is but anyone that knows me knows the answer anyway), things at work occurred today that really got me down down down.

In the corporate IT world, a "re-org" is almost a regular occurrence, where leadership for one reason or another decides to mix things up and reorganizes the various team structures. Needless to say, I was not intially happy with where I wound up on the org charts...
Not that I can honestly complain, this petty angst I feel. I should be thankful that I have a job with a decent salary. I should be thankful that I have a solid group of peers to lean on and commiserate with. I have a wonderful, supportive, and understanding family…

...But I can't seem to shake the burn that festers within. It leaves me feeling disappointed with this exposure of my very human trait of not being thankful for what I have. Instead, I waste my hate on trivial things that don't really count for crap at the end of the day. How could I let my stomach twist and retributionary thoughts run rampant in my head? I think its a very sobering situation that God has dealt me so I can take a step back and evaluate not only how I am going to cope with change (don't we all hate change?), but also my attitude in general. Am I being the best I can be (don't worry, not joining the army!), am I taking it in stride with dignity, or am I total F-up, complaining and worrying like a selfish ingrate?

Sometimes it sucks to realize that one is a selfish SOB. Ah, life - isn't it grand. I just need to remember to save my hate for things that truly deserve it.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Welcome to where time stands still

For a tech-savvy guy, I'm behind the times in the social networking world. Maybe it’s because I'm not most sociable of personalities. What's that, you say, you can't believe it?!? Yes, my "yellow" shoots up to disproportionable levels at certain times (at work, events with beer, etc), but I'm really a quiet soul. Ok, so quiet is not the right word - I'm hardly ever quiet. More on that at a later time. I'd like to welcome you to my blog, which will have only one common theme element - the titles of my posts will be taken from lyrics of my favorite band (you'll have to figure that one out on your own sucka!) although the blog site name CAN cause some misdirection, and will hopefully reflect the content I will be spewing forth from my brain via my fingers. This is a good challenge for me since I've always hated writing when I was in school due to being a lefty and having a weird grip (on reality) on writing instruments; it made for slow output and that sucked in school when most tasks are timed to some degree or another. Anyway, back on point - there should be no distinctive flow from post to post; on the contrary, I'll try to be a wide ranging in subject matter as possible, 'cause that’s how my mind works yo.