Coping Techniques for the Sabbath Observant Fan of RuPaul’s Drag Race (Since the move to Friday nights on VH1)

Firstly, yes I just had to edit the title and take the dash out of VH1. Guess what? I still think of it as VH-1 in my mind despite how long it has been since their re-branding / name change.

I am behind on posting episode reviews of RuPaul’s Drag Race (and at this point I wonder if I should even go forward with reviewing episodes older than, say, this last Friday… does anyone care for my commentary that long after the episode has aired? But then again, one of my first articles on this blog was about an episode of RPDR from 2013 and that continues to get views every single day…) and I haven’t even watched last Friday’s episode yet — eek! Don’t tell me who got eliminated — I think my wife and I are watching tonight.

We had a good thing going with RuPaul’s Drag Race. I got into a nice pattern of watching episodes with my wife on Monday nights and writing up reviews on Tuesdays. We still have the advertisement from the newspaper — Mondays are a Drag! — and photos of the billboard in Times Square advertising as much.

Then it was announced that RuPaul’s Drag Race was moving to Friday nights on VH1. No! Friday nights are sacred in more than one sense. As a Sabbath observant Jew the television goes dark on Friday at a certain time and we step away from computers, mobile phones, tablets, etc — digital distractions, you could call them — for a twenty five hour period. We connect with people who are in our immediate surrounding and read stories in paper books and magazines and take naps and have good meals. That being the case, RuPaul’s Drag Race has to wait until the following evening — and sometimes later! (as has been the case this week — I was at my mother’s home in New Jersey and she doesn’t have VH1.)

Here for your enjoyment are some Coping Techniques for the Sabbath Observant Fan of RuPaul’s Drag Race (Since the move to Friday nights on VH1)

1.In the spirit of our forefather Abraham, who would often host strangers — food and drink — open your Friday night meals to RPDR fans who do not have that special connection to keeping the television off on Friday nights. Not to tell them that they should turn the television on, Heaven forbid, but if they happen to be there, and the television happens to be there, who knows what will happen?

2.The Sabbath morning kiddush table consequently splits into two groups of people — those who have invited people over, and those who are strict about avoiding viewing — and those in the latter group need avoid those in the former!

3.Melave Malka celebration now complete with RPDR viewing. Those who have already seen the episode are welcome to join of course, as we are all family — but try to at least pretend to be shocked when you see who gets eliminated.

4.Avoiding social media in the absence of attending such a Melava Malka celebration, at least until one is able to see the episode!

5.In the spirit of #5, perhaps wearing a large button with the words “DON’T SPOIL RPDR FOR ME, HAVE NOT SEEN FRIDAY’S EPISODE YET” to clearly communicate this fact.

6.Not spoiling it for people wearing those buttons!

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Juice Dealer (a short two character scene)

A man is standing on a street corner, looking around. He is a dealer in all things power.
Dealer : Charge your phone! Charge your tablet! Charging…
A man passes by him and stops. He reaches into his pocket.
Man : Did you say you charge phones?
Dealer: I do! What can I charge for you?
Man : My phone is dying… I don’t mean to sound morbid of course. Could you charge it?
Dealer : that’s all I do! Let me see your phone.
Man : What are your rates?
Dealer : Why concern yourself with that now? Do you need your phone charged or not?
Man : I suppose you have a good point.
The man gives over his phone, which is attached to a battery. They stay quiet for about half a minute.
Dealer : Okay, you are all charged.
Man : That’s impossible! (He looks at his phone.) How did you do it?
Dealer : As I said, it’s what I do. That’ll be a hundred dollars.
Man : You must be kidding! That’s outrageous! Why didn’t you say it would be so expensive?!
Dealer : Cost is relative. A dollar is expensive if you’re living on the street and it’s all that’s standing between you and starvation. A hundred dollars, please.
Man : But I don’t have a hundred dollars!
Dealer : That’s rather unfortunate. I’m going to have to keep your phone. Well… there is an alternative.
Man : Which is what?
Dealer : Are you a believing man?
Man : I’m not sure I follow. What do you want, my soul for eternity?
Dealer : No. Seven years — and they will be unpleasant!
Man : Hey, whatever it takes — I just want my phone back.
The dealer takes out a tablet and jabs the man with a stylus. The man howls in pain.
The man walks away with his phone, holding his wrist.
Dealer, to himself : Works every time!

Embracing Digital Receipts

I first noticed it when I was withdrawing money from a Bank of America ATM a couple of weeks back. The screen had what would have been the standard prompt for a receipt but instead of asking if I wanted one or not (this on its own has been a welcome progression from forcing you to take a receipt that will be shoved into your wallet before being recycled during the quarterly wallet cleaning) the machine asked if I wanted to receive my receipt by e-mail. “Huzzah!” I thought to myself, and then promptly sighed relief that I did not huzzah out loud. There was another person in the vestibule with me (Thanks, that episode of Friends, for the vocabulary enhancement!) and you don’t want to huzzah aloud when in odd mixed company. I had the machine send me the receipt by e-mail and a few minutes later found it waiting for me on my phone, where I created a new label for it in Gmail and archived it.

Only a few days later I was in Duane Reade picking up a snack for the commute home and when I went to pay, the credit card machine asked me if I wanted a printed receipt, no receipt, or a copy of my receipt e-mailed to me. You can probably imagine which one I chose. I then was prompted to associate my e-mail address from my Duane Reade account with receiving receipts by e-mail and once again, in a few minutes I had a copy of the receipt. It was soon archived and preserved in my e-mail.

This is the direction all stores need to take. When you go to a clothing store and get, for example, a shirt — e-mail receipt. You take it home and find out that it doesn’t fit you nearly as well you thought it did in the store — take the shirt back and of course, you don’t have to hunt around for that receipt because it is in your well organized e-mail. The store scans the barcode in the e-mail, issues you a refund, and you get a new receipt reflecting the return by e-mail.

Now when I am in stores where e-mail receipts are not the norm, I tell store managers whenever possible about this fantastic development. E-mail receipts are important — and we can avoid that much more paper waste in the future.