What Most of My ‘Suggestions’ Sound Like

Don’t you love the way people always have the perfect guy for you… and don’t know a thing about him? I sometimes feel like certain people just automatically think “smart, offbeat – hey, let’s set him up with Bad4!” That might be enough for them, but it’s not really enough for me.

Person: I have a guy for you, Bad4.

Me: So tell me about him.

P: Well, he’s really smart.

Me: Really. How?

Now, I ask this because experience has taught me that “really smart” can be roughly translated as “ability to talk about things I don’t understand.” The exact smartness level indicated is then a relative variable dependent upon the knowledge base of the speaker. For the average special ed teacher, for example, “smart” can mean “he took Intro to Physics and won’t let anybody forget it.”

P: At the bar mitzvah where he met my brother, he was talking about how the band could save money by turning the vibrations from their music into electricity.

M: Hm.

I say “Hm” because I’m not exactly impressed yet. What kind of obsessive geek subjects a captive audience to his hair-brained electricity-saving scheme? And if he were really smart, he would have spent the bar mitzvah sketching the final blueprint on a napkin and avoiding red wine so his shirt would still be white for his meeting with the venture capitalists the next day.

The truth is, I’m sorry to say, too many people with science and math degrees are just big-mouthed show-offs. I’ve heard solid C-students brag about impressing girls at the bar by telling them that their glass of beer is really just a triple integral. If these girls had taken the multivariable calculus course they’d know that this brilliant line about beer glasses is the most basic piece of information you can come out with – liking “cells are the building blocks of life” from bio class.  But they haven’t, so they think these guys are uber-clever.

P: (sees I’m unimpressed) He’s getting a PhD at Cooper Union.

Me: Hm!

On the one hand, “Cooper Union” is a pretty decent indication of smartness. On the other…

Me: Cooper doesn’t have a PhD program.

P: Well, he’s doing something advanced in anthropology there.

Uh oh.

Me: They don’t have an anthropology department.

P: Well, it’s something like that. I’ll find out for you. So do you want to go out with him?

Me: Um… Well… you haven’t really told me anything about him.

P: Well, what else would you want to know?

Me: Is he a mentch? Does he learn? What does he want to be when he grows up? Where’s he from?

P: Oh, I’m not sure. But that’s research stuff – you can find out after he’s looked into you.

Me: Then what exactly are you asking me here? Would I be willing to consider a guy who is smart and who may or may not be pursuing an advanced degree possibly in anthropology or else in Cooper Union? Yes. I’d also consider a guy of average intelligence pursuing a degree in advanced vocal arts at the Julliard School. That’s not make-it-or-break-it information.

P: Okay. I’ll get back to you then.

P is never heard from again. Possibly it’s because I’m being a difficult, unreasonable single. Or maybe she couldn’t find him again.

WARNING WARNING WARNING New ID Theft Scheme – Protect Yourself!

>>JUST AFTER I GOT THIS EMAIL SOMEONE CALLED ME ABOUT MY NIECE AND I KNEW NOT TO GIVE THEM INFORMATION ABOUT HER!!! Thank goodness I got this email when I did! Read it all the way through – and then read it again!!!

>>> This email comes from the Pope so you know it’s reliable. Very important!

>>>>FORWARD THIS TO EVERYONE YOU KNOW AND LOVE!!! WARN THEM ABOUT THIS SCHEME THAT COULD STRIP THEM OF THEIR IDENTITY BY USING THEIR SHIDDUCH REFERENCES!!! THIS IS A TRUE STORY CONFIRMED BY SNOPES!!

>>>>Last week in Brooklyn a woman took a shidduch call for a neighbor of hers. The caller didn’t identify himself but said he was investigating the girl for a potential shidduch date. The woman was eager to be helpful and didn’t ask the caller his name.

>>>>The caller was interested in the girl’s family background, particularly the mother’s, so the woman told him all about the mother’s family, impressing the caller with the girl’s yichus from her mother’s family, the rabbinic dynasty of the Uber family.

>>>>Afterwards, the caller asked about the girl’s interests, especially animals, as his son had always wanted a dog ever since he was a boy and had been told he could do whatever he wanted when he grew up and moved out, so he was. The woman assured the caller that the girl had had several pets over the course of her life, ranging from a chicken to a miniature giraffe to the most adorable little goliath beetle. She even remembered the names of all the pets, and provided them – Henny Penny, Rubbernecker, and Golias.

>>>>The caller, of course, was interested in the girl’s schooling – where she attended, what year she’d graduated, and where she’d grown up. He also confirmed the girl’s address, which he’d gotten from the shadchan.

>>>>The woman tried her best to be helpful, because the girl was a very special girl, and she wanted to help her get married. After covering a few other subjects, the caller thanked the woman and hung up.

>>>>TWO DAYS LATER THE GIRL FOUND HER BANK ACCOUNT EMPTIED VIA AN ONLINE BALANCE TRANSFER AND HER EMAIL ADDRESS PASSWORD WAS CHANGED AND HER ACCOUNT WAS BEING USED TO SEND OUT SPAM!!!

>>>>BEWARE THIS LATEST PLOT TO STEAL YOUR IDENTITY! NEVER GIVE IDENTIFYING INFORMATION TO STRANGERS, ESPECIALLY INFORMATION COMMONLY USED FOR SECURITY QUESTIONS!!!

>>>>FORWARD THIS TO EVERYONE YOU KNOW SO THEY DON’T HELP IDENTITY THIEVES HARM THEIR LOVED ONES.

Okay, a little extreme, yes, but this popped into my head after having the following conversation:

“Someone called me about you yesterday!”

“Really? Who?”

“Not sure. Maybe a Schwartz? Or was it Cohn?”

Why don’t people ask and remember who’s calling? If a stranger randomly calls up and starts asking for personal information about someone you know, shouldn’t it raise a few red flags? At least you should wonder what their names are. Usually I have a vague notion of who should be checking me out and can match your caller with one of my potential suitors.

And why do I really care? It’s good to be able to keep track of who is investigating you. I mean, if someone called a string of six people and then you never hear from him again, wouldn’t you want to know who the last reference was? Or, more seriously, when all your friends, neighbors, and relatives have been throwing suggestions at you regularly, it’s kind of nice to have a heads up on which ones are actually actualizing.

So c’mon folks. Ask who it is and who they’re calling for. That’s a lot more useful than just “Somebody’s calling.”