Friday, November 13, 2009


I just remembered that when I was a boy, whenever I met another boy with the last name of Siegel—which seemed fairly often, since us Jews* herded together in certain schools—— that because Siegel sounded like "seagull" the boy with such a name should only wear blue and behave kindly at all times. I thought he should have a breezy character and not take things too seriously.

I didn't concern myself with the idea that a seagull might not have this disposition, that it instead might actually be a bread and excrement-grubbing pigeon-bully. I didn't question myself. I must have gleaned this idea about seagulls at an early age by watching music videos, like those of Don Henley or Mr. Mister. Those seagulls seemed friendly because they hovered in the distance over the ocean as lovers ran into their waves.

Invariably, I was disappointed by every Siegel I ever met. He never acted like a true seagull. He would beat me at handball. He would make fun of my snowy complexion. He would even boast about how his sandwich was better than mine. Little did I know that Siegel is a German word that is a "metonymic occupational name for a maker of seals or signet rings, or for an official in charge of a seal, from Middle High German sigel ‘seal’." Lame.

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