Category Archives: Humor

Oy Vey! The Matzah Balls!

Looks good, right?

Looks good, right?

A few years ago, I did a crap load of cooking. I was preparing for Passover, so I was doing what Jewish mothers do — cooking up a storm. I was Martha Stewart and Rachael Ray and Betty-freaking-Crocker — except the Jewish version.

So picture frizzier hair and a bigger nose.

That year, I made 3 times as many matzah balls as I usually would, to make sure that my family would have enough to eat for the entire week. It took hours, but no big whoop, right? These are the things we do for love.

After the brisket went in and the noodle kugel was finished, I realized I didn’t have enough room in my freezer. So, I asked my kind neighbor if I could use a little space in the freezer that she keeps in her garage. She said of course.

Passover comes and so do all the guests. I’m serving the soup, and I’m like where are all my matzah balls? I look in the freezer, in the refrigerator, in the garage. It’s cold enough. I’m thinking, maybe I stashed them in the trunk of my car. Sometimes I stick things there. I look everywhere. I only have 18 matzah balls. The thing is this: that year? We have 24 people at the house. Picturing, standing in the kitchen, confused and cutting matzah balls in half.

I believe it is written in the Torah.

Thou shalt not run out of matzah balls.

But I did.

I apologized to our guests.

Time went by.

Spring came and went.

Months after the holiday ended, I was sitting on my driveway in the sun when my neighbor asked if I would like to have my matzah balls.

“Because isn’t Passover coming up?” she asked.

You guys, I didn’t even remember giving them to her.

Suddenly I was like: Should I be worried? Should I call the doctor? Do I need to check about early dementia? Seriously, how did those balls get over there? Did they roll across the street on their own?

I followed my friend into her warm garage. She opened her freezer and next to the ICEEs, there was my long-lost Tupperware container filled with frozen balls. All 9 bazillion of them.

I obsessed about forgetting those matzah balls.

And then I got sick. For 15 months, I couldn’t cook or clean or even leave my house.

I couldn’t even think about making matzah balls.

It’s been a few years since I hosted a Passover meal.

At 32 months off Klonopin, I’m doing really well. I’m grateful to be alive, grateful to feel Spring in the air, hopeful that one day I will feel even better. I know all of this is part of G-d’s plan.

And this year, I plan to enjoy someone else’s balls.

#IYKWIM.

tweet me @rasjacobson

Advertisements

What I Wore – The Parade of Hats

By now, you’re getting the idea that I love hats. Since my last post, the temperatures took a major nose-dive, and in an effort to stay warm (and raise my spirits), I pulled out a few wacky hats from my collection.

Photo on 12-19-14 at 10.39 AM

This little number was given to me by my friend, Teri. Someone in her family knitted (or is it crocheted? Hmmm.) especially for her. Can you appreciate the feather and faux gemstone? I knew that you could.

Then I have this hat:

Photo on 1-8-14 at 10.26 AM

I gave the original Spider hat to a dear friend, but when I had the opportunity to have another one, I simply had to do it. I have absolutely no idea why I made the Hang-10 sign with my hands.

Photo on 12-19-14 at 11.09 AM #2

Now that my son is in 10th grade, my polar fleece jester hat rarely makes an appearance. Tech Support has never said he’s embarrassed to be with me, but I try to be sensitive and not push the dorky envelope too far off the table. My amazing fingerless gloves are from Baabaazuzu, a company that was born in late 1993 after Sue Burns, a gifted graphic designer, cut up the shrunken remains of her favorite sweaters, pieced the fragments together and made jackets with matching hats for her two daughters.

Photo on 12-19-14 at 11.06 AM

I won this colorful skully in a blogging contest held by my friend, author, Kasey Mathews. Jen Wagner the Creator of JAMMS hats designs these great warm hats that are wicked stylish. I love having a pop of color on my head on gray days.

Photo on 12-19-14 at 11.07 AM #5

This stocking hat comes from HandCandy. It’s super warm on the inside, as it’s lined in polar fleece, and the tail is wicked long and can wrap around the neck so the wearer doesn’t need to fuss about a scarf. And while I love the colors and the mix of fabrics, this thing is heavy and leaves me feeling choked. Truth be told, I would have probably done better to swap this hat for a scarf or a pair of mittens because I really adore the varied textiles and broad stitchwork.  For now, I wear this hat as a house-hat. A what?, you ask. Sometimes it’s just so darn cold outside that the chill creeps inside so I keep my hat on even while I’m inside.

And my fingerless gloves, too.

I know, right.

They don’t come sexier than me, folks.

I’m always looking to add to my hat collection, so if you have a hat you’d like to donate to the cause, or if you represent a hat company and you’re looking for a middle-aged spokesperson, I’m your girl.

Stay warm, everyone!

 

Barbie Doll Ball: Wordless Wednesday

Today, these gals got all gussied up, sprinkling themselves with fairy tale magic in an effort to kick off 2015 right.

All dressed up with no place to go.

All dressed up with no place to go.

So where should these 3 lovely ladies go to celebrate the new year?

Happy New Year everyone! May we all enjoy a year of good health, love and peace.

tweet me @rasjacobson

Short on Decor, Long on Miracles: #Hanukkah

 Leave a comment for a chance to win some of my handcrafted stationery! 

IMG_0668
I stopped into The Christmas Tree Shoppe to pick up last minute items for our Annual Hanukkah Party.

(I know, shopping for Hanukkah at the Christmas Tree Shoppe, the irony isn’t lost on me. What can I say? They have great papers goods.)

Traditionally, there isn’t much décor associated with The Festival of Lights, which – truth be told – is fine by me. I see friends struggling with wreaths and trees and ornaments and inflatables and lights. How do I get ready for Hanukkah? I go down in the basement and open up one blue bin, take out my three favorite menorahs and a couple of dreidels, and I place these items on a table.

That’s it. No fuss. No muss.

The extent of my Hanukkah decorations.

The extent of my Hanukkah decorations.

Now, you have to understand. I wasn’t looking for anything, so of course that’s when I found it: a colorful door decoration with the word CHANUKA printed boldly on the front.

CHANUKA? I tilted my head, confuzzled.

Because I’d never seen it spelled that way.

Now don’t get me wrong, I’ve seen Hanukkah spelled a lot of different ways. Because the initial sound used to pronounce the word Hanukkah isn’t a sound used in English. The gutteral h is pronounced at the back of the throat, and — when pronounced correctly — sounds like someone trying to hork up a loogey.

So I liked the decoration, but I didn’t want it if Hanukkah wasn’t spelled correctly.

“Okay Google,” I spoke into my phone. “How do you spell Hanukkah?”

Yummy, yes.

Yummy, yes.

As it turns out, the most common spelling for Hanukkah is “Hanukkah” with 8.5 million hits in the Google search engine. “Chanukah” came in with over 3.3 million searches, and “Hannukah” came in with 862,000 hits.

You might be interested to know Xanuka is considered a valid spelling.

And Channukka.

And Chanuqa.

So I’m still standing there, clutching this felt decoration in one hand and my phone in the other, trying to decide if I should buy it or put it back.

You know, because it was spelled weird.

(Or at least it felt like it was spelled weird to me.)

And then I laughed at the silly dilemma I’d created in my head.

Because Hanukkah isn’t about decorations or spelling. It’s about miracles.

As some of you know, I was sick for 15 months. During that time, I didn’t know anyone else who had ever been through what I was going through, and those months were terrifying, isolating and awful. Many times, I felt G-d was punishing me.

And yet.

Some unnameable thing kept me hanging on. Some little voice inside of me – perhaps the G-d part of myself – knew that one day the suffering would end and that I just needed to wait. And pray for a miracle.

What appeals to me most about Hanukkah is the idea that miracles can be found in every day moments, how big and small things that seem impossible can come to pass.

I appreciate the way we gather together to tell and retell the story of how people overcome difficult times, to celebrate the miracle of friends and family whom we love and are loved by; the miracle of having the chance to learn something new everyday; the miracle of our collective curiosity and kindness that inspires us to make meaningful connections with others.

These days, I can even appreciate the eleventy-seven jillion ways we spell Hanukkah.

So it’s decided. Starting now, I’m collecting decor where Hanukkah is spelled any which way.

Because why not?

(So do you think The Christmas Tree Shoppe still has that cute Chanuka door decoration? Or did I miss my chance?)

What are you celebrating this time of year? What kind of decorations, if any, do you set out? What do you love/hate about the holidays? 

Screen Shot 2014-12-08 at 3.08.35 PM

NOTE: I’m participating in #HanukkahHoopla with 7 other bloggers. In the spirit of the season, we’re giving away 8 gifts to 8 lucky commenters. Click on the menorah to find links to other writers’ blogs & increase your chances of winning!

tweet me for an extra chance to win handcrafted stationery! 

I Remember Prom

photo

That’s my niece up there. Could she be any more gorgeous?
Oh, and her boyfriend looks fab in his tux, too.

My niece went to Senior Prom with her boyfriend a few weeks ago.

As I stood nearby, snapping photos, I was transported back in time.

To the mid-1980s. To my own school formals.

TB and me. Junior Prom, 1984.

I went to junior prom with TB, a boy I  spent most of middle school trying to get to fall in love with notice me. Lord knows, we spent many afternoons in detention together as a result of misbehaving in French class. Before he moved to Philadelphia, I realized we were always going to be “just friends,” which was good enough for me. I sort of figured I’d never see him again, but he magically materialized to take me to prom.

First, let’s just establish TB looked awesome in his tux.

Done.

Okay, now let’s talk about my dress. Featured in Seventeen Magazine, my dress was a gauzy, white Gunne Sax for Jessica McClintock that covered me from chin to ankle; it had three layers of crinoline and 10,000 buttons up the back. I was hermetically sealed inside my dress. All I knew was that I felt like Madonna in that dress. Seriously, from the neck down, I looked like Madonna.

Shut up, I did.

Sadly, we must address things from the neck up. A few months prior, I’d butchered my long mane and had not yet figured out quite what to do with what was, tragically, a long brush-cut. Or a lady-mullet. In an effort to try to make people not notice my heinous hair, I stuck an over-sized silver safety-pin through the extra hole in my left ear lobe. Because I was that cool.

JMo and me. Senior Ball, 1985.

For senior ball, I was slightly better prepared. First, let us establish that JMo looked awesome in his tux.

Done.

Now, about my dress.  As it turned out, my poofy dress from the year before was really uncomfortable. The crinkly crinolines had filled the entire backseat; it had been hard to walk, and did I mention that I was decidedly not hot?

Senior year, I decided to tone down my attire and wear a simple yellow dress. Alas, there was no teenaged version of “Say Yes To The Dress” because somehow I ended up looking like I had been dipped first in a vat of French’s mustard and then into a second vat of Hellmann’s mayonnaise. Seriously, I had no business wearing pastel yellow. I know you can’t tell from the pictures, but I looked jaundiced. Luckily, most people were blinded by my like totally radical Sun-In highlights and my tan, both of which I had been cultivating after school for weeks while  ignoring my upcoming Trigonometry final.

I didn’t do a lot of primping for either prom.

I mean, I showered.

I was clean.

I bought a dress and put it on.

(So there was a little extra room up top. What’s your point?)

All I’m saying is thank goodness there was no Twitter back in the 1980s, because I would have been all over that and it would have worked me into a frenzy! No, I was blissfully oblivious, so I didn’t stress out about prom in advance at all.

Time spent preparing my hair for junior prom: zero minutes.

For senior ball, I actually had hair, so I did use a little mousse which, thankfully, had been invented earlier that year.

Truthfully, I do remember a wee bit of mental anguish at both dances. Even though I wasn’t dating either guy, I still wanted the romance of the evening. I still wanted my dates to ask me to slow dance.

I mean I was scared, but I still wanted to be asked.

Ask me. No don’t ask me.

Please ask me. Wait, I don’t know what I’m doing.

At senior ball, I sang along with the lead singer as he belted out a new Foreigner tune: “I wanna know what love is. I want you to show me.”

Because, really, I had no idea.

But I so wanted to know.

I imagine some things will never change about formal dances: the grown up feeling of getting dressed up and “going out on the town” without one’s parents; the freaky-deaky feeling a girl gets in her stomach as she sees her prom date pull into the driveway; those awkward posed moments where parents hover, taking zillions of photographs from every possible angle; the worry that a zit could erupt at any moment.

Even though the dresses are better, I still think of prom as an awkward place, a threshold between adolescence and adulthood where no one really knows what to do.

So people just hold onto each other and spin in circles for a little while.

And so we did.

And it was good.

Right up until I learned I failed the Trig final.

What did you wear to prom? Did you think you were hot? Were you? Really?

tweet me @rasjacobson

Are You Brand Loyal?

I’m probably the most brand loyal person out there.

I’ve been using the same deodorant for the last twenty years. {Thank you, Secret, for being strong enough for a man. Because sometimes I smell like one.}

Everyone knows I only drink Canada Dry Ginger Ale. {Don’t try to slip me any of that store brand stuff. I can totally tell.}

What can I say? When I find something that works, I stick with it.

Forever.

As my longtime readers know, I have a love-hate relationship with my hair.

Despite the fact that I have stretched and pulled it, given myself deep conditioning treatments, and slept in bandanas in an attempt to give myself straight, swingy hair, I have the kind of follicles that morph into a frizzy pyramid if combed or touched.

Seriously, sometimes it looks like this!

Exhibit A

In 1985, I fell in love with a hair care product.

You guys, they are discontinuing it.

Want to know what I’ve been doing since I heard the news?

Click over to Jess Witkins’ blog to find out the rest of the story. Be prepared to tell me about products you have loved and lost.

tweet us @rasjacobson & @jesswitkins

My Sleeping Bag Coat

When I moved to Rochester from New Orleans in 1995, the sunflowers in my backyard turned their yellow heads to face a blue, cloudless sky. That fall, the leaves on the maple trees turned red and yellow and brown and fell at our feet, but the sun stuck around. One October weekend, my husband and I hopped in his car to scout out a grape festival. Everyone kept saying how unseasonably warm it was. We hardly heard them as we scooped gobs of pie directly out of the tin and into our mouths. Standing there in our short sleeves, it seemed the warm weather would never end. Clearly, moving to Western, New York had been a delicious choice.

One October afternoon, a friend came to help me unpack the last of my boxes.

“Where are your coats?” she asked.

After five years in New Orleans, I didn’t have many. I held up my denim jacket, a green raincoat, and a few sweaters.

She shook her head. “You’d better get a good coat. Fast.”

But I ignored her. Because what did she know? Everything was so cozy in our apartment, and the afternoon light never stopped streaming through the stained glass windows of our apartment.

And then it happened.

One morning, I went outside to find everything blanketed in white. Shivering, I brushed off the windshield and hopped inside to turn on the heat. And after work, I drove directly to the nearest mall to buy my first sleeping bag coat.

Let’s be clear. My sleeping bag coat isn’t pretty. It isn’t fashion forward. But once the temperatures fall below 40 degrees, I am never without it. Black and puffy and filled with down, I wear it all the time. While I make breakfast. While I do the dishes. While I run errands.

I have even slept in my sleeping bag coat. Several years ago, we had a major ice storm. Trees cracked and power lines went down. People lost power for over a week. It was mid-April, and I could see my breath in my house.

Recently, I realized sleeping bag coats are kind of a Rochester thing.

Everywhere I go, there they are.

In the grocery store.

IMG_0676

 In a restaurant.

 IMG_0894

Out for a walk.

IMG_0885

At Target.

IMG_0852

At the pharmacy counter.

IMG_0902

And again at the pharmacy.

IMG_0677

I know some ladies will argue that fashion should always come first. In my experience, these women are usually in their 20s. They often live in warm weather climates and wear bikinis with 5” hoochie-mamma heels.

In Rochester, we have to be pragmatic.

Because when it is cold for nearly six months of the year, we have to wear boots.

And hats. And scarves. And mittens.

We do the best we can.

We really do.

Cut us some slack.

Eventually it will stop snowing. The daffodils and tulips will dare to poke their heads out of the cold hard earth, and the trees will decide to sprout leaves. Things will green up. The thermometer will register above 60 degrees. Then, and only then, will I dare to step out of my sleeping bag coat.

What is the signature look in your neck of the woods?

I’m linking up with the fabulous folks at Yeah Write. Click on the hat to read good stuff from other peeps.

challenge100

tweet me @rasjacobson.com

What Made the Happy House Happy?

You left such positive comments about my recent post regarding our second home, I felt I needed to let you in on a little secret.

You know how I told you my husband fell in love with a sandy lot?

It’s true. The lot was nothing but sand when he first saw it.

But he also saw this:

IMG953164

Now you see why we call it “The Happy House”!

Talk about *erecting* a house.

What other construction related double-entendres can you think of?

Wow, I’m really *opening myself up* for this one.

If it helps, imagine you are building a home in Florida.

Speaking of which, I wonder if it is *warm and wet down there*.

tweet me @rasjacobson

NOTE: This was my 469th post. You can’t make this stuff up.

 

The Annual De-Gift and Re-Gift Party

Some of you might remember the Seinfeld episode where Tim Whattley re-gifts a label maker that Elaine Benes has given him. That dang thing ends up getting passed all over town. If you don’t remember, here’s a quick refresher:

Don’t remember that?

Well then surely you remember when Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer accidentally lands on “The Island of Misfit Toys,” where unwanted playthings with cosmetic or physical flaws live until the island’s ruler, King Moonracer, can find homes for them?

Why am I babbling about old label makers and effed up toys?

For several years now, the members of my neighborhood book club have gathered after the winter holidays and, in lieu of discussing a book, each of us brings one gift that is so freaking craptastic we just have to get it out of the house.

And give it to someone else.

You know, because one woman’s trash is another woman’s treasure.

Last night was our Annual De-Gift & Re-Gift Party.

After everyone ate their fill of yummy nom-noms and slurped down some wine, our host told us it was time to get to it. We circled her coffee table where all the bags of horror sat sagging in their repurposed wrapping paper. The rules for this year’s swap were quickly established.

Same as last year.

  • We would go in numeric order.
  • When it was someone’s turn to pick, that person could either select a new gift or steal a gift that had already been opened.
  • Once an item had been swapped three times, that item could no longer be stolen.
  • Don’t leave unwanted gifts at the host’s house. Or else.

Our host handed us numbers that she had scribbled on slips of yellow paper. I must have been born under a star or something because I got the highest number, which meant that I was going to see most, if not all, of the goods that came before it would be my turn to pick, thus ensuring my victory would be sweet.

Here’s how it went down.

Kate went first. Reaching into her bag, she revealed two pairs of holiday socks and the windshield scraper Santa might use on his car. You know, if he didn’t have a garage and the reindeer were tired, and Mrs. Claus needed to pick up a few items from Bed, Bath & Beyond up there at the North Pole.

photo1

After she showed everyone her goods, Kate burst into laughter and confessed that she’d picked the gift she’d tried to dump on us brought to the table last year. Like the mythical holiday fruitcake, Kate’s bag o’crap had returned to her.

Bonnie wound up with some fabulous sunglasses and other sundry items. Every single item in her bag was solid gold. Unfortunately, they cannot be shown here. (Look, I am not a fool. And I know not to look one particular gift horse in the mouth.)

IMG_  68

Liz unwrapped a frog ring, which broke the instant she put it on her finger. But she also got the Wine Bottle Sock Monkey, which she assured us would make a great puppet for her sons to play with.

IMG_  62

Cindy #1 took home the enormous cranberry scented candle that thought it was a lamp. Seriously, check out that shade. The thing weighed eleventy-six tons. Look how excited Cindy is!

IMG_  63

Cindy #2 scored a pair of faux-gold earrings circa 1986. And look! She’s set for Valentine’s Day with the Spin-The-Bottle-Button.

IMG_  64

Lori got the Garden Gnome Salt & Pepper Shakers. I know that someone out there would love these. But probably not Lori.

IMG_  65

You cannot really appreciate the bedazzled, super glittery handles on the faboo 4-piece cheese spreader set that Mary Jo landed. At first, we thought the handles were filled with Goldschlager. But no. Everyone agreed the spreaders were very functional and stabby.

IMG_  67

Theresa selected a well-endowed snowman whose nether region consisted of three different color candles. When this fact was called to everyone’s attention, the embarrassed snowman promptly lost a leg. (Look at the poor snowman’s face!)

IMG_  66

I peed in my pants a little when I won the box of Whitman’s chocolates. I told you my ending was sweet! That’s called punny foreshadowing, people.

IMG_  69

No matter what we tossed in the donations pile brought home last night, we were all winners because caring is sharing. No. Because each time the members of book club get together, we learn more about each other. Once, I Tricked My Book Club Into Writing. (They forgave me.) So whether we yadda yadda yadda about books, share life lessons, or trade playthings from “The Island of Misfit Toys,” it is always a delight. I am blessed to have these women as neighbors and plan to enjoy our ever-evolving reindeer games for a long time.

Anyone else have non-book-related book-club traditions? What else do you do in your book club besides drink wine talk books?

tweet me @rasjacobson

Fifty Shades of Humiliation Featuring a Guy in a Gray Suit

Recently, I showed you the line-up of amazing bloggers who committed to sharing their most embarrassing moments over the course of the year. If you surf Twitter, you will be able to find the series under the hashtag #SoWrong. And a lot of other crazy shizz, too. Probably. Last week it occurred to me that it wouldn’t be right if I didn’t share one of my own heinous moments. Gulp. Here it is.

SoWrong

Click on the eyeball to see who else is participating in this series!

During high school, I worked at a department store in a local mall. At its peak, the chain had ten locations, and I spent many afternoons, weekends and vacations behind the costume jewelry counter, helping blue-haired ladies decide between faux-pearl earrings and plastic white clip-ons.

When I came home from college in the winter of 1985, I learned I’d be working in fine jewelry where black surveillance cameras hovered over the display cases.

Dude looked a little like this. Seriously. Look at those chompers. And that chin.

Seriously. Look at those chompers. And that chin.

One day, a man in an expensive gray suit leaned against the glass case where the 24k gold was kept and flashed me his whitest smile.

My heart beat loud in my chest. Gray Suit was cute. I wondered if he was single.

“Is there something you’d like to see?” I asked, hoping he would say something like: You. I’m here for you.

“Didn’t Carol tell you?” Gray Suit asked, invoking the name of my supervisor.

When I shook my head, Gray Suit frowned. My teenage heart dropped.

“Let’s start over.” Gray Suit outstretched his hand.

We shook hands the way my father always said was indicative of a person with character: firm and not too quick to release.

His lips moved. “I’m John Stevens, the gold rep. I come to swap out the inventory occasionally.” He set a hard, silver briefcase on the floor, bent over and produced several, rose-colored velvet bags, which he set on the glass countertop, careful not to leave messy fingerprints.

“I need you to get the keys from that drawer over there and put everything inside these bags.”

John flashed his dimples.

Isn’t it so sparkly and pretty?

I bit my thumb. “I think I should probably wait until Carol gets back from lunch…”

John glanced at his watch. “I still have to get to North Syracuse, Camillus and Clay.” I could feel his frustration. “Carol should have told you I was coming.” John shook his head. “I guess I’ll go see Mr. Big Boss…” He leaned over to lift the handle of his briefcase.

And I should have let him go.

Oh, I should have let him go.

But I was 18-years old.

And I didn’t want my supervisor to get in trouble with Mr. Big Boss.

And there was this small stupid part of me that hoped that John Stevens, the hot guy with the great smile, might want my phone number. Or something.

ninasophia-dY6NRHMd9Ys-original

Image courtesy of Nina Strelov via Fotopedia

So I did as I was told.

I drifted over to the drawer where the key laid waiting inside a small white cup. And somehow I was pushing the tiny tarnished key into the lock. Once the lock was off, I slid open the doors, dropped to my knees, dragging all the gold into one clunky pile.

John handed me a velvet bag, which I filled and set atop the empty display case. He smiled as he flipped open his briefcase and placed the bag inside. He tapped the top of the tall earrings tower with his fingertips.

“I’m going to bring everything out to the van, and then I’ll come back with the new inventory.”

I nodded. Of course he would.

“We don’t like to leave the cases empty for long.” John explained, shifting his weight from one foot to the other. “Every minute the case is empty, we lose potential sales.”

He promised he’d be right back.

When Carol returned from her break, I told her John had been there.

“Who?” she asked absently as she tidied up around the cash register.

“The gold rep” I said. “You just missed him. He took the old gold, but he should be back with the new stuff any minute.”

Carol looked at me with big eyes.

And then I knew.

I was a stupid girl.

My idiocy was confirmed when Carol stood in front of the empty display case and held her hand up to her throat, like something was burning there. “How long has he been gone?”

The words caught in my mouth. “About five minutes.”

Notoriously unflappable, Carol stomped her heel on the floor and swore.

I had done something really bad.

Okay the chair wasn't quite like this, but still.

photo courtesy of jeltovsky at morguefile.com

In Mr. Big Boss’s office, I sat in the naughty chair and wept. As he questioned me, I remembered something. “The cameras! He was standing in front of one of the cameras the whole time!”

I was elated. Thank goodness. We could get the footage and give it to the police. We would be able to catch the bad guy.

Mr. Big Boss rubbed his huge palm over his bald head and looked at me with soft eyes. He could probably tell I was confused. “The cameras aren’t real. They’re there to deter theft, but there’s no film inside. That guy probably knew they were fake. He seemed to know everything else.”

And, I thought, he knew how to work me.

I was sure I was going to be fired.

I braced myself for it.

Instead, Mr. Big Boss called the day “a learning experience.”

It was not the first time nor would it be the last time that a boy would trick me.

But it was a very embarrassing moment: the day I swapped nearly 10K in gold for a phony smile.

The fancy department store where I worked opened its doors in 1896. In 1992, the corporation filed for bankruptcy and four stores closed. Under pressure from creditors, Mr. Big Boss, grandson of the founder, sold the company and its remaining stores in 1994, just two years short of their 100-year anniversary.

I have always felt partially responsible.

Have you ever done something incredibly stupid at work?

tweet me @rasjacobson