The steward said We have a very good Margaux, or – he made a kissing gesture with his fingers – a Laffite-Rothschild. But it’s a bit more expensive.
Yeah, Chip said nodding with a grin it would be.
I knew he was only being funny. Our employees, particularly the production staff in New Jersey, were a United Nations. At other times, when he’d said things like they wouldn’t Jew us, or he’s hymie, I silently understood it was just the prevailing culture talking. But this time that snide reference to Jewishness riled me. I could feel myself reddening. Maybe it was the build-up of such remarks, or delayed reaction from that earlier bizarre scolding. After the steward had turned away I burst out with Do you realize what you just said?
Terry looked up sharply. Iz, Chip didn’t mean...
I know. But stereotypes hurt. And lead to the gas chambers.
Chip raised an eyebrow. And looking at his handsome face and figure, in the flawless pin-striped suit, he was so perfect... I regretted my assault. It’s okay. You’re not alone I said. The world simply doesn’t like Jews. They’ve never forgiven us for inventing God.
Oh, come on! Terry said. There were gods before Jews.
Of course I replied, becoming even more heated. But the imaginative leap from that to a single, invisible, omnipotent, universal God was new. Besides, Jews have always been disturbing. A handful of people in population terms, yet we’ve shaken the world over and over again: Moses, Jesus, Marx, Freud, Einstein...
But not you Terry said. You weren’t there. You didn’t do those things.