Issue #108 – “Karo Syrup” – April 30th, 2007

-Oftentimes when people see my last name, they ask if I’m related to the makers of Karo Syrup – a popular brand of corn syrup that most twentysomethings have never heard of but that their parents have surely cooked with at some point.  I tell those who ask that, although I keep a bottle of Karo Syrup on my desk for good luck, the name is just a coincidence and unfortunately I’m not heir to the fructose fortune.  Lately, though, I’ve begun to think of Karo Syrup not just as the brown liquid on my desk with a whopping 63 carbs per serving, but, more symbolically, as the common bond between my family.  My parents, my sister, and I are an eccentric, idiosyncratic, and independent bunch.  It’s safe to say we’ve all decided not to drink the Kool-Aid… and opted for the Syrup instead.

-I can never tell my mom that I went out with a girl because she’ll inevitably ask me if we’re “going steady.”  Though I can’t help but snicker at my mom’s use of the phrase “going steady,” I usually just play along and tell her that I’ve even given the girl my letter jacket and fraternity pin.

-To me, talking to my parents is like being a producer for CNN – even if nothing is happening, I still have to come up with some sort of news to satisfy everyone.

-My dad calls my guy friends “the fellas” and refers to any type of pants that aren’t jeans as “dockers.”  This is actually progress.  He used to refer to jeans as “dungarees” but I convinced him to stop because all the fellas were making fun of him.

-My younger sister Caryn, who proofreads all these columns and, as longtime readers may recall, was accidentally given a name that rhymes with mine by our parents, seems like the nicest girl around.  But sometimes, she can be a colossal dick.  And since I can’t really relate to her usual altruistic behavior, it’s when Caryn is ripping into someone in private that we bond the most.  Our names may rhyme, but nothing brings a brother and sister closer together than calling someone else an asshole behind their back.

-I’d love to be able to text message with my parents, but they just refuse to learn.  Still, I hold out hope that one day I’ll be out with a girl, my phone will vibrate, and I’ll look down to see my mom’s number and the message “r u going steady?”

-Every once in a while I’ll rush my parents off the phone and tell them I’m too busy to talk, but a few minutes later I’ll get really worried that everything in the song “Cat’s in the Cradle” is coming true.

-Partaking of the Karo Syrup means a very serious responsibility to sacrifice for your family members.  For instance, my mother left her career to stay home and raise Caryn and me.  Of course, partaking of the Karo Syrup also means driving your family members fucking crazy.  And so, after only a few years, we aggravated my mom so much that she fled back to the workforce.  These days, with Caryn in Boston and me in Los Angeles, my parents are all alone in our house on Long Island.  Occasionally, I wonder if they miss us.  But then I call my parents with a pre-written list of personal news to discuss, only to be rushed off the phone because they’re too busy.  Somehow, I don’t think that’s how the song is supposed to go.

-As always, here are some random things I’ve been ruminating about lately…

-Guys leaving work should not throw on blue-tinted wraparound sunglasses.  You’re an accountant, not a centerfielder.

-Got a FedEx package the other day.  The envelope had the words “Extremely Urgent” on the flap.  But it wasn’t a sticker or handwritten – all the envelopes actually have “Extremely Urgent” pre-printed on them.  I think that dilutes the effect of the warning in the first place.  FedEx is like the boy who cried urgent.

-I’ve lived alone for two and a half years now and it’s so great that I can honestly say I’d be happy never living with another human again.  Perhaps the only downside is buying food.  I can’t eat a loaf of bread or finish a container of milk fast enough myself before it spoils.  I feel bad wasting food, but then again, I’d feel worse sharing a toilet, so fuck it.

-They’ve been playing Pink’s song “U + Ur Hand” incessantly on the radio.  From what I can surmise from the lyrics, she hates sloppy drunk dudes who hit on chicks at bars.  So essentially, me.  But frankly, if and when Pink ever even goes to a bar, I just can’t imagine she gets hit on that often.  Guys like me don’t generally go for the hot, rich, famous, married types.

-The fellas and I like to send each other funny YouTube clips all day.  But have you ever read some of the comments people write on these things?  Only about the first four comments are actually applicable to the video clip and then the thread inevitably devolves into everyone calling everyone else a douchebag before adding for entirely no reason, “Yankees suck!”

-Emailed with my friend Gadi the other day.  You might remember him as my high school buddy who moved to Tel Aviv last year because his “soul feels better there.”  I’m happy to say he’s doing very well and is still climbing the ranks as a trance music DJ.  In fact, he just played a huge trance festival in Acapulco.  The show started at midnight and he went on last at 11am – which I guess made him the headliner.  My favorite part is that his DJ stage name is E-Jekt.  I guess only in the Israeli trance music scene can you get away with calling yourself something that means “stop playing music.”

-And, finally, the Karo family had one of its finer moments two weeks ago when my sister ran the Boston Marathon.  Caryn is not exactly a runner, but she set this goal for herself, trained for it, and ran 26.2 mother-fucking miles.  This is the first marathon I had ever seen in person, and I have to admit, it was amazing.  The City of Boston comes out en masse to cheer the runners on (with plenty of BU and BC kids getting shitbombed along the route for good measure).   I jumped on the course near the end and ran the last leg with Caryn for moral support, and our parents cheered her on as she crossed the finish line.  Now, as I sit at my desk back in LA and look at my bottle of Karo Syrup, it reminds me that, however eccentric my family may be, we still make a pretty good team.  It’d be nice to be heir to a fructose fortune – but I’ll take son to a dad who wears dungarees any day.  Fuck me.