They’re selling the new Philip Roth book at the grocery store across the street from my office. It’s nestled on a shelf near Men’s Health and a gossip magazine with the headline “Bump Alert!” Apparently Angelina is pregnant again.

I’ve read the first thirty or so pages of Roth’s infamous Portnoy’s Complaint, mostly because my father told me it’s the only book of fiction he has ever read. Once I got through the chapter on how the protagonist whacks off to anything living or dead, I slipped the thing back on my shelf. Imagining my dad as a tween passing this book to his brothers, reading it late at night in the attic with the pool table in the big house he grew up in made me throw up in my mouth a little bit.

He proudly bought me my own copy of Portnoy’s at a lecture put on by Nextbook we went to around Mother’s Day. It was themed around Jewish Mothers, hosted by Susan Stamberg from NPR and featuring klezmer music from local sensations the Kosher Red Hots.

Near the start of the event, Ms. Stamberg asked the crowd, “How many of you have Jewish mothers?” Almost everyone in the auditorium at Benaroya, filled with several hundred people, raised their hand. My dad nudged me in the ribs with his free arm. “LOOK at all of them!” he exclaimed. Which sounds really horrible at first, except that he is so Very Truly Jewish. And it’s out of pure love and satisfaction, so much so that he looses his manners and blurts out something mortifying when he spots his kind. This happens everywhere—at Whole Foods, at the movies.

“I was at my butt doctor today,” my dad said as naturally as I love you, “and she said I seemed high-strung. I shrugged and said, “I’m Jewish.” Then she said she was, too! I should have known with the last name David, but still.”

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