When I was a kid, maybe in preschool or kindergarten, my parents, sister, and I were sitting around the dinner table one summer evening, eating and chatting.
All of a sudden, my happily married parents slipped into an argument about something as couples do from time to time—I have no idea what about. I sensed the fight between my mom and dad, two people who usually presented a unified front. And I didn't like it one bit.
To break the tension and change the subject, I went to the happy place of any Jewish kid—Purim, one of the most joyous holidays on the Jewish calendar. What was odd was it was summer; the last grogger had been wound many months before and the next mask was not to be donned for many months to come. Yet, with Purim being one of the highlights of my kid social calendar back then, Mordechai, King Achashverosh, and the rest of the gang in Persia were still occupying my mind.
On that summer night, I wanted my loved ones to stop fighting and join me in my jovial conversation about the holiday—the sparkling tiara and bright red lipstick that I got to wear for my Queen Esther costume, hamentashen (!), Purim carnivals, we could even discuss our enemy Hamen—anything to get them to stop fighting.
"Let's talk about Purim," I belted out to my loved ones at the top of my Alvin and the Chipmunk-pitched kid lungs. Apparently, my parents thought it so sweet that their daughter was trying to act as a pint-sized Ghandi that they forgot about their fight and broke into stitches.
Ever since then, decades later, no matter if Purim is approaching or not, when an unpleasant or sticky subject arises in my family that we don't want to talk about, someone yells out "Let's talk about Purim."
What's funny is I was so little when we had that initial conversation about Purim, that I was too young to remember it until my parents told me about it years later. Until they told me the story, I was only familiar with my family's transitional code phrase for changing the subject.
I kid you not. For my entire childhood—and truthfully (embarrassingly) perhaps a little beyond—I assumed that the phrase "Let's talk about Purim" was a universal saying. I thought it was as cliché as the words, "Seize the day" or "The early bird catches the worm"—common knowledge among all people, not just the four members of my immediate family.
Now that I'm blogging about it, I guess it really no longer is our inside family joke. Feel free to adopt it as your own. It'll alleviate the tension on all kinds of awkward subjects.
Chag Sameach! Happy Purim!