The Turtle Project

My father likes to say that the key to successful humor is “repetition, repetition, repetition.”   He believes that jokes get funnier the more you hear them, and that repeated punch lines breed familiarity which breeds laughter. And as much as it pains me to admit it, my father is right. In this case.  It’s why Who’s On First is still side-splittingly hilarious even after my first grade teacher made us diagram the field, it’s why Talladega Nights quotes will never fail to make my mother dissolve in to laughter, and  it’s why watching Monty Python’s Holy Grail is about 300% better with friends who shout out all the lines.


So, when I make a joke I like to commit. It’s one thing to have a funny one-liner.  It’s another thing to build a joke, through layers and repetition and possibly through the continual annoyance of your computer science professor.


Which brings us to turtles. 

Summer Scrapbook

This is my summer scrapbook.


I talk all the time about life being made up of moments and of stories and about how I want to remember all of it, and how the way that I’m able to do that is through what I write. Committing moments to paper helps cement them in my mind and in my memory. It makes the silly moments feel sincere, the sincere moments feel true, and it helps me feel a little bit more like I have a grasp on the time I’ve lived through.


It’s the fourth day of Hanukah and already my menorah is covered in wax. It drips down the arms and covers the base and gets stuck where the candles are supposed to be placed. It needs to be cleaned. So I’ll clean it.


This year the world lost someone who was very special to me. Someone who was a mentor to me, but also a friend. Someone who I cared for, and who cared for me. Her name was Vicki and she worked at Camp Harlam with me, but I feel like calling us “co-workers” does a disservice both to our relationship and to the work we did.

Maybe Someday

It’s 10:15 AM and I am kneeling on the dusty ground clearing blood off a cut on a 12 year old boy’s leg. I’m wearing a bright pink shirt that reads “Senior Staff” on the back, cut off jean shorts, a name tag and a tie-dyed tallit that is long enough that as I kneel it brushes the ground. I’m using a tissue and a water bottle and a band-aid and a little bit of love to solve a small problem.


It’s about an hour before I am going to read Torah for the first time.

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© 2017 by Jordan Pelavin