I’m a very very bad man.
I borrow a friend’s Saturn and drive to the Luxe on Sunset Monday night for the David Horowitz Freedom Center event promoting Sharansky’s new book, Defending Identity: Its Indispensable Role in Protecting Democracy.
I park a few hundred yards away on a side street to get free parking.
I notice I’m in the red, so I try to restart my car.
The key won’t turn in the ignition.
I struggle, I curse, I twist and turn.
Behind me, two Mormon-looking Hispanic blokes are trying to fix a tire.
They exude inner peace despite outward distress.
They ask me for the nearest Pep Boys. I say it’s five miles away on Pico and Westwood Blvds.
I’m freaking out.
I pull out my cell phone to call my friend.
Her phone is out of commission.
I try to send a text.
My cell phone says my battery is about to die. I just charged it. Damn, I’m gonna have to buy a new cell phone.
There goes that new set of shas (Talmud) I was hoping to buy.
I race to text "Emergency: Key won’t turn" to my friend before the battery dies.
I just pull it off.
I’m a sweaty nervous wreck.
What Sharansky went through with the KGB is nothing compared to my suffering.
There’s a big crowd. Over 100 powerful people. Lots of Jews. Some youngies. Some hotties.
My mind is on the ignition.
My psyche is locked. My Mac Attack won’t fire.
I run into this Japanese woman who can barely speak English.
I say my name.
She holds my gaze.
After ten seconds, just as I’m about to look away, she says, "Luke Ford. Such a Biblical name."
"Thank you. It’s my real name."
"I know. I can tell. You’re very authentic. You have this deep calmness. You are pure. You are pure like water. Like you can see right through to the bottom. Some people are like dirty water. You don’t want to look at them. I don’t bother with them. I’m an artist. I don’t paint objects. I paint what my heart tells me. Abstract paintings. And sculpture."
This is just what I need — an affirmation of my purity.
I’ve got enough platonic female friends to vouch for my purity.
They keep me pure through their lack of interest.
It’s better that way.
I put my bag down up front. Gotta save a seat close to the great man.
He went up against the KGB for his beliefs. He spent more years in prison than I spent wanking. He’s a hero.
I can’t wait to hear him talk.
I just want to lay my eyes on him.
I want to be able to drop into conversation, "When I was talking with Natan Sharansky the other day, he agreed with me that the best way to get a woman’s phone number was to…"
I get a cup of hot mint tea.
I come back and find that my seat has been usurped.
I’m a man and I must act in a manly fashion even if all the women in my life think I’m safe.
I shove the books on to the next seat and take my rightful place.
I strike up a conversation with the bloke next to me.
"Luke?" he says. "That’s not a Jewish name."
A beautiful blonde comes over. Georgette Gelbard — the Aussie publicist/manager to the conservative stars such as Daniel Pipes.
"Luke, you’re in my seat," she says.
"This is my seat. Look I had my bag here."
"If you want to protect a seat, you can’t just put your bag under it. You have to drape something over it.
"It’s the three of us."
I can’t believe I’m fighting for my seat against a beautiful woman.
Where are my values?
Where is my decency?
Where is my pride?
I’m such a putz.
What happened to my pure soul?
"I’ll move over a seat," I say.
Georgette and her friends sit down.
I push the bloke next to me over one and keep grumbling about how I put my bag down so I could have the seat I just gave up.
Why am I whinging about such tawdry matters when a leader of the Jewish people is about to speak?
After the introductions, Natan Sharansky takes the mic.
I’m going to learn about goodness and freedom and courage from a modern hero.
I listen intently to his gravelly heavily accented voice and, HaShem strike me down right now, it’s just not erotic for me.
I don’t like Natan Sharansky’s voice. I don’t like listening to him. I find I don’t give a flip about the importance of identity. If this is what freedom means, then I want to be a slave.
I can’t take it.
I want to be in a hot tub with my lawfully wedded wife.
I want to get a massage right now.
I want to study Torah with a beautiful rabbi.
I want to watch television.
I want to go bowling.
I want to do anything but sit here and listen to Natan Sharansky.
If he wasn’t such a big freakin’ hero, I’d get up and walk out right now.
When is he going to stop?
It’s been an hour.
I can’t handle this much goodness.
I need some sleaze.
Help me, I’m drowning in righteousness.
Oh lordy, Rosh Hashanah services weren’t this boring.
If Ovadiah Yosef is so smart, how come he can’t speak English?
What is the world’s shortest book? Luke Ford: What I Believe.
I’m such a bad bad man.
I can see myself at Mount Sinai. "Five commandments? Enough already! Who needs more? When is this guy going to stop speaking? No adultery? What a downer! Man, as soon as this Moses bloke is gone, I’m going to organize an orgy and sacrifice to a golden calf. Egypt was better than this. At least we had cable TV. We could pick up dirty magazines at the 7/11. The discos were open late."