the writing and photography of Neil Kramer

Tag: Filter For Good

Going Green

During my senior year at Columbia, I decided to become a Reform rabbi.  Why?  Well, I had taken a seminar on Jewish Thought and there was this cute brunette in the class.   She was somewhat religious, but more importantly, she had these very long legs… sigh.  Does it really matter what the motivation is when there is a calling to God? 

I went on an interview with a rabbi from the Reform seminary. 

“Why do you want to become a reform rabbi?” he asked.


It was probably an answer that I should have rehearsed earlier. 

Later on, when I had some time to myself, I finally came up with an honest answer. 

“I am interested in Judaism.  I like the traditions, moral outlook, and the rituals.  But I have a lot of doubts and I probably won’t remain religious for very long.  It’s a big commitment to go to temple on Saturday, stay kosher, and not to look down my Aunt Birdie’s blouse when I get drunk on the Manischewitz during Passover.  So, I figure it would be good to become a rabbi because then I would be GETTING PAID to be a super Jew, and it would be a lot easier to do.”

I tell this bizarre story because I just started writing for a group blog, The Brita FilterforGood’s “green” blog.  For the next several months, I will slowly be “going green,” telling you about my experiences on a weekly basis on the FilterforGood blog.

But I’m not going to pontificate.   Take note of this:  I am getting paid to do this. 

Yes, I am writing for a corporate blog, even if it is a socially-minded one.  I will be taking green steps in my life, but I cannot honestly say that I would be taking these steps on my own.  I will be like the rabbi who became a rabbi to get paid to be kosher.  That does not mean that I won’t become a dedicated “green” person or that I wouldn’t have become a wonderful rabbi after college.  It just means that, as of now, I have no right to lecture to you on this subject.  I know it is a pain in the ass to carry your own recyclable bag when you go shopping, especially if it is decorated with daisies, like my mother’s bag.   So feel free to question anything I say about the environment.  I want you to be as skeptical about anything I say, just like I am when I read your “do good” blogs sponsored by General Motors.  Think of me as your paid guinea pig.

Even if you don’t want to read my posts, you should read the other five contributors.  The are extremely caring and knowledgeable about green issues, and can actually explain global warming to you — Blake Makes, Melting Mama, teensygreen, green LA girl and long-time blogging friend and nemesis, Whoorl. 

All I ask from you is to comment every once in a while, so I don’t get fired.   My posts will go up on Monday.

And please — recycle.

Goody Two Shoes

Some of the comments on my last post about a “caring” Twitter account were difficult for me to read.  I hate being thought of as a “nice guy.”

“You’re a good egg!”  someone wrote.  “Such a humanitarian!”

Ugh.  Are you trying to ruin my love life?   All the hot male characters on “All My Children” are the “bad boys”  Ladies, be honest with me — would your rather have a raucous one night love-fest with Mister Rogers or Roger Federer?

I needed help with my image.  Damage Control.  Luckily, my friend Lisa works at a large PR firm in New York and we spent the day brainstorming in her Madison Avenue office overlooking 23rd Street.

“In today’s media environment, it’s all about appearance and branding.” she said.  “Most of us have several levels, but audiences can only focus on one dimension at a time.  There are thousands of informational points vying for attention in today’s multimedia world, and each broadcaster only gets enough time to send out a strong single throughline to the public arena through words, visuals, and actions.”

“I’m not sure I understand.”

“You need to ask yourself, “Who is Neilochka?” You present yourself as a goody-two shoes and then you complain about never getting laid.  The problem is not YOU.  You have more than one dimension.  The problem is that you project yourself in a singular fashion, like an image on a movie screen.  And that image is goody two shoes.”

“But I’m not really a goody two shoes.”

“Exactly!  That is why I can help you do, as a professional.  I can help you bring forth another facet of your personality, filtering out the static information you don’t want, changing how you are perceived by your readers and followers.”

“I don’t want to lie or create a false impression just to change my image.”

“Of course not.  But I am sure that you aren’t always nice.  Can you think of a situation recently where you were NOT NICE or a goody two shoes?”

“Well, uh, yeah.  I wasn’t that nice to my mother this morning.”

“That’s good.  Now we’re getting somewhere.  Tell me about it.”

“I woke up this morning and my mother was in the kitchen.  I sleep in the living room, so I was easily awaken.  She had some lame-o excuse for waking me up.

“I’m sorry, Neil.  But I wanted to make you a cheese omelet.  I know this is your favorite.”

I scratched my balls and sat at the kitchen table, unshaven.  She placed the cheese omelet in front of me, along with a glass of freshly squeezed orange juice.  I took a bite of the omelet, and I spit it out.

“What the f**k is this?”  I screamed.  “Do you call this a cheese omelet?”

“What’s the matter with it?”

“You used Swiss cheese!  You know I like Munster Cheese in my cheese omelet!”

“They didn’t have any Munster cheese in the supermarket.  A car smashed into the side of the store yesterday so they were only open half a day.”

“I don’t care!  Did you really expect me to eat THIS?”

I tossed the plate like a frisbee, smashing it against the wall, the cheese omelet sticking to the wall like putty.

“I’m not gonna eat this crap!  What kind of mother are you?!  I am so disappointed in you!”

I threw the glass of orange juice against the wall, just for dramatic effect, then stormed out, leaving my mother in tears.”

“That is perfect!” said Lisa, my PR friend.  “You must write a post about this.  You are such a BAD boy in that story!  The girls are gonna be getting wet just thinking about you!”

“Really?”  I cried, enthusiastically.  “Wow, that is terrific.  No more Mr. Goody Two Shoes for me!  And then, at the end of the post, I can tell them that — starting today — I’m going to start writing once a week for a really nice group blog about my attempts to go “green” to help save the planet!”

“Uh, no, bad boy.  Don’t write about that.”

(more tomorrow)

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