the writing and photography of Neil Kramer

Letter from Iran


Today is Passover.   It’s one of my favorite holidays, because of the food and the re-telling of the dramatic story of the Israelites leaving Egypt.   Who cares how true it is!  I perfectly understand weaving a tale filled with half-truths and exaggerations.  Maybe the Israelites just crossed a little river, but who’s going to see that movie OR join that religion?  Let’s make it the entire RED SEA!  And let’s give it some action, with the Pharoah and the Egyptians at their heels, racing to capture them.

Sadly, the Middle East is still a place of conflict and hatred.   Arabs hate Israelis.   Sunnis hate Shiites.   Our troops are fighting in Iraq.   Iran is creating nuclear weapons. 

I hate to sound Pollyannish, but I think we’re all basically the same at heart.  If you’re a man — I don’t care if you are from Toledo or Timbuktu — you have the same SEVEN BASIC worries as every other man.

1)  Can I get a date to the prom?

2)  Will my wife still look good in twenty-five years or will she look like her mother?

3)  Is there any safe way to make my penis even bigger?

4)  Is this the clitoris and should I ask her to make sure?

5)  Why do I make such a small salary?

6)  Why do the assholes from college always become the most successful ones?

7)  Boxers of briefs?

We think we are different culturally, mostly out of pride or nationalism, but it isn’t true.  We are all the same.  And every once in a while there is a brave hero who acknowledges that.

One of these heroes is Hedieh.    Hedieh lives in Iran.  He wrote me this email from Iran.  Af first I thought it was spam, but it is actually from Iran —

I have no idea how inconvenient this might be to write you an e-mail, but I thought it might be interesting for you to know that someone reads your blog from IRAN.
I was once browsing through weblogs trying to find one who talks about life, women, family, tough times, a bit of politics,…. And I came across your blog.  I started reading, and before I know it, I had been scrolling down for hours. Anyhow, just wanted to let you know that I truly enjoy your writing, your ideas and your style.
Oh, and you are funny, really.

Cheers to you Hedieh.   I knew it!  Deep down in their hearts, all men enjoy corny sex jokes!   In fact, wasn’t it the great Persian love poets of the Safavid era who combined both mysticism and erotic passion? 

Can blogging create world peace?  Hedieh, please tell you friends about some of the other blogs on my blogroll.  Read them carefully.    A bunch or weirdos, right?   Neurotic.  Horny.  Confused.  But dangerous?  War-monging?   Nah.   The just want to eat hummus, have orgasms, and watch sports on big-screen TVs, just like you do!   Why can’t we all get along?

May peace come about through blogging!  Happy Passover!

(update — this post makes less sense now that I learned that Hedieh is a woman!)

Thanks for the mention about “The Secret,” Star Tribune of Minneapolis-St.Paul.   I love Minneapolis, home to such wonderful people as Voix de Michele, Not Faint Hearted, and Mary Tyler Moore.

A Year Ago on Citizen of the Month:  Double Entendres and Croissants


  1. Rhea

    I am just fixated on the photograph of the matzohs at the top of your post. I searched all over for a good picture of matzohs for my own post today and never came across anything like that. I guess I’m envious. Happy Pesach!

  2. Not Faint Hearted

    Uh. Hello? So, you admit to knowing only one blogger from Minneapolis? Since there are at least two of us, you and Sophia should make the trip.

    Aside from my ego being a bit bruised about being forgotten by you, Neilochka, I 100% totally agree with you about all of us basically wanting the same things.

    And the women of the world? We want about the same 7 things too, but I’m not going to tell you what they are. 😉

    In all sincerity though, have a wonderful celebration.

  3. rach

    2 out of 2 ain’t bad Neilochka, I don’t like big screen sports…….haha!
    1. There is always a way
    2. To ensure she doesn’t look like her mum, she needs weekly facials, mainicures and pedicures plus a personal trainer to the house 3 times per wk. All a gift from her doting husband
    3. Nope, nothing is without risk especially where the little bloke is concerned
    4. Wiggle it about a bit then you’ll know
    5. I have no idea at all
    6. Cos they allowed the big boys to bugger them senseless, the big boys are now the employers and every secret should be kept……sssssshhhhh
    7. briefs


  4. Susanne

    Neil, as dissapointing as it might sound, Hedieh is a woman’s name. And it is not one of those Stacey/Tracy male/female names. It means ‘gift’ and is a beautiful name as are all Iranian women.
    But it is true, we are all the same, and I can assure you that we women also have seven basic worries which also include (among others) looks, sex and money.

  5. You can call me, 'Sir'

    I refused long ago to get dragged into the streak-stained mortal combat that occurs between people who wear boxers and those wearing briefs. I wear boxer-briefs for the support of the brief, yet the freedom and compassion shown by the noble boxer. I have truly found the middle ground in a divisive issue. I should apply for a job at the UN.

  6. Neil

    Hedieh is a woman?! Finally, I meet a woman who understands me, and she lives in Iran!

    I’m sorry, Hedieh if you are reading this.

  7. kapgar

    I may be completely ignorant of Jewish culture, but are those Triscuits?

    JK… I’m not that ignorant. Contrary to popular belief.

  8. Blitz Krieg

    I may be completely ignorant of Jewish culture,(Even though I’ve seen all the Curb episdoes.) but are the matzohs always burnt like that?

  9. Dagny

    And here I was dreaming of going to Saul’s but I think I need to stay away. Because that place is always crazed on Passover.

    And you thought a woman was a male? Hmmmm. That might explain some things.

  10. Hilly

    Oh Kevin, you totally DID think those are Triscuits.

  11. Rabbit

    Wow, I don’t think I appeal to an international crowd yet. Maybe once I get over a dozen readers.

  12. Leah

    According to the amount of spam I get dedicated to enlarging one’s penis, I would assume that someone has come up with a way. (Not quite sure yet why I am getting penis spam…but that’s another story.)

    And I’m going to go down on record for boxers. Unless you have the type of ass that someone could bounce a quarter off of AND you’re a professional sports player.

  13. peefer

    Regarding #3 (Is there any safe way …?), this is entirely true; however more accurately, the safety part is only considered after a few humiliating and/or painful experiences.

    I love being your crush, Neil. Oh, mama.

  14. Karl

    Yeah, but they’re Kosher Triscuits.

  15. churlita

    So cool about your Iranian props. I think you are on your way to the Nobel peace prize. You’ll be the first blogger ever to receive it.

  16. steppingoverthejunk

    How did you not know that was a woman? I am totally laughing.

  17. fringes

    Neil, how do you keep getting these mainstream mentions? The Times Online, now this, probably others that I have forgotten. That’s pretty awesome, but are you sending out press releases or something?

  18. Lefty

    The update was the best part of the post. I guess your theory has to go back to the drawing board.

    Or, could it be?! Are WOMEN and MEN all just the same deep down inside?

    No way.

  19. V-Grrrl

    Hmmm, married 25 years and thinking, “At least I don’t look like HIS mother–then where would our sex life be?”

  20. better safe than sorry

    i like men in boxers myself, in case you’re taking a poll
    i saw passover bread in the bakeshop this week, i thought it was a giant hot cross bun, i’ve never seen it before.

  21. Neil

    Triscuits?! What goys I have as readers.

    Fringes — I owe it all to my well-connected publicity department.

  22. Karla

    The desire for world peace is so last year. I’m trying to create total destruction through blogging.

  23. Jack

    Chag Sameach Neil.

  24. ned

    Hi, Neil. Just wanted to say that reading your blog is a very satisfying experience. The warmth, the un-forced humor, and the intelligent nature of your observations make me feel as if I am sitting in a room with you. I will be in Flushing on Sunday, a week from today, watching our New York Mets take on the Washington Nationals. That is, unless they keep me on the tarmac at Newark Liberty for three days.

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