Jonathan Goldstein riffs on his Hebrew name, gifted students, space aliens, and other things he thinks you should know about him.
“When I was born, my mother gave me the Jewish name Chena,” says Jonathan Goldstein, “but the thing is, Chena isn’t really a Jewish name at all. It’s just crazy talk.” Nextbook invited Goldstein, a regular contributor to This American Life and author of the novel Lenny Bruce is Dead, to the Washington DC Jewish Community Center, where he read “A Dozen Things You Should Know About Me,” adapted from his journals.
Goldstein’s surreal stories often pivot on childhood memories. When his father takes him to a school for the gifted, a young Goldstein imagines himself “among a race of beings who, as a function of their incredibly superior intellects, were reading my mind,” he says. “They knew my little awful lonely brain was no match for their huge terrific brain.”
A sense of loneliness lingers for Goldstein, who years later wonders how he’d hold up under alien abduction: “Your spaceship smells so weird, I’d cry.” On his eventual return home, “There would be parades, and I’d probably even get some TV appearances, but in their hearts, the people of Earth will have renounced me.” In Goldstein’s world, other people can be as scary as space aliens.
Daily rate: $2
Monthly rate: $18
Yearly rate: $180
WAIT, WHY DO I HAVE TO PAY TO COMMENT?
Tablet is committed to bringing you the best, smartest, most enlightening and entertaining reporting and writing on Jewish life, all free of charge. We take pride in our community of readers, and are thrilled that you choose to engage with us in a way that is both thoughtful and thought-provoking. But the Internet, for all of its wonders, poses challenges to civilized and constructive discussion, allowing vocal—and, often, anonymous—minorities to drag it down with invective (and worse). Starting today, then, we are asking people who'd like to post comments on the site to pay a nominal fee—less a paywall than a gesture of your own commitment to the cause of great conversation. All proceeds go to helping us bring you the ambitious journalism that brought you here in the first place.
I NEED TO BE HEARD! BUT I DONT WANT TO PAY.
Readers can still interact with us free of charge via Facebook, Twitter, and our other social media channels, or write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Each week, we’ll select the best letters and publish them in a new letters to the editor feature on the Scroll.
We hope this new largely symbolic measure will help us create a more pleasant and cultivated environment for all of our readers, and, as always, we thank you deeply for your support.