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Sunday, November 15, 2009


My father is obsessed with coupons.

I don't know if they had them in Israel at the time he was growing up-- probably not. And he didn't seem to care about them back in the eighties and nineties, when we dined as a family at restaurants that served lobster and featured large, dead animals on the walls. No, my father's love affair with coupons began maybe three or four years ago.

He calls them "kyeeu-pons." And, if you make fun of either his infatuation or pronounciation, you will die.

Back when I was younger, somebody else was obsessed with the coupon circulars that would arrive at our house on Sunday mornings-- but he didn't live there. Dr. Porter, our elderly neighbor, would waddle over to our house in his wife-beater, torn cargo pants and Depression-era Florsheims with gaping holes in them. He would enter our home, unannounced, and nonchalantly walk into our dining room while our family would be having breakfast, while my sister and I were reading the comics over our bowls of Frosted Mini-Wheats. Dr. Porter was a saggy, very short man who waddled instead of walking. Half of his right thumb was missing, his ears stuck out like a vole's, and his black glasses had lenses that were cut from pilgrim-era church windows.

"Howdy, Sport!" he'd announce, to nobody in particular. He would proceed to ransack our newspaper for the coupons and, with a wave, he'd leave. Nobody ever seemed to find this routine the least bit peculiar.

Dr. Porter is long gone, and it's a good thing because, if he tried that shit today, my father would have exploded him with a home-made booby-trap at the front door. Nobody gets in the way of my father and his beloved kyeeu-pons.

They are all neatly arranged and categorized on a shelf above the kitchen sink at my parent's house. There's a little pile for pharma-related discounts, another for food and toiletry products, and yet another for restaurants. When my wife and I are over for a weekend dinner, my father routinely tries to pawn these off on me.

"Mummy," he'll say to me in a low, conspiratorial tone, "you like Ruby Tuesday?"


"I have buy one, get one. Dinner. Take it."

"No. I don't want it."

"Come on, you take your wife out--"

"Dad. That's enough."

My wife is a vegetarian. There is nothing for her to eat at Ruby Tuesdays besides mozzarella sticks and napkins. Besides, I don't care for the atmosphere. I'd sooner take her to dinner at the city morgue.

Nevertheless, my father still tries.

"Mummy-- you like Fridays? Free appetizers."

The food coupons he tries to pass off on us are no less absurd.

"Sveetie," he'll say, "you eat... uh... Reeetz crackers?"

"You like Eggo?"

"How about Nastle Qvuick?"

His accent just makes the offerings that much more funny and disturbing. Tonight, we're going to a party for my sister and her new husband, and, last night, he read the menu aloud to us.

"Siddur plunk chicken" was my personal favorite. It's better than it sounds, right?

This obsession, though, with coupons has not, I don't think filtered down to me. Maybe the gene is recessive and delayed. I could maybe develop it at anytime, maybe when I'm 57 or thereabouts. Today, my wife and I were in Rite Aid getting electric razor fluid (I have a fancy-schmanzy Braun Nazi shaver) and there was a coupon for a $5.00 rebate.

"You're going to get that rebate," my wife said to me, in that quaint, no nonsense way of hers. I sighed and rolled my eyes, indicating that I am one of those people who thinks the work and effort required to get five dollars is excessive-- forgetting, of course, that $5.00 was essentially my wage for 1/2-an-hour's work as an EMT.

"Sure," I said.

As I went online registering for an online Rite Aid account and putting all of my personal data in there, recording the transaction and register and store number and purchase date into the little form, I felt like I was taking that one step closer to becoming my father.

Except that he'd have no idea what to do with an online kyeeu-pon.


  1. oh man! i think i'm turning into yr father! and i'm only 34!

  2. I grew up calling them kyeeu-pons instead of koo-pons. Is that abnormal?

  3. Lynsi--

    Yes, it is abnormal. But only if you also call multiple police officers "policemens," refer to Delaware as "Dolly-wear" and you call celebrated actor Marlon Brando "Mer-LOHN Bran-dOH."


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