A Member of the Intellectually Elite

The president of our seminary congratulated us at our graduation ceremony, “You are now members, he said, “of the intellectually elite!”

He paused and smiled.

Well, da-amn! I thought. Who woulda thunk?

Don’t get me wrong. I was glad to receive my Master of Divinity. It took a long time to achieve those eighty-four graduate hours, which was twice the size of many other graduate degrees. I was somebody now.

How smart does that make me? I didn’t have time to figure it out then because I was scrambling to replace the cap and tassel I had left at home.

I can’t worry about such matters anymore because I am one of the intellectually elite.

I was thinking about that at the DMV where it turns out no matter what kind of degree you have on the wall, they want your birth certificate, your social security card, and two other forms of identification before you can get your picture taken. I didn’t have all that with me and so they turned me away.

“But I’m a member of the intellectually elite!” I said. I could see how impressed the woman behind the counter was even as she hollered, “NEXT!”

These lower beings didn’t have the capacity to understand my situation, even if they could drive legally.

I couldn’t find my car when I got to the parking lot because I had forgotten where I parked it.

It started to rain. Being the intellectual I am, I had brought an umbrella but I had left it in the car. That diploma was really paying off as I wandered the lot looking for my car while getting drenched. Finally, I found it but then I couldn’t find my car keys. They weren’t in my pocket. Did I lock them in the car? I looked in the windshield but couldn’t see them.

I went back to the DMV office to call my wife because the battery on my phone was depleted, I didn’t need my birth certificate, social security card and two forms of ID to borrow a phone. I was still soggy when I sank into a chair to make the call. And that’s when I noticed that the keys were in my hand.

My graduate degree doesn’t do me much good in my new job, either. Turns out an Mdiv doesn’t equip me for making deli sandwiches. The customers aren’t impressed either.

“You didn’t put enough onion on mine!”

“I want those OTHER pickles!”

“Hey, I said I wanted Mortadella!” (I may be an intellectual, but I didn’t know what that was–sounded like a member of the Addam’s Family).

“Is there someone else who could make my sandwich?”

“You bet,” I said. “I’ll get one of my non-intellectuals friends–they’re a lot smarter than I am.

4 thoughts on “A Member of the Intellectually Elite

  1. i’m an Unverified Nobody and have attended schools ever since … ever. i only graduated from one school, though, and it was such a lousy school that i tore up my certificate and trashed it. i’ve also lived in Texas — for half of my 65 years, so i guess that qualifies me to give deli advice:


    there are certain criteria by which i judge the quality of a delicat-essen, to use the original German compound word for such a restaurant. here are the ones that i use:

    (1) is the sandwich bread firm enough to stand up to its contents? is it tasty on its own? or is it dry, crumbly, and more like tasteless cardboard than a sturdy peasant bread with a nice crumb, a chewy crust, and, in the case of deli rye, a goodly amount of caraway seeds? remember, good challah should have a thin but hard and shiny crust, as should the best deli rye. that’s what provides the best *chew factor*, IMO.

    (2) is the mustard sufficiently pungent? your nostrils should perk up in the presence of good mustard; whole-grain is preferable, but smooth, spreadable mustard has become ubiquitous. definitely be on the lookout for that vinegary je ne sais quoi, too.

    (3) is the pastrami well-marbled and adequately fatty? this is ESSENTIAL, as is the quality of the spice rub used to turn a plain brisket into a thing of beauty. like Goldilocks discovered — not too hot, not too cold, but just right. you’ll know it when you chew it.

    (4) how sour are the sour pickles and sour green tomatoes? i did NOT say, “How *crunchy* are the pickles and green tomatoes?” — it’s about the pucker factor, not the crunch. i don’t even know what inspired the preferencing of crunch to pucker in the first place. if anyone knows, add that information where we can learn from it, please. the key descriptor here is *sour*, not *crunchy*. the sourest ones are actually rather soft to the tooth, and that’s a Good Thing!

    those are the stripped-down basics, IMO. one thing that certainly SHOULDN’T be a factor is the amount of whatever meat is between the two (or three, if you’re eating a clubwich) slices of bread. that takes Katz’s Deli out of the running for the top spot, since only two criteria keep it relevant: (1) the ridiculous amount of sliced meat they are able to stuff between two inadequate slices of bread, and (2) it’s where Meg Ryan fake-orgasmed in WHEN HARRY MET SALLY. neither criteria impress me, at least.

    i also award extra points for any deli that offers a choice between bagels and bialys (MY favorites). and, for goodness’ sake — put egg creams on the menu, next to Dr. Brown”s Cream and Cel-Ray sodas (and their other flavors)! BTW, Dr. Brown’s soda is celebrating its 150th birthday in 2019! it truly IS the Real Thing. Coke didn’t even enter the picture until it converted and went kosher in the 1930s.

    Liked by 2 people

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s