In 2013 the world was introduced to the nightmarish dystopia of The Purge. But what it, and its sequel The Purge: Anarchy failed to envision was how a normal, upper-middle-class family of Jews might spend that annual fateful night when “for the next 12 hours, all crime is legal”? Fortunately, Heeb contributor Jon D.A. has uncovered a series of very private journal entries describing how one typical Jewish family copes with a society run amok in…
The Purge: The Rosenberg Diaries
7:00 pm — It’s Purge night again. We’ve all just woken up, having spent the day sleeping to fortify ourselves for the night ahead. We’re sitting quietly around the dinner table when my older brother Max – perhaps in an attempt to feign normalcy – announces he’s turned his passion for smoking weed into a career at a glass-blowing studio that makes the “finest artisan bongs in East-Texas.”
Mom lobs the first passive-aggressive salvo of the day when she exclaims: “Blowing glass? Why, you’re just like Gail Chihuly!”
We’re not sure if she’s sincere or is just being deeply, deeply sarcastic, a nuance which explains why we do not correct her mistake: we are too afraid. The Purge is here. It’s going to be a long night.
9:15 PM — After dinner we play Monopoly, a family Purge-day tradition. Mom reminds us that we will not fight or bicker as in years past and, most importantly, “We are going to have fun, goddammit!”
The game goes on for three hours without incident but is quickly derailed when an argument about the fake money Max has borrowed from the bank segues into an argument about the very real money he has borrowed from my parents.
We do not have fun.
12:33 AM — We order a midnight snack from my father’s favorite Chinese food restaurant. The deliveryman arrives promptly (clad in bullet proof vest) but confesses that he dropped the steamed broccoli after being attacked by a heavily armed Zumba class.
My father, while sympathetic, refuses to tip, even after we notice the artillery cannon poking out of the deliveryman’s backpack.
“I’m sorry I’m such a jerk…” he says, sounding contrite but then adding, “…not! It’s the Purge! Lighten up people.”
We are so ashamed, we do not even mock his archaic and embarrassing 90s slang.
1:45 AM — The delivery guy shells our house for an hour but barely makes a dent. My father relishes the opportunity to remind my mother that the discount titanium siding he bought would work just as well as the full-price stuff.
“You can’t put a price on safety,” he says ostensibly to himself, but really to all of us, “but that doesn’t mean you have to pay full price.”
Frustrated, the delivery guy leaves but not before he pisses on our lawn. Max and I both agree that we kind of had it coming.
4:03 AM — I retreat to my room for much needed alone time. Unfortunately, Mom barges in on me enjoying the company of myself. Rather than hastily exit and never mentioning it again, she admonishes me, “You’re going to rip it off, you keep going at it that hard. My God, I thought the delivery man had gotten into the house.”
She finally leaves but not before wondering aloud if “this” is the reason I can’t find a nice Jewish girl. She then offers to pay for a subscription to JDate.
5:16 AM – It’s time for champagne, another Purge tradition. My parents spend fifteen minutes chittering about the excellent deal they got on the bottle, purchased the day after last year’s Purge, a time when prices are low because everyone is literally and figuratively picking up the pieces of their shattered lives.
The conversation turns to what they’re planning to buy tomorrow. My brother lobbies hard for a Sodastream, but Dad shoots him down.
“I don’t care how cheap it is, our family doesn’t cross the green line.”
6:23 AM – The traditional, post-champagne fight. Mom won’t speak to Dad because he told a joke, the punch line of which was “your cankles.”
Max yells at Mom after she had the gall to suggest that East Texas might not welcome a Jewish purveyor of the marijuana arts.
Everyone is pissed at me because I drank the champagne while they were arguing.
The fighting is interrupted when a Molotov cocktail hits our living room window. The flames dance across the two-foot thick plexi-glass and the syrupy orange light lulls us into silence.
In this moment, and there’s one like it every year, we forget that we pretty much hate each other. We remember that we’re a family and family is what matters in a world of state sanctioned citizen-on-citizen violence.
But then the flames die out and Mom starts to cry and Max storms off muttering, “I need to chief,” and Dad has passed out and as the sun starts to rise, I remember that I’m so fucking thankful the Purge only comes once a year.