Actually, it was 86…okay okay, 79. But really, I stopped counting after 60. I don’t know when the idea came to me. I was on my way to shul yesterday, and here in Jerusalem there are no cars on the street on Yom Kippur, so everyone was walking. As I went out of my house, I just started saying “Shana Tova.” Then as I started passing more people, I continued. Then, I don’t know why, I decided, “Hey, I could keep this up.” I started noticing that I would only say it to people who I thought would answer me back, so I decided to make myself say it to everyone I met, regardless of if I thought they would answer. It was hard. I could see some faces that looked very mean or cold, but I did it anyway. Then the more I did it, the more I got into it. I decided to start counting. I got to Keren Hayesod and I was already up to 20. I started feeling a little high, like I was Moshiach on a wheelchair instead of a donkey and I was going to announce the building of the third Beis Hamikdash.
What was really great was the unexpected answers and even more great was that some of the people who looked like motherfuckers, suddenly smiled and said, “Shana Tova.” Some people even gave me an entire bracha and wished me an easy fast. Philipinos and Sri Lankans (foreign workers here), answered me in Hebrew, “Shana Tova.” And kids too, even tough 12 year old boys with their bike gangs answered me.
Today, the day after, I’m continuing this. I’m saying “Boker Tov” to everyone I see on the street, in stores, or in cafes. I’m especially forcing myself to say it to people who I know I don’t like. The thing is, they answer me, and then because of that, I feel less hatred towards them. When someone does not answer me, I try not to hate his fucking guts, which is also good practice for me. So it greatly reduces the hate I feel in general, of which I have copious amounts. As a side benefit, it makes me feel powerful (as opposed to my usual feeling of powerlessness) that I can change someone’s temperament, even for a few seconds. That almost gives me a hard on. And talking about hard ons, of course behind it all, I think that a beautiful woman is going to witness me doing this, and start chasing after me in my wheelchair. She’ll scream, “Stop stop, I have to talk to you! You’re incredible!”
We’ll see. This is probably some post-Yom Kippur hangover.