Israel Explained In 10 Words or Less

A few weeks ago during one of our guides’ meetings, Adam explained to us that we needed to become experts in the art of word economy. As poets crammed worlds of emotion and symbolism into the final couplet of a sonnet, so would we tighten our picks and insights.

I envisioned future conversations at concerts in McCarren Park.

Hip Guy in Ray-Bans: So, what do you do?
Me: I’m a writer.
Hip Guy (raising one eyebrow from beneath Ray-Bans): Yeah, what kind of writer?
Me: An Internet poet.
Hip Guy (breaking into un-brushed, smoky smile): Whoa. So, like, a real writer.

And, future conversations at Happy Hour on the Upper East Side.

Stiff Guy in Brooks Brothers Shirt: Before I approve you for conversation, I have to ask: What do you do?
Me: I’m an economist.
Stiff Guy (hiding mild confusion by smoothing his hair): Oh, are you? What sort?
Me: A word economist.
Stiff Guy (blinds me with professionally bleached teeth): Thank god. I thought you were going to say you worked for Bear.

So, essentially, not yet 25, and all my dreams were coming true. Of course, actually being a word economist is far more difficult than having inane fantasies about its implications. Last week, I was put to the test when I got assigned to write an Israel Travel Tale. When I got back from Israel, I had over 90 pages written about it, but in order to meet Dulcinea’s High Standards, I was going to have to tell my story in 750 or less. I’m proud to say that its earliest, un-edited version, my tale was just under 900 words, and the one you see on the site now meets the 750 word cut-off.

I read it today and I felt inspired–invigorated. I had no idea it was possible to say so much in such a short amount of time. Then I had an idea: In honor of “recommitting to you resolutions”, I would have have a resolution to become a word economist all the time.

After spending 24 1/2 years talking everyone’ s ear off, I am officially going to try to shut up. I am going to do novel things like think before I speak, have inside thoughts and not provide two tangential counter-arguments for every point I make.

You see, one time Stephen came to visit me in college and my friend was having some relationship issues. I advised her for 30 mins. Stephen made some suggestions in 30 seconds.

“You guys are right,” my friend said, and then hesitated. “I think you’re saying the same thing.”

Stephen nodded sagely and offered an apology: “Rachel’s the book and I’m the Cliff Notes.”

Well. Forget it. I’m a word economist now. It’s like Cliff notes, on sale. I can just imagine the conversation with the Bored High School Junior …


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