Sunday, July 06, 2008

The Mad Burper

Over the years, Air Time has played host to a number of characters. Some of these characters grew to be beloved by my readership, like Boruch the Yeshiva Guy. Others, grew to be hated, Shloim, the New York Correspondent. Some of the people you have met in Air Time were real, like Micha, who finally closed the deal with #164 and then led us all to a dairy wedding in Louisville one fine Labor Day weekend, while others were just figments of my imagination.

In January 1999 I introduced the Mad Burper. It was Air Time #22, and on that Friday in January I wrote "I don't know why he tells me these things, but the Mad Burpers claims his mother suffers from clinical depression insane and his son is ADD. I keep waiting for him to get help for his burping, awful singing during shul, and semi-violent outbursts during kedusha."

A week later, in Air Time 24 (There was no Air Time #23. Air Time did not recognize the existence of #23, and to this day believes that Michael Jordan was just a gambling adict who got his father killed, and after being suspended from the NBA for a season due to his gambling came back to take advantage of a league weakened by expansion and still reeling from the AIDS crisis of Magic, but I digress) I wrote "Pesach, the Mad Burper is the guy who sits next to me in shul."

Clearly, someone named Pesach had emailed me to find out who the Mad Burper was, and I responded in Air Time.

Four weeks later, I updated the Air Time community again, claiming that "The mad burper may be moving his seat in shul. Last week he sat four seats away."

The Mad Burper disappeared from Airtime for a few months, and didn't reappear until November, in Air Time 62
The mad burper started coming to our shuir at the rabbis house, and can't seem to control himself. Wednesday night he averaged over 23 bpm (burps per minute) during the hour long shuir. He is not pleasant to sit near.

Four weeks later, in Air Time 66, I discussed the Mad Burper one more time.
"After a few months of leaving me alone, the Mad Burper is back. Usually he sits somewhere else in shul, but the last week or two he started sitting near me again, filling the air with burps, and coming over to talk. For some reason he likes talking to me and Mark, who sits next to me. I think it is because we don’t shoo him away when he walks over."

Going through some other archives, I found more one more Mad Burper reference, in November of 1999. It seems we were putting together either a fake newscast or newsletter of some kind for the shul, and the article said that the board wanted to ban the Mad Burper from shul for life, but the constitution committee ruled it unconstitutional.

Six references in Air Time, although I am open to the possibility that he also appeared in issues of the Shuckler, my fake YIOP newsletter.

The Mad Burper was a character from shul. He got his nickname due to his constant burping, and while I did not know him well, we did talk occasionally in shul. I don't think he ever wanted to come to our shul; but the merger forced his hand, along with many others, and they found themselves at the Young Israel of Oak Park.

At one point he started attending a shuir I went to, and the burping was distracting to everyone at the table. But no one would say anything, I'd write a snarky comment behind his back, and then move on.

He would get angry in shul a lot, and tried to out-sing the Chazzan with a voice that was not chazzan-grade. But I give him credit, he did put himself out there.

I don't know what happened to the Mad Burper over the past eight years. He would occasionally find his way into shul, and I would see him every now and again at a community function, but it seems like he dropped out of the community, or at least, out of my view of the community for a while.

I hadn't heard his name for many years, until today.

The Mad Burper died yesterday. May his family find comfort amongst the mourners of Zion and Jerusalem, and his soul find comfort that seemed to elude him in his time here on earth.


Blogger The Zwicker said...

You should be writing obits for the New York Times.

July 08, 2008 11:34 AM  

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