Saturday, September 19, 2009

Tales From The Lebowskis - Jaja Card 2: Jaja Carder and Jaja Card with a Vengeance

Last time, I showed you the greatest card I've ever received, a birthday card from Dave "Jaja" Lebowski, Sr. While cleaning, I have come across two more classic Jaja cards that I would like to share with you. Neither is quite as good as the first, greatest card (pretty much by definition), but they are both good. Rather than the "click-the-front-to-see-the-inside" gimmick, this time I'll just post up scans of the images for your enjoyment.

For the first of these two cards, I happened to have the envelope still around, which features strikingly artistic labelling. Note the double outline letters. Groovy.

Next we have the front of the card itself. It's a bit... floral... for Jaja's tastes, so I think he was clearing out a back stock of old cards that Nonnie left behind when she passed.

Now for the interior. In all sincerity, without any hint of sarcasm, this card was actually really touching to me in the simplicity of its message. Thanks, Jaja. Love you too.

Now onto the next card. Here we have a standard-issue holiday season billfold card. The kind that basically guarantees there's some currency within (Jaja's usual Christmas gift).

What's written inside? Along with a stock "Let It Snow!" message, we have a custom holiday greeting from Jaja. Not "Merry Christmas" or "Happy Holidays." Oh no, not any sort of well-wish at all. It's a statement of fact. In the third person. With the verb conjugation seemingly decided after the fact. As if to answer the age old question, "Who loves ya, baby?"

Jaja does. Jaja loves you, baby.

Monday, September 07, 2009

Tales From The Lebowskis - The Greatest Card I Have Ever Received

While doing some recent closet cleaning, Meredith came across a box of my things that I had forgotten about. Inside this box, amongst other things, was the greatest card I've ever received from anyone, for any reason. This card was a birthday card, given to me on my 23rd birthday. It was from my beloved grandfather, Dave "Jaja" Lebowski, Sr., a man who felt he had a lot to express with this birthday card. In his gentle and poetic script, he covered who I am to him, his thoughts on the amount of time I'd been on the Earth at that point, and his larger reflection on the whole affair. Visible below is the outside of the card. Please click on this image to be taken to a view of the interior.

I realize that for anyone reading this blog who doesn't already know who I am (nobody), this card does provide a clue to my true identity. Luckily, googling "Matt Thirty" only brings up some Malaysian guy's MySpace profile, some Bible passages, and a few other odds and ends. As you can see.

Thursday, September 03, 2009

Tales From The Lebowskis - Vinnie Jerboa, The Lyin' King

If you've been reading this blog for a while, you may recall an entry I did entitled "Tales From The Lebowskis - Hulka, Prince of Lies." Today I'd like to tell you about the man who ensures that Hulka will never rise from the rank of Prince to take a place as a reigning monarch. I've met only one other man from whose mouth pours falsehoods so freely and so truly believed by their source as the man I'd like to tell you about today. The Lyin' King in question is my first cousin, twice removed (that is to say my grandmother Mary "Nonnie" Lebowski nee Jerboa's cousin) Vincent "Vinnie" Jerboa (the man who could match him lie for lie was a Spanish and Italian teacher from Venezuela who taught at my high school for two years, Bellido Alejandro Golbez).

Uncle Vinnie, as he tends to be known these days, is a liar so adept that he doesn't even realize when he is lying. I am convinced he could pass a polygraph test for any of the bullshit he spews. This is what sets Vinnie into a lying league of his own. Hulka and Jaja can both spin great lies, but they know they're lying. Vinnie's lies, to him, are true. Here below are just a few of Uncle Vinnie's most classic lies, the ones that will be remembered always for their sheer audacity, obvious falseness, and his insistence on their veracity.

  • Vinnie served in the US Navy as a younger man, and was in fact active in the service during World War II. The fact that he was in the Navy during this time is probably the only true thing he says about his service. He once reminisced about his days afloat with my grandfather, Dave "Jaja" Lebowski, Sr., recalling bemusedly how his shipmates nicknamed him "Ski," and confessing he had no idea where this nickname came from. Jaja loudly informed him that he was a damn fool, and that Ski was not Vinnie's military nickname, but John "Great Jaja" Lebowski's, Ski being short for Lebowski. Vinnie somehow did not believe his cousin-in-law on this one, and maintains that he, not Great Jaja, was called Ski, in spite of the fact that this makes absolutely no sense.
  • The more memorable of Vinnie's lies about his time in the Navy took place in New York Harbor. Vinnie says that at some point during World War II, he was on a naval ship that was in said harbor area. This is the only part of this claim that is likely true. Vinnie insists that one night, he was completely alone on deck, when he witnessed a German U-boat surface from the still waters of the harbor. It remained for a moment, then resubmerged. He then claims he ran and found his superior officer and informed him of what he had seen. To this, his commanding officer reportedly answered, "Keep it to yourself, we don't want any trouble with the Germans." During World War II. In US coastal waters. Next to a major US city.
  • The most whimsical of Vinnie's lies also took place on a boat (perhaps water vessels increase his lying ability...). Long after his Navy days, Vinnie was enjoying a day out on a boat on the Connecticut River with his cousin-in-law, Dave "Jaja" Lebowski, Sr. and his cousin-in-law's son, Steve "Hulka" Lebowski. Vinnie was gazing at the riverbank when he suddenly announced to his companions, "There they go." "There who goes?" asked Hulka. "The penguins," answered Vinnie. "Penguins?" asked a befuddled Hulka. "Yeah, penguins. They were on the rocks and they just dived under. You just missed them," said Vinnie, as if it should be completely obvious. "Vinnie," started Hulka, "penguins don't live around here. They're indigenous to Antarctica." "and Connecticut!" addended Vinnie. Since the climates are so similar.
In the Lebowski family, the latter two lies have been merged in our collective consciousness into one charming delusion. If you ever meet a Lebowski clan member or friend of the family and hear him or her mention Nazi penguins, you now know why. And knowing, they say, is half the battle.