Long Story Short

Red-Haired Hymie

A teenage swashbuckler, he was the toast of the Catskills until that night he zipped up his shorts a little too fast

Illustration by Maura Condrick

When I was a kid, our family spent summers in the Catskills. One summer, the young ladies of Kaplan's Bungalows enjoyed the attentions of a 17-year-old swashbuckler we called Red-Haired Hymie. Known to his peers as "Hy," he was good looking in a red-haired way and quite the tennis player. He owned a red Karmann Ghia that all the girls were itching to ride in.

One night, after an afternoon of tennis, Hymie and a date went to the lake for some skinny-dipping, quite shocking in those days. Afterward, as they dressed in the dark, Hymie's penis got stuck in the zipper of his shorts. Bravely, he extricated himself and drove home, where he found his mother on the porch playing Mah Jong.

When she saw his white shorts, now stained with blood over the area that covered the future of the Jews as a people, she leaped to her feet, tiles clattering to the deck. "Hymie, what happened!?" Hymie looked down and frantically replied, "Uh … I got my thing caught in the car door!"

After being revived, Hymie's mother spent the rest of the summer in a dark room with a cool cloth on her forehead. Hymie didn't get around much anymore.

Tags: memoirs