A year and three months after our son Lev was born, my wife and I could no longer repress what we’d been feeling all along. He’s a beautiful child, that’s true, and far from being an idiot, but the minute we manage to step back from our subjective proud parent status and take an objective look at that complex little man, we have to admit that we gave birth to a true deadbeat. For the last year plus, our little Lev hasn’t developed or, to be honest, hasn’t even tried to develop any career skills that could help him find his place in the employment market in the future. That said, there are a few areas he has decided to specialize in: daytime sleeping, voracious eating, and waving goodbye to passersby as he calls out an obsequious and not really convincing “Bye-bye.” And as a responsible parent, it’s hard to be unconcerned about such a limited repertoire.
“Maybe he’ll be a restaurant critic,” my wife suggests, trying to dispel the heavy cloud hanging over us.
“A restaurant critic?” I say disdainfully. “Do you remember what he said after he took a sip of ink from the printer cartridge? ‘Yummy.’ The kid is no gourmet.”
Israel’s next president?
But my wife refuses to lose hope. “Maybe he can be a quality controller of mattresses for dwarves?” she asks excitedly. “After all, he really does love to sleep.”
“That is a very, very specific field,” I say, trying to cool her enthusiasm. “Without connections in bedroom-furniture-for-the-height-challenged circles—which I’m sorry to say neither of us actually has—it’ll be hard for him to break into the business.”
A depressing silence fills our dark living room, broken only by the phony “Bye-byes!” little Lev is calling out to the passersby on the street. My wife is on the verge of crying, and if my military past hadn’t toughened me, I would shed a tear too. What could a pair of brave parents hope for after discovering at such an early stage that their baby is a good-for-nothing?
Suddenly, out of nowhere, a ray of sun breaks through the clouds, bringing with it an epiphany. “President,” I shout happily to my wife, “our Lev will be president.” She hesitates for a moment, but I don’t let that deflate me. “It’s crystal clear,” I explain to her. “With all the investigations of Katsav and the coming impeachment, they’ll be starting to look for a new president in a few weeks, and our Lev has everything it takes to do the job: he looks like a statesman; he loves to wave to people; he doesn’t have a left-wing past that could raise right-wing opposition; and he barely knows how to talk, so there’s almost no chance he’ll make politically incorrect remarks. He’s the perfect candidate, just think about it: my parents are from Poland, your grandmother’s from Syria. If we play our cards right, the little guy’ll get wall-to-wall support.”
“But,” my wife notes skeptically, “he doesn’t know English. How will he make speeches or talk to other world leaders?”
“With waves and smiles,” I reply to calm her down, “just like Katsav.”
“But he still shits in his diapers,” my wife says, still doubtful.
“So what?” I ask, waving my hand dismissively. “No one’s perfect. Compared to his predecessors, his virtues—and there are many—definitely outweigh his vices. Our Lev is as straight as an arrow and he doesn’t have a criminal record or skeletons in the closet…”
“He touches his peenie,” my wife blurts out. “You leave him alone naked for a minute and he’s touching his peenie . . .”
“Better a president who touches himself and not others,” I say, quick to see the half-full glass.
“I’m still not convinced,” my wife persists.
“Shira,” I take her hand and look hard into her eyes, “Face it. Either president or quality controller of mattresses for dwarves. There is no third option. Now you tell me—where do you think Lev has a better chance?”
“President,” she says with a nod after a second’s hesitation. “‘Lev Keret’ definitely sounds like a president’s name.”
Since that conversation, my wife and I have been working constantly on Lev’s presidential campaign. We already have one good slogan: “The People Love Lev.” And “Small Countries Need Compact Presidents” might work pretty well as a bumper sticker. We’re not complacent; we’re well aware that a few other people in the country know how to say “Bye-bye” and wave to passersby from the window. So it’s going to be a tough battle, but in the end, when the smoke clears, the last man standing will be the shortest and the chubbiest. And if you, like us, want Israel to have a president with a clean past and a dirty behind, don’t hesitate to send in your endorsements. All moral support and offers to baby-sit the president-elect will be gratefully accepted.