Department of “I Give Up”
I shouldn’t let my blood boil over this, but I really, really don’t get why the whole bar mitzvah culture has spun so wildly out of control:
A state-of-the-art New York bar mitzvah owes more than a little to
theater, and like all theater, it requires props. That’s where Pat
James comes in. An event planner with the soul of a Broadway fanatic,
James doesn’t just throw a party — the guy puts on a show.
“We had a kid who was really into ‘Charlie and the Chocolate
Factory,’ “ James recalls, “so we had a purple suit made for him, and
we hired these people to be Oompa Loompas and they came out and danced.
We had these trees with candy all over them, with signs that said ‘Do
not eat.’ It was fantastic.”
For a girl named Lexy, James devised
what he called a “Lex and the City” theme, for which he rented a pink
couch that was an actual prop in the similarly named HBO show. For a
lad nicknamed Bull — yes, a Jewish kid called Bull — he rented a
mechanical bull and built a saloon around it.
…This, by local standards, is a modest affair. Hundreds of New York bar
mitzvahs cost $100,000 or more. Many top the quarter-million-dollar
mark. If you’re ready to spend that sort of money on a five-hour
shindig for an eighth-grader, Pat James is the man to see.
Great. So not only do parents have to sock away several hundreds of thousands of dollars for the college educations, they have to go overboard for the bar and bat mitzvahs (and let’s not even get into weddings.) Again, this is New York, which is more insane about these things than anywhere else, but….oy gevalt.
Sometimes it is good to grow up with an overly developed sense of responsibility.