Monday, 9 October 2017

Buyers' Remorse by Naomi Elana Zener

The room was fuller than usual. More bodies than there were seats. But, this was not unexpected. After all, it was January 1st, the day when people realize their error of their ways—at least for a few days—and set off on a course of resolute action to undo the wrongs of their past.

“Ahem. If everyone could repeat after me?” Leandra asked. The throng hummed in unison.

Please forgive me for the error of my ways,
Give me the sanity and courage to accept the truth,
And the wisdom to know the difference between right and wrong.

“We are all here because in our suffering we are united. We, or our loved ones suffer from an affliction, trauma, or loss. Whether it be cancer, Alzheimers, having been raped, the death of loved ones fleeing Syria, or having fallen on hard economic times, collectively our grief is the tie that binds us together.”

Heads bobbed up and down. Tears flowed. Sighs were exhaled. Comforting hugs were shared. This was a common occurrence. However, there was an air of tension in the room, unlike in previous meetings. Leandra’s intuition was tingling—something big was going to happen today.

“Who wants to be the first to share their revelation today?” Leandra asked. Muffled meek voices, mustering courage to speak, caused the room to vibrate with a bashful hum. A petite, young, twenty-something, woman with blonde hair raised her voice to be heard through the ceiling. “I will.”  The crowd fell silent as she walked to the podium at the front of the room. Leandra handed the woman the microphone before stepping back to let her take center stage.

“Hi, I’m Sandra. And, I have buyer’s remorse.”

“Hi Sandra,” the room replied.

“Six months ago, my friend was raped.” Gasps punctuated the air. “She was at a bar with friends and someone slipped GHB into her rum and coke. She woke up in a hotel room next to a strange man whom she had no recollection of ever meeting. I’ve survived the horrors of what happened to her, but believe that I could’ve prevented it from happening.” Sandra paused. She bowed her head. Leandra approached her, placing her hand on the small of Sandra’s back to reassure her that she was in a safe place. 

“Why do you blame yourself?” Leandra prodded.

“You know those straws? The ones that can detect date rape drugs slipped into drinks?” Leandra nodded her head along with many other attendees. “Well, they were handing them out on campus, and I convinced my friend not to take them.”

“Why not?” a man shouted.

“Because they were invented in Israel,” Sandra whispered into the microphone.

The gasps in the air stole the oxygen in the room.

“If only I hadn’t bought into the Israeli boycott, divestment and sanctions movement, you know, BDS? My friend wouldn’t have been violated. At least now I see the error of my thinking.”

Mouths once agape, closed. Heads nodded knowingly.

“Let’s give Sandra a round of applause.” The room obliged. “You’ve taken the first step.  Now, you’ve come to accept the truth and know the difference between right and wrong,” Leandra advised.

“Yes, the BDS movement is dead wrong,” Sandra exclaimed. A tsunami of applause carried Sandra back to her seat, where she collapsed into a group hug upon her return.

“Who wants to go next?” Leandra probed.

A middle-aged man with salt and pepper hair, emanating a professorial vibe, took to the aisle and marched towards the podium.

“Hello, I’m Gabe. And, I too suffer from buyer’s remorse.”

“Hi, Gabe.”

“I’m a hypocritical former BDS supporter. I came to realize that while I don’t support many actions undertaken by the current Israeli government, in supporting the BDS movement I’ve helped to poison the well, contributing to the rise of anti-Semitism around the world.”

“Why are you a hypocrite?” a random voice shouted from the back of the room.

“Because while I supported the BDS movement, I sent my wife to Israel for treatment of her leukemia. The brilliant minds at Tel Aviv University developed this breakthrough technology—GAGomers—that targets blood cancers with amazing results. My false courage of conviction easily shattered when it became clear that supporting a movement detrimental to my wife’s survival was one that was at odds with logic. Who wouldn’t do everything to save the life of a loved one?”

Some in the room jumped to their feet.

“I did it too for my son!” a man shouted.

“And, I sent my wife to Israel to treat her MS,” a woman cried.

“Who here uses a computer?” Gabe asked.

There wasn’t a single lowered arm in the room.

“And, who here uses a cellphone?”

The wave of arms remained afloat, some still holding their precious appendages. “But, you don’t hear Roger Waters saying he’ll stop using his cellphone or the Internet, do you?” a man shouted. 

“Heck, many parts of the Windows’ operating system were developed in Israel,” Leandra added. “Therein lies the rub. The not-so-dirty secret of the BDS movement is that they don’t actually boycott Israel, but pay lip service to an anti-Semitic ideology.”

Heads slowly began to hang in shame.

“I guess if we are really to commit to supporting the BDS movement, we really have to live in a bubble and give up using pretty much all technology and never access life-saving medical treatments,” Sandra shouted.

The crescendo of buyers’ remorse fervor rose.

“Guess we won’t see any of those BDSers crossing that fancy new bridge in China since it was built by Israelis?” a voice cried out.

“Gai kaken auf in yam!” Gabe cried.

“What does that mean?” someone shouted.

“Let them go take a shit in a lake,” Gabe explained.
A heavyset man, dressed in coveralls with the name “Farmer Bill” affixed to his chest, charged the stage, grabbing the mic from Gabe’s hand.

“Speaking of shit, it was bad enough when I had to switch diapers from Pampers to generic because Proctor and Gamble does business with Israel, give up my computer because of Intel, and sell my Volvo, but to see my crops die because I was too stupid to realize that Israeli agro-technology will help me grow my business, no siree bob will I live with the prospect of that possibility,” Farmer Bill stated.

“Everyone in this room is here because we all suffer from buyers remorse. There’s much to be grateful to Israel for: the ApiFix that corrects curvature of spine for scoliosis, the incredible Rewalk robot—the exoskeleton we all saw on Fox’s TV show Glee, and for discovering one of the main reasons for the seizures, memory loss and cognitive impairment that Alzheimer’s patients suffer, which may lead to a cure for the disease,” Leandra advised.

“Don’t forget that Bill Gates has said that Israeli tech research and development will improve the world,” Farmer Bill shouted.

The room roared. “We love Israel! We love Israel!” Gabe launched himself off the stage, crowd surfing the sea of outstretched arms.

Waving her iPad in her hand, Leandra grabbed the mic fervently. “Breaking news folks. Israel may have just found a cure for Melanoma! And, it’s going to start exporting it’s pot to the world. BDSers are fucked!”

The room erupted with thunderous applause.

“It’s time we make things right. Let’s decry BDS publicly, and buy Israeli products openly. And, if we really want to make good on the error of our ways, we should visit the Land of Honey.”

Heads nodded. Members of the Israeli tourism board, who’d been seated at the back of the room, stood up, ready to embrace Israel’s newest tourist hopefuls. Bodies spilled out of their seats in a flurry to the back of the room.

“Thank you all for coming. And, before you leave, please don’t forget to pick up your complimentary Soda Stream on your way out,” Leandra advised.  

© 2017. Naomi Elana Zener. All Rights Reserved.