Seinfeld's "Greatest Jew Joke" and Happy Anniversary

by Dr David, Editor/Publisher Lokkal

It was two years ago today that I started publishing Lokkal Magazine. Ray Koch, the founder of MacDonalds, said genius and inspiration are great, but you don't get anywhere without persistence. For 24 months, I've been publishing three articles each week. You do the math. I'm happy that many viewers of SM Events are now readers of Lokkal. I'm happy that, with more staff and more authors, it is getting easier. And stay tuned, because, we're about to launch the rest of Lokkal, and that will be very exciting.

The Tibetans believe that what happens to the doctor en route to see the patient is important to the diagnosis. While wondering today how to commemorate in print this two year anniversary, I received an email from a woman, who was herself wondering if I would publish her, as yet unwritten, article. Here is what I came up with, my remedy.

Over a series of emails exchanged it became clear that the woman who wrote me has been saving up money for 6 months to buy advertising in Atencion for another woman who has a cafe that is failing. Also, that a well-known food writer has agreed to write an article about the struggling cafe, an article to be published in Atencion. I am, that is, Lokkal / SM Events is to get no advertising money nor the article by the well-know food writer, but an article that this intermediate woman comes up with.

My side of the exchange constitutes: my willingness to consider a non-promotional article, a presentation of why Lokkal/SM Events is a better advertising medium (more views in the first few hours after I publish my Friday newsletter than Atencion prints copies in one week; your ad not just on page 53 or 67, but on every page; readers only need to click to receive more information...) and a offer to also print the article by the well-known food writer ("Atencion does not care if Lokkal prints it first.")

I go from feeling insulted and maltreated to feeling sorry for the woman who is trying to help. What are the odds that a few ads and an article or two are going to change the trajectory of this cafe? She is just a civilian out of her depths, in both publishing and restaurants. They call it the "restaurant business." Many people are good at "restaurant," but not at "business." Opening a restaurant can be like inviting cancer into your body.

Writing this I am seated on the patio at Mi Casa, at the Instituto Allende. Inside Gil Gutiérrez and Media Luna are playing. (When Gil tells the story of how he heard the boys for the first time, playing at a cafe in the Jardin, he doesn't mention that I was the one who insisted he go listen. But shorter stories, like shorter jokes, are usually better.) I am enjoying the summer evening, the music, the beer that Caleb the guitarist brought me and what I consider the best ground-level view in San Miguel.

I remember, on a previous visit, my first, years ago, when I bought my own beer, that the waiter brought me a check that included the beer and the cover charge. I gave him the money for the beer and, nodding up front towards Gil, who had just finished playing, said, "I don't pay him. He pays me." I remember him questioning Gil and Gil briefly explaining matters to him.

Tonight, in addition to my enjoyment, I am here to be paid. I am proud that as savvy a businessman as Gil makes good use of my services to advertise his businesses. (They call it the "music business.") Gil has eliminated the need to work for musician's wages by owning the venues where he works. Before he pays, he kvetches (complains) a little to me about how his former business partners, Anders and Katya, have returned to Sweden and so his plans for expansion (lunch service...) have been tabled for later, and how even in slow season the full staff has to be maintained, and then I tell him Seinfeld's "greatest Jew joke."

This I heard myself only recently. Jerry sets it up: "This is the greatest Jew joke. But only Jews get it. Gentiles don't get it." (He hesitates slightly on the word "gentiles." I can see him substituting that translation for its Yiddish equivalent, "goyim.") Here it is, "Two Jews meet on the street. The first one asks, 'How's business?' The second one answers, 'Great!'" That's it. That's the joke. Do you get it? Wait. Think about it. Don't read on yet.

The point is that there is something human about not being satisfied; that there is something very Jewish in kvetching. My personal take-away is that my publications are not only a great community service, but also (statistically) the best advertising medium in town, and while I could complain that not everyone knows that yet, they are learning. Perseverance, with a dash of inspired genius now and then, pays off.

So, thank you San Miguel, for a great first two years. Getting to know you, better and better, is its own reward. Keep those cards and letters coming.

**************

Dr David started his long publishing career as the editor of his prep school newspaper, which he immediately changed into a monthly magazine with feature length articles. He moved to SMA six years ago this November and started publishing San Miguel Events six months later. For those of you who would like an early peak at his as-yet-unlaunched new project, please visit www.lokkal.com/sanmigueldeallende/ - click on the icons and scroll down the page.
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