Sam Shapiro's daughter comes home from college at the end of her Junior year and announces at the dinner table that she is to be married in two weeks time. Mrs. Shapiro goes into panic overdrive and starts to plan a modest wedding for three hundred. Her last words to Mr. Shapiro, before taking over the den as headquarters for the planning operation, are "You are going to need a new suit."
Mr. Shapiro sighs, and goes to see Schneider the Tailor.
"Schneider, I need a new suit, and there's no time for fittings. My daughter, Tiffany, is getting married in two weeks time. It's got to be a real fancy suit."
"Mazel tov! Not to worry. I will make you such a suit, your own relatives won't know you."
Schneider measures Mr. Shapiro up one side and down the other, all the while assuring him that there is nothing to worry about. "Just come back the morning of the wedding," he tells Mr. Shapiro, "wearing your good shirt, your good underwear, and your good shoes. The suit will look like it was born on you.".
Two weeks later, not having spoken more than ten words to Mrs. Shapiro or Tiffany in the interim, Mr. Shapiro goes back to Schneider the Tailor, with his shirt, his shoes, and underwear all just waiting to be graced by the perfect suit. Schneider whisks out the suit with an air of triumph, and tells Mr. Shapiro to try it on.
Mr. Shapiro slips on the trousers, and his face falls. The pants are a disaster. The right leg is three inches too long, and slops over his shoe. The left leg is four inches too short, revealing a quite unappealing ankle. And the waist is too big, so that the pants sag dangerously low on the Shapiro midsection. Mr. Shapiro lets out a cry of anguish, and turns on Schneider. "Schneider, you idiot!" he yells. "What have you done?"
"Now, now" Schneider croons, "don't worry. Just extend your right leg to make it a bit longer. Now hike up your left hip, so that the leg pulls up. And if you will remember to keep your stomach pushed out, the pants fit perfectly."
Mr. Shapiro is beside himself, but the wedding is in one hour, and there is nothing for it but to make the best of a bad situation. He extends and hikes and pushes, and the pants more or less cover his lower half without falling down.
Now Mr. Shapiro slips on the jacket, and this is an even worse disaster, if that can be imagined. One sleeve is too long, the other is too short, and there is a bunch of cloth over his right shoulder blade that has no discoverable function at all. Schneider the Tailor guides him through another series of contortions - one arm down, the other arm up, the shoulder hiked to fill the extra cloth, and finally, clammy with anxiety, Mr. Shapiro steps into the sunlight and makes his way carefully down the street toward Temple Beth Israel.
As he walks, concentrating fiercely on his left leg, his right leg, his left arm, his right arm, his stomach, and his shoulder, a nicely dressed stranger approaches him on the street and says, "Excuse me, but could you tell me the name of your tailor?"
"My tailor! My tailor!" shouts Mr. Shapiro. "Why do you want to know the name of that scoundrel?"
"Well," says the stranger, "I figure any tailor who can cut a suit to fit a man shaped like you must be a genius with the needle!"
I read the chapter. It reminded me 'LIES my teacher told me' by James W. Loewen. The subtitle of the book: Everything your American history textbook got wrong.
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