Speaking Sein language: For some of us, ‘Seinfeld’ is a state of mind

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The sweater felt so sensual in my hands, all soft and pure white. Not cashmere, but classy nonetheless. And it was SUCH a great deal. I mean a really great deal. 

So great a deal that I continued to babble about it as I stood in the checkout line at Kohl’s, turning the sweater over and over in my hands, my eyes intensely inspecting the garment, still suspicious that I’d missed the fatal flaw that explained the deep discount. 

And that’s when it happened: Sherry, the cashier, said to me: “You’re looking for the red dot, aren’t you?”

I looked up; our eyes locked. It was like she had read my mind. It was like some kind of Vulcan Sein-meld. 

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I WAS totally thinking about THAT red dot — you know, the one Elaine finds on the $600 cashmere sweater George gave her as a thank-you gift, that he got for $85 because it had a defect. It was as if Sherry read my mind. Clearly, she shared my Seinfeld state of mind.

I got such a rush from that spontaneous “Seinfeld Moment” that I chuckled about the encounter for weeks. OK months. All right, I actually obsessed about it until the B editor gave in and let me write this piece. 

I had to know if Sherry and I were the only two. Were there others like us out there? Others who still see “The Seinfeld” in life?

So we asked readers to share their own “Seinfeld Moments.” 

Can you spare a square?

Picture it: You’re in a public restroom stall and you reach for the roll of TP and there is NOTHING. Would you summon your inner Elaine Benes and ask the stranger in the next stall if they could “spare a square?”

When this happened to Cassie Engstrom, formerly of Auburn, she says she actually did ask someone exactly that. And it worked!

As the woman passed the paper  under the stall wall, Cassie said,  she “chuckled and exclaimed ‘I love Seinfeld!’

“Every time I change the toilet paper in the bathroom, I think of ‘Can you spare a square?’ from ‘Seinfeld,'” wrote Cassie.

An early-20-something, she says she quotes the show all the time, but her friends “look at me funny. I guess I was ahead of my time.”

Cassie takes her “Seinfeld” with her when she goes to work as a waitress. “I joke with people ‘No soup for you. Come back one year!’ Most folks actually get it and laugh hysterically, especially if they have actually ordered soup … One couple from NYC said they had been to that soup shop and experienced the real soup Nazi.” 

But those customers who don’t get the “Seinfeld” reference “probably think I’m: A. incredibly rude, or, B. a weirdo. I try to politely explain to them it’s a Seinfeld reference,” Cassie said.

I once tried out a cafe purely because the name was based on this “Seinfeld” reference. Discovery: Soup for You! in Farmington had absolutely delicious soup. Disappointment: no crazy, egomaniacal chef yelling, ordering customers around, refusing to serve them or taking back their food. I guess you can’t have everything.

Beware close-talkers and low-talkers

Seinfeld still comes to work every day with Dennie Campbell, who is in retail. “My co-workers and I converse with many customers over the course of a day. We frequently complain about low-talkers and close-talkers. With a low-talker, one often has to just smile and nod and pray that she’s not asking: ‘Do these shoes make my butt look big?’ And a close-talker will back you right into a wall hook if you’re not careful,” she wrote.

By the way, if you happen go to Selby Shoes Etc. in South Portland, tell any of the clerks you’d like to see a pair of “Mulvas.” That’s right, Dennie and her co-workers named a shoe in their inventory after the “rhymes with a female body part” episode, where Jerry can’t remember the name of the girl he is currently dating, but he knows it rhymes with a female body part. One of his wrong guesses is Mulva.

Now, seriously, do I need to spell this out? Her name was Dolores. Think about it.

‘Serenity now! Serenity now! Serenity now!

“John and I are fond of bellowing out ‘Serenity now!’ at tense moments,” writes Cindy Peterson Scott, formerly of Auburn.

I used this mantra after a stressful meeting recently. I think at least one co-worker assumed I was saying the AA “Serenity Prayer.” Clearly, not a “Seinfeld” fan or she would have recognized it as the phrase Frank Constanza’s doctor told him to say whenever he felt his blood pressure rising. Note: If you decide you want to use this little tactic, it works best if you yell it.

And the soup Nazi laughed

Dan Cunliffe of Minot had an actual “Seinfeld Encounter” when he was attending an event in Las Vegas where the “Soup Nazi” was signing autographs. But in this case, Cunliffe turned the comedic tables on the uber-serious character. To see for yourself go to YouTube and check out Dan’s video: “Dan makes the very serious soup Nazi from Seinfeld laugh during a magic trick.” Dan is doing the magic trick. 

Dan, you must be a very, very funny guy. 

Not that there’s anything wrong with it

Suze Allen Blood of Lewiston wrote: “This happened some time ago as I was in my mid-20s, so thinking 1998-ish. It is no secret I’m an ardent supporter of equal rights, and was even back then. I often adorn my vehicle with pro-equality stickers. Back then it was a rainbow sticker, which I thought just meant equality. My gay friend later told me it let the LGBT community know who was part of the community, in a subtle manner; people weren’t nearly as open-minded then as now.

“One night I happened to meet a beautiful Venezuelan man who played minor league ball and was in Portland for a game. We hit it off well, and he walked me to my car, where he saw the sticker. ‘Are you . . . GAY?’ he asked, ‘because if you are, it’s OK, really.’

“‘No!’ I exclaimed, ‘I just support those who are. I really like men. No, I’m NOT GAY! Uh, not that there’s anything wrong with it!'”

Don’t mess with the elderly

Life imitated Seinfeld for Donna Gagnon Richmond of Smithfield when she found herself in a battle with an elderly man over a parking space at Ames department store in Waterville. “Before I knew it there were about 10 other elderly people there giving me (crap).

“I was there first and pulling into the parking space and the old (man) and his wife wanted to pull all the way through two spots, so he wouldn’t have to back out. . . . The old guy even tried to push my car with his car.

“The group of old people closed in around me like Indians on a wagon train,” she said. 

“I didn’t back down. True story too.” 

“Not one of my prouder moments,” Donna admitted.

Wow.

The reference? Picture the following, but in Waterville: A relatively young and healthy George Costanza riding one of those motorized scooters frequently advertised on late-night TV. He bangs the vehicle into one owned by a bonafide old man, who quickly becomes an angry old man and calls in a “gang” of angry, elderly scooter-riders who pursue George down the street.

Trash talk

Speaking of Seinfeld moments that don’t make us proud, I will admit that, like George, I have taken food out of a trash can and eaten it. Like George, I was totally sober when I did this, but I was not at a party, the food involved was not an eclair, no one had taken a bite out of it and no one caught me doing it. 

What I will say is I was alone, it was a pastry of some kind, it was above the rim of the trash can and on a paper plate. 

Yes, I took a pastry out of the trash can and ate it.

I know, I know … I may actually be a bum, or at least have some bum-like tendencies.

Total randomness

I will admit, some things said by “Seinfeld” characters simply didn’t make sense. But that’s exactly what made them hysterically funny. 

I mean, when is it EVER appropriate (unless you are in the outback) to say “Maybe the dingo ate your baby?” as Elaine does when a woman sitting next to her at a party says she can’t find her “baby” (annoying term for her fiance). In a heavy Australian accent, Elaine offers up her suggestion for what may have happened to the missing man: “Maybe the dingo ate your baby.” (A quote from a movie starring Meryl Streep.) 

If anyone gets it, it’s Beverly Bressler of Minot: 

“My friends and I were having a discussion about nothing, really. One girl in our little clique just went on and one and on … so I blurted out, ‘Maybe the dingo ate your baby,” with a heavy (Australian) accent of course. Everyone just looked at me like I was crazy. Suddenly, one friend got it and we just went hysterical.”

Yeah, that’s what I mean. 

Sold out in Portland

On Saturday, Feb. 22, Jerry Seinfeld will be appearing before a sold-out crowd at Merrill Auditorium in Portland.

What they actually said

Here are snippets of dialogue from the “Seinfeld” episodes that were the basis for most of the comments in the story:

Spare a square:

ELAINE: What a dope!
uh..excuse me. umm.. I’m sorry
JANE: (from the stall on Elaine’s right) Are you talking to me?
ELAINE: yeah.. I I just forgot to check so if you could just spare me some.
JANE: No I’m sorry
ELAINE: What?
JANE: No I’m sorry, I can’t spare it
ELAINE: you can’t spare it??
JANE: no there’s not enough to spare
ELAINE: well I don’t need much, just 3 squares will do it
JANE: I’m sorry I don’t have a square to spare, now if you don’t mind
ELAINE: 3 squares? you can’t spare 3 squares??
JANE: no I don’t have a square to spare, I can’t spare a square
ELAINE: oh is it two-ply? cause it it’s two-ply I’ll take one ply, one ply, one puny little ply, I’ll take one measly ply
JANE: look, I don’t have a square and I don’t have a ply (flushing and leaving)
ELAINE: No no, no no, don’t don’t, I beg you

Soup Nazi

GEORGE: [Soup Nazi gives him a look] Medium turkey chili.
[instantly moves to the cashier]
JERRY: Medium crab bisque.

GEORGE: [looks in his bag and notices no bread in it] I didn’t get any bread.
JERRY: Just forget it. Let it go.
GEORGE: Um, excuse me, I – I think you forgot my bread.
SOUP NAZI: Bread, $2 extra.
GEORGE: $2? But everyone in front of me got free bread.
SOUP: You want bread?
GEORGE: Yes, please.
SOUP NAZI: $3!
GEORGE: What?
SOUP NAZI: NO SOUP FOR YOU!
[snaps his fingers. The cashier instantly takes George’s soup and gives him back his money]

Mulva

WOMAN: Y’know I really think I’m falling for you, Jerry Seinfeld. (stands up, a quick  kiss on the cheek and hugs him.)
WOMAN: Oh, well, I really think I’m falling for you… [opens the playbill and flips five pages till he finds and reads autograph] …..Joseph Puglia…
WOMAN: I had it autographed for my uncle.
JERRY: Yeah, I-I know…
WOMAN: (licks he lips) You don’t know my name, do you?
JERRY: Yes I do.
WOMAN: What is it?
JERRY: It-it rhymes with a female body part.
WOMAN: What is it?
JERRY: Mulva…
(She turns and grabs her purse, playbill and coat and leaves the apartment. Jerry follows)
JERRY: Aub, ah, Gipple?
JERRY: Loleola?
( He closes the door and and goes to get something out of the refrigerator, but before the fridge light can even go on, a light goes on in Jerry’s head and he rushes to the window to catch the Mystery Woman before she gets out of earshot.)
JERRY: Oh! Oh! *Delores*

Not that there’s anything wrong with that

JERRY: Oh God, you’re that girl in the coffee shop that was eavesdropping on us. I *knew* you looked familiar!
Jerry: There’s been a big misunderstanding here! We did that whole thing for your benefit. We knew you were eavesdropping. That’s why my friend said all that. It was on purpose! We’re not gay! Not that there’s anything wrong with that…
GEORGE: No, of course not…
JERRY: I mean that’s fine if that’s who you are…
GEORGE: Absolutely…
JERRY: I mean I have many gay friends…
GEORGE: My *father* is gay…

George and the mobility scooter

[George is riding his Rascal scooter on a city sidewalk when he accidentally bumps another scooter as its owner and some friends are walking out of a nearby store.]

MAN: Hey, hey! You dented my ride.
GEORGE: Whatcha got there, the 4-volt? Heh, I did you a favor.
MAN: How about I do you a favor upside your head?
GEORGE: Oh yeah?
MAN: Oh yeah.
(George leaps back on his scooter and floors it.)
MAN: Hey!
WOMAN: Get the bikes.

The eclair

JERRY: So let me get this straight. You find yourself in the kitchen. You see an éclair in the receptacle… and you think to yourself: “What the hell, I’ll just eat some trash.”
GEORGE: No, no, no. It was not trash.
JERRY Was it in the trash?
GEORGE: Yes.
JERRY: Then it was trash.
GEORGE: It wasn’t down in. It was sort of on top.
JERRY: But it was in the cylinder.
George Louis Costanza: Above the rim.
JERRY: Adjacent to refuse is refuse.
GEORGE: It was on a magazine, and it still had the doily on.
JERRY: Was it eaten?
GEORGE: One little bite.
JERRY: Well, that’s garbage.
GEORGE: But I know who took the bite. It was her aunt.
GEORGE: You, my friend, have crossed the line that divides man and bum. You are now a bum.

The dingo

(a woman (Ellen) is talking to Jerry.)
ELLEN:  Yeah, I think I’ve seen you in a club.  You talk about a lot of everyday things, right?
JERRY:  Right.
ELLEN:  Yeah, I remember you.
(Ellen turns her back and the camera pans out to Elaine, sitting on the couch near a pretentious woman.)WOMAN: I wonder what happened to my fiancé. I know he’s here somewhere. Ellen? Have you seen my fiancé?
ELLEN: He’s upstairs.
WOMAN: Are you going upstairs? Tell my fiancé I’m looking for him. I havelost my fiancé, the poor baby.
ELAINE: Maybe the dingo ate your baby.
WOMAN: What?
ELAINE: The dingo ate your baby!

Seinology.com

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