Jewish Journal


Summer Swastika

by Elliot Steingart

July 18, 2012 | 11:29 am


While walking to lunch I walked past a swastika etched in the ground on a quiet side street near my office in Pasadena. I was walking with two work buddies, the temperature was cool for summer,  and we were almost at Zankou Chicken. My natural reaction was “Oh, a swastika.”

I was surprised as a swastika is not a symbol you expect to ever see in Pasadena. On the bright side, If there was a preferred time to see a swastika it would be the summer. The swastika is a hurtful image, but with the right company and a slight breeze it’s just a piece of shitty art. If the weather wasn’t so calm I would have reacted differently. If I was in Chicago in 108 degrees humidity and saw a swastika I might turn into Stieglitz from Inglorious Bastards.

It’s upsetting that some coward would take the time to scratch a swastika into the pavement on Chester Street. Aside from its proximity to Zankou and Daisy Mint Thai Restaurant, Chester is a nothing street. It’s not a street where your swastika gets recognized. The perpetrator didn’t even sign his name or make an initial other than SS. How original.

I still can’t believe there is a Pasadena Nazi. Father of the Bride was shot in Pasadena. It’s the birthplace of Jackie Robinson, graduate of Pasadena City College where I’ll drink a boba now and then. I wasn’t the first minority to drink boba in the PCC cafeteria. I like to think Jackie paved the way and broke the Boba barrier. Now this?

I might work on the same street as this Nazi. He very well could be a neighbor, maybe one with whom I exchange friendly waves.

“Hey, neighbor!”

“Hey, Jew!”

I know I have an ally in Mel Cohen Insurance. There was a rumor that he once tried to take one of our company parking spots. To calm matters I offered to speak to Mel, man-to-man, Jew to Jew. Mel backed off, but now is the time for Mel and I to step up and investigate who is responsible. We know that we do not have many neighbors on our block. There is a Curves across the street. What kind of Nazi hangs outside of Curves? Female abdominal training was not meant to trigger such hatred towards the Jewish people, just the instructor.

Unfortunately, the swastika continues to make the news. A couple of teenage girls in the Valley marked a swastika on a classmates porch whose mother was a childhood friend of Jon Lovitz .

Last month a banner full of swastikas was flown over Venice Beach

It’s troubling to think that the swastika is making its way from the Valley to the Westside, especially in LA traffic.

The encouraging part is that if the Nazi’s most public display in Pasadena is on the corner of Chester and Green Streets then they really aren’t marketing effectively nor reaching new audiences. If you offend Mel and I and a few others you have not succeeded.

In the spirit of Jackie Robinson we will stand tall and hopefully arrange a time to spray paint over the swastika and then grab corned beef. If Mel and I are on the lookout that’s a start. We’ll ensure the swastika’s demise. Free of charge. If that swastika is there in the fall once the weather turns then we really have a problem. That’s when we call in Lovitz.

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Elliot Steingart is a Los Angeles based comedian and writer who hosts a monthly comedy show, “Melgard Mondays” at Melgard Public House. Steingart has written jokes for...

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