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Ask Bayla #3: Dali dilemma

October 20, 2009 – 2:38 pm2 Comments

Dali @ NGVDear Tante Bayla,

A couple of weeks ago, my beloved and I decided to visit the Dali exhibition at the NGV for the Art After Dark session. When we arrived we were dismayed to find that the queue to buy tickets was at least an hour long, taking up the entire atrium. If we actually got in, we’d have hardly any time to see the exhibition before it closed for the day. As we were debating whether or not to stay, I spied my old high school art teacher — let’s call her Mrs Chagall — out of the corner of my eye. She waved us over to her spot at the front of the queue, and told us that her sciatica was playing up and she was going to go home, but we were welcome to take her spot in the line.

Before I could even begin to formulate a response my beloved jumped the rope and voila, we were at the front of the queue. We had our tickets within ten minutes and ample time to peruse the exhibition. But I feel guilty that we pushed ahead of all the other people patiently waiting. Was it right of us to accept Mrs Chagall’s offer? Shouldn’t we have bided our time in the queue like everyone else? (Beloved said no! carpe di queue, etc.)

What should we have done?

Guilty Art Lover, Bentleigh, VIC

Dear GAL,

Tante Bayla
Tante Bayla

This is a tough one. On the one hand, had you waited in the queue with everyone else, you could have missed out on seeing the exhibition entirely. And technically, you didn’t make the queue any longer for the people behind you – you were simply replacing Mrs Chagall. On the other hand, what you did was morally dubious. You jumped the queue. You took what wasn’t yours! In the school tuckshop line, this sort of exchange is called a “Chinese swap” (nu, primary school kids aren’t known for their political correctness) and is seriously frowned upon as the ultimate manifestation corruption and dishonesty. In thirty-six degree heat, you just gotta wait your turn for your Sunnyboy like everyone else.

But primary school morality is perhaps not the best arbiter of right and wrong. So let us turn to the Good Book, where there’s plenty of queue-jumping and dubious decision-making to reflect upon!

Case in point:

Jacob convinces Esau to hand over his birthright as firstborn in exchange for THE BEST CHULENT OF ALL TIME. Aided by his mother, Rebecca, Jacob then dons a hairy disguise and steals some blessings from Isaac intended for Esau, thus starting the biggest rivalry EVA and altering the course of Jewish history for all eternity. Jacob is also considered to be the granddaddy of the Jewish nation. (Sucks to be Esau.) So it would appear that you can indulge in your queue-jumping sans guilt, safe in the knowledge that you are emulating our righteous (cough, cough) forefathers.

BUT. Jacob gets his comeuppance. He’s conned by Leah and Laban, the BEST QUEUE JUMPERS OF ALL TIME. They make you and your Beloved and look positively saintly. Leah marries Jacob ahead of Rachel, and Jacob is forced to toil another seven years for Laban until he finally gets to marry his true love. (Happy sigh.) But ultimately Rachel and Leah have a very dysfunctional, unhappy relationship, with Leah constantly flaunting her fertility and never able to reconcile herself to the fact that Rachel is Jacob’s true love. (Echoes of The Bold and the Beautiful here.) Then poor Rachel dies giving birth to Benjamin. And then there’s the whole saga with Joseph and Benjamin and the other brothers kidnapping Joseph and then pretending he’s been killed, etc. (Echoes of Dr Phil, anyone?)

So, in conclusion – queue jumping is bad. It has led, respectively, to:

  1. The Arab-Israeli conflict;
  2. Slavery of Jews in Egypt; (and by extension, the invention of matzah… *shudder*)
  3. All subsequent Jewish suffering and persecution;
  4. Bad soap opera plots (see B&B reference above);
  5. Bad self-help reality TV (refer to Dr Phil).

So unless you want to initiate a world war, accidentally marry your Beloved’s sister, or end up on daytime television, I would advise that queue jumping of any sort is best left well alone.

As penance, say eighteen Hail Marys and tune in to Galus’ liveblog coverage of John Safran’s new TV show tomorrow night. (There will be no queues.)


Tante Bayla

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  • frosh says:

    Hi Bayla,

    It’s one thing to live by a code “I will not queue jump” – this purely requires self-discipline.

    For some of us, it’s a more difficult dilemma when we are in the queue, only to have someone we know in a social or professional capacity approach us and ask if we can let them in.

    If you let them in, well then you’re opening yourself up to all that is wrong with queue jumping, as you have succinctly outlined.

    But if you do not let them in, then offence will surely be taken, and unhappy consequences will likely arise.

  • Chaim says:

    I know this article is in “the lighter side” and is tongue in cheek but it does fail to give the traditional Jewish view of events.

    Yes looking at the superficial literal reading it appears as above however a more in depth view of the whole episode plus future blessing from Yitzchak give a different story.

    The written Torah was given long after above events and considering the oral Torah was given at the same time (again according to the traditional Jewish view) – I do not see how you can interpret the stories of our forefathers without the Oral Torah considering it is not a primary source from that time anyway.

    A simple short alternate view is given here



    (I am also playing here and trying how to put html into links)

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