“The Invitations”– Yes, a Seinfeld Reference

I was part of the generation that grew up watching Seinfeld and Seinfeld re-runs. I even had a psychology teacher my senior year of high school who showed us Seinfeld clips to highlight various neuroses. To this day I can’t say “vegetable lasagna” without thinking about Elaine arguing with Puddy on an airplane while a poor passenger bystander is caught in between them. Once his meal arrives—a “vegetable lasagna”—Elaine mocks the passenger and calls him “vegetable lasagna” the rest of the flight. There are lots of stupid random things from life that can trigger a Seinfeld memory.

Case in point:

Making use of my time while P is out of town, I spent one weekend putting together and addressing our wedding invitations. We are keeping with the “red wedding/white wedding” theme, and as such we have two invitation cards—a red one with the Nepali details and a white with the American details. My sister designed them.

Anyway, I spent the weekend putting the two invitation cards along with the response card, information card, and red addressed and stamped response envelope into a black invitation folder, tying it with a red ribbon, putting the whole bundle into a larger red envelope, addressing, stamping, and finally licking the envelope closed.

Of course, after a while I started to think about the Seinfeld character George Constanza and how he was engaged for a period of time to Susan, whom  he didn’t really want to be married to. His character in particular was super cheap and ornery, so he insisted they buy the cheapest wedding invitations at the store—for those of you who also watched Seinfeld you know the rest from the episode “The Invitations”—Susan spent an evening making out invitations, licking the back of the envelopes, and was eventually poisoned by the toxic glue and died.

The show’s main characters were known for being self-absorbed and unaffected, and thus dealt with Susan’s death by shrugging their shoulders and saying, “ehh.” Whenever I lick a bunch of envelopes—particularly when sending holiday cards in December, I can’t help but think about that episode and giggle a little.

So I successfully licked all my invitations without incident. I guess I’m one step closer.

On a separate note, I had an Indian undergraduate in my office not long after completing this task. He had to fill out some paperwork and mail it in somewhere. I gave him a blank envelope from my desk, but he said he hated licking envelopes, so he stuffed it and I sealed it for him. I said I had licked a bunch of envelopes recently, so what was one more? And I couldn’t help myself—I asked, “Do you know the show Seinfeld?” He looked at me blankly, so I decided to fill him in on a little slice of Americana… and explained the episode to him. Perhaps now he just thinks his international student advisor is weird?


4 responses to ““The Invitations”– Yes, a Seinfeld Reference

  1. Ha ha… good one. That was a good episode. When I arrived in the US in early 1994 a Kenyan friend told me in my first week – watch Seinfeld and reruns of Cheers to get a feel for Americans… :-)

  2. I hate licking envelopes. When I went to the post office for the first time here, I asked if they had a glue stick – the guy thought I was crazy. I am not sure but I don’t remember anyone licking envelopes in Nepal… maybe it was just my family thing…

  3. My husband used to time his walks home from his University for meals to coincide with Seinfeld show times. He credits Jerry Seinfeld for his American sense of humor. We have all things Seinfeld and have even seen him do stand up. He’d love your envelope reference!

    • We saw Jerry a few years back. That story is kind of funny too. P’s brother was visiting, and we were driving through the city to go out to a restaurant for dinner, and happened to drive by the theater and saw on the marquee that Seinfeld was coming to do a show in about three days time. We were disappointed because we figured that there was no chance of getting tickets so late, and would have loved to see him if we had known.

      So good ol’ resourceful P got home after dinner and started searching online and found that there was a young woman in Chicago (mind you– we were in Central New York) who had planned to travel to our city to visit someone and had bought tickets for the show. However there was a big snow storm forcasted for the same weekend and she didn’t think she would make the trip.

      She was asking for the face value of the tickets. P wrote her and made her a low ball offer in true South Asian fashion. She wrote back and said she might consider it if she didn’t have any other options, unless P would up his offer, she’d have to think about it and check her other options. P wrote back and said sure, saying he was a “poor international student who loved Jerry Seinfeld” he’d wait if need be.

      The next morning, lo and behold, no one else was willing to buy the tickets, so P offered his low ball price again, and she decided to go for it. Better to make something rather than lose it all. So she asked him to transfer the money to him before she sent the tickets, so she knew she would get the money. But then P and I started thinking that maybe this whole thing was fake– I mean, who buys tickets to see Jerry Seinfeld in way upstate New York in the middle of the winter when you live in Chicago? So we told her to send the tickets and once she sent proof of them being sent we would pay.

      They went back and forth a bit, and finally friended each other on facebook so they could both make sure the other was “legit” and eventually decided to mail/transfer at the same time. We got the tickets next day delivery just in time for the show.

      And it was great. Seinfeld actually went to college for a year in my home town (Oswego, NY), so coming back to the area in winter with a snow storm on his heels both felt familiar, and fueled several of his opening jokes.

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