Grogger Reflections from a Big Ol’ Blow Hard

Editor’s Note:

Purim is a holiday of wonderful joy and mirth. We wear costumes, make noise, and eat yummy hamantaschen. Among the traditions for the holiday are Purim Spiels, comical performances held in synagogues, community centers, and education programs. Please consider the musings below a written Purim Spiel which we share mirthfully.

As children at a Jewish day school in Queens, NY we would make groggers for Purim by wrapping paper mâché around a light bulb, painting it, and then smashing it on the ground so the shards of glass would tinkle. Since we were five or six years old, there was no guarantee that glass wouldn’t escape from the inexpertly applied cover, providing ample opportunity for childhood injury. This activity was emblematic of an age when we were sent to certain injury on the monkey bars and were encouraged to lie prone on the shelf below the rear windows on our parents’ 1963 Ford Fairlane while our fathers sped along the highway at seventy miles per hour.

Those of us who survived our feral childhoods relatively physically and emotionally unscarred would never dream of sacrificing a $15 dimmable, smart LED light bulb when Amazon can deliver a pack of six groggers within 48 hours.

As grandparents, we wish our adult children the same sensory pleasure we felt attending family Megillah readings: being accosted by the unnerving cacophony of hundreds of sheet-metal groggers whirling away blotting out Haman’s cursed name.

Some of us will see our grandchildren’s Purim gatherings as an opportunity to extract a measure of revenge on the parents of our blessed grandchildren for scolding us for feeding the little ones ice cream sundaes and chocolate cake before bedtime or for traveling to Costa Rica while we sat home with the three- and five-year-olds watching episode after episode of “Llama Llama” and “Clifford the Big Red Dog.” For those cantankerous Bubbies and Zaydes among us, I offer these alternative Purim groggers.

  • Transporting it may be a challenge (not our problem); still, a didgeridoo would do excellent work in blotting out Haman’s name. While perhaps a challenge for toddlers and pre-schoolers, pre-teens and teenagers who have no capacity for self-control will find this wind instrument, developed by Aboriginal peoples of northern Australia at least 1,500 years ago, a delightful opportunity to cause synagogue-based mayhem.
  • The highly rated “Big ol Blow Hard”, available on Amazon (Prime) for $49.95 reaches a noise level of 120 decibels. According to the on-line description, “To say that this sport air horn is loud would be an understatement.” Perfect.
  • Sometimes the classics are best. A tuba can be rented online for $49 a month as can a drum set complete with hardware and cymbals. The additional value of 29 days of at-home ear-splitting noise is an additional benefit.
  • My Jewish Learning offers direction for parents to make their own groggers. The list of required tools:
    • Electric drill with 1/2″ and 1/16″bits
    • Coping saw, jigsaw, or band saw
    • Hammer, plane, sandpaper
    • Hand saw

I am charmed by the assumption that these are objects that might be found in a typical Jewish home or that the average Jewish adult would know the different between a coping saw, jigsaw, or band saw, let alone a hammer and a screwdriver.

But this is, in my estimate, a worthwhile endeavor that we should encourage the parents of our beloved grandchildren to pursue … in lieu of their planned weekend in Costa Rica.

Enjoy! Happy Purim!

David Raphael is Co-founder and CEO of the Jewish Grandparents Network.

Photographic Credits
Banner photograph courtesy of Pixabay

Ford Fairlane photograph courtesy of Unsplash
Drumming photograph courtesy of Pexels