Here’s a fail-safe way to sublime happiness and ultimate advantage when acting as an alien in an Earthling establishment.
First, publicly confirm the fact that you are an alien. Tell people about some of the weirder things we do. Like how we wave chickens around out heads once a year, or how we allow-but-discourage divorce (that mystifies them every time).
Next, convey the idea that you will be mortally insulted if they do not remember every detail of your religion or suggest you do something forbidden by accident. Gasp in horror when they ask if you’d like some of their lunch or freak out when they ask you to stay for an extra moment on Friday.
Lastly, invent religious command to get you out of anything you don’t feel like doing or arguing about. “No, I can’t present that; I have this religion thing,” or “No, I can’t help you write that paper that will have both our names on it; I have this religion thing.”
Yes, I know I’m evil. I’m also really lazy and this really works.
Unfortunately, not only can it backfire with someone who knows a little bit more about Orthodox Judaism, it can totally bomb you back if the target knows too much.
Take, for example, Professor R. When a student of his told him she could not attend his final because her grandmother died and she needed to be home for the Shiva he said, “Hahaha, you can’t fool me! I know the rules! Grandmothers don’t count!”
Student: “Excuse me?”
Prof: “Grandchildren don’t sit Shivah, it’s only immediate family! You better be at my final or else.”
Boom-splat. This is how fail-safe ways of getting out of things bite you back.
Back to the drawing board it is.