For my upcoming Bar Mitzvah, I was given the daunting task of chanting from the holy Jewish scriptures. Everything was going just fine until I reached the first word, the name of the holy text itself: haf·tar·ah. So, I called my dear friend and tutor, Tupac Shakur, who is still alive.

I think my main problem with the word was the double-h. It’s the same letter but it does two different things. Tupac told me to just imagine the H as Superman’s utility belt, because it can function in many different ways. I tried to tell him that Batman had a utility belt, not Superman, to which he just faintly whispered to himself, “I’m Batman.”

I was also stumbling over the three A’s. I haven’t seen that many A’s in a row since my drunk dad started going to those meetings at church where insurance representatives tried to trick the Alzheimer’s Anonymous members into getting Triple-A for the ninth time.  To cope with my fear of the vowel, Tupac had me scream, which at first felt counterintuitive. Only later did I realize the simple genius of this technique. A good AAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHH has at least 5 A’s in it. After a while, my AAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHH’s of fear morphed into AAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHH’s of power.

Just when I had the H’s and A’s mastered, that sneaky little “T” crept up on me out of nowhere, throwing me for a loop. Like always, though, T knew just what to say. He reminded me that “T” makes a “tuh” sound, and I realized it checked out.  

With the tricky letters out of the way, I decided to put it all together. But suddenly I forgot everything that Rabbi Pac taught me. I became overwhelmed by the hodgepodge of letters, symbols with no meaning. That’s when T-pizzle told me to just think of the name of my ex-girlfriend, Hharfata, and rearrange the letters. Finally, I was ready to tackle the word.

I nailed it on my first try. And just like that, I realized the magic of summer. Pac helped me on my journey to manhood, but more importantly, I helped him feel like a kid again, the greatest gift a rapper could ever receive. I knew that I had made the genius behind such hits as “Hotel California” and “Beethoven’s Ninth” proud. And finally, I could read Shæftorpino. Thanks, 2Pac!  

— A. Zbornak