Friday, 2 December 2011

tube tutorials - an underground enlightenment #1

the tube isn't just a breeding ground for germs and jerks alike. when it’s not rush hour on the central line, and you're not head-locked under a fat mans underarm, it can be an almost metaphysical investigation, like a john donne sonnet, y’know? despairing amid anomie and now an elitist educational system, we’ve decided each week, to transform otherwise bleak platforms full of weary, nameless strangers and ask, is there anything they can teach us?

it started on the cirlcle line, as all great shit analogies for everything should. we sat as we always do, playing foosball with our eyes, when suddenly i felt an elbow on my arm. his name was arlin, a new york jewish gent, and he wanted words. sporting a powerful, powder blue suit he claimed to be a professional bridge player and a best friend of omar sharif. OMAR SHARIF!? we couldn’t think of any one we’d like to meet more, aside from murphy brown, perhaps. as we journeyed west, arlin helped us compile a list of nine ( he hopped off before we could get to ten) yiddish words, you need to know, now.  it doesn’t matter, that after all that, we realised that omar sharif isn’t in fact jewish and never was.  however, we suppose that these additional words, a source of rich expressions, will benefit your syntax thus improving brain elasticity.  happy days.

1. bupkes:  a rather rude way of implying a strong sense of nothing, by which we mean, ‘horse droppings’. as in,  “after everything i have done for you, what do i get? bupkes”.  

2. chutzpah: in english, chutzpah often denotes courage or confidence, but among yiddish speakers, it’s not a compliment and implies arrogance. which is the same difference. as in “that willow smith kid, she got too much chutzpah for something that size”.

4.feh: representative of the sound of spitting and used to suggest disgust. where would you be going without it?

5.kibbitz: what a word! it means to gossip or give unwanted advice. kibbitzing, it’s what we do best.

6.maven: used to connote an expert, often used sarcastically. for example “quit acting the maven, you don’t know bupkes ‘bout nothin”. 

 7.oy vey:  an exclamation of dismay, grief, or exasperation. most likely to be used on a sunday morning, when you check your sent messages. 

8.shlep: just shleping around y’know? get slouchy, get shlepy.  

9.schlock: meaning cheap, shoddy, or inferior. the words your landlord didn’t use to describe your apartment. oy vey. 

[aine herlihy]

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