Schlmiel

Since the weather in California was cold and rainy, Naomi and I both took raincoats with us, carried over our arms. We used them, but I left mine in SImon’s house when we left for LA and the cruise to Mexico. Naomi took hers with, but it vanished somewhere along the way, probably after we left the ship, perhaps on a flight or in the airport. I forgot about my raincoat hanging in Simon’s house and returned home without it. So now that its finally raining in Israel again, I’m waiting for Simon to send the coat back to me.

I was very nice, I bought a box of chocolates in the airport for my friends and one for the gym where I go every week. I attached them to my carry-on bag so that I would not forget them. But, the plastic handle got caught up in the pull out mechanism, so when we got aboard the plane I released it and put them separately in the overhead compartment. Needless to say, after a 10 hour flight, I was so anxious to get off the plane that I forgot them. I called later, but of course they were not found! This is my contribution towards feeding the poor and downtrodden.

I parked my car on a quiet suburban street across from my doctor. When I returned I had a parking ticket, NIS 100 (ca. $30). I was naturally upset and surprised. When I got in the car I looked for a place to put the ticket, instead of just stuffing it in my pocket and forgetting it. I thought there was a ledge under the steering column, and I felt for it. But, being a new car I was not sure. I thought I found something so I put the ticket in there. Then I investigated more and found that it was not a ledge, but merely a slit below the steering column and the ticket had disappeared into the innards of the car. I tried to retrieve it (honestly) but could not. This compartment is separated from the engine compartment and there is no access from inside the car. So if I tell the parking authority that I lost the ticket inside my car do you think they will believe me (they’ve heard that one before). I could go and pay it without the ticket, but I will wait until they claim the money and then pay. Why do these things happen to me?

A schlmiel in Yiddish is someone who is unfortunate, through no fault of his own. But there are many other words with slight and subtle variations, a schlmazel (somone who lacks luck or mazel), a schmagegge, a schmo, a schmock, a schmendrick and so on. In that respect Yiddish is much more expressive than most other languages. I think (I hope) I qualify for the least of these.

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