the schmooze
Marjorie Gottlieb Wolfe
Syosset, New York

Perhaps you've heard this joke:

One early mornng, a lady tried to wake her son up. "Wake up, son, it's time for school."

Son: "No....! Not again. I don't want to go."

Mom: "Give me two reasons why you don't want to go."

Son: "One, the kids hate me. And two--the teachers hate me, too!"

Mom: "None of the reasons are strong enough for your not going to school."

Son: "Give me two reasons why I SHOULD go to school."

Mom: "Well for one, you're 52 years old. And for another, you're the Superintendent."

Frank Cerabino, a columnist for the Palm Beach Post, wrote a "vunderlekh" article on 2/10/11 titled, "Implant could keep track of super's health."

Keeping a school Superintendent "gezunt" (healthy) is very "viktik" (important).

Supt. Art Johnson accrued 900 hours in unused sick time. "That's more than 22 weeks of pay for not being sick," writes Cerabino. Cerabino suggests using a biometric implant so that parents and teachers get a daily health and work status of the superintendent. It would be "kolir" (color) coded. For example, "royt" (red) means that the supt. has "fiber" (fever). Code gray ("groy") means he has either sciatica, arthritis or lumbago.

Today's superintendent suffers from a tsunami of tsoris (a tidal wave of trouble). His teachers are gambling in the faculty cafeteria. They're playing "Latto"--a game in which gamblers vied for coffee-based prizes. (See also. Pick Tea.)

And the students are playing the new version of Monopoly,"Monopoly Live." Instead of dice and chance and Community Chest Cards, an infrared tower with a speaker issues instructions, keeps track of money and makes sure players adhere to the rules.

And Eugene T. Reville (Supt. of schools in Buffalo, NY) wrote: "The most important thing I do, according to many of my students, is to close school. I call the weather bureau, the streets department, and the bus company. Then I let the dog out. If he doesn't want to go out then I know I have to close schools."

Here's the Yiddsh version of the color-coded health report of a school superintendent's health status.

Color Meaning

"royt" (red)
The supt's face turns red when "der kinder-gortn" (kindergarten) children begin quoting the late Sam Levenson:

Teacher: "Why did you put sand in Richard's mouth?" Student: "Because it was open."

Teacher: "Why are you hitting Arthur?" Student: "Because Freddie is absent."

"oranzh" (orange)
A Florida supt. is experiencing "boykhveytik" (stomach ache) from eating too many Honeybell oranges.

"bloy" (blue)
A Florida supt. is depressed (mentally) or "dershlogn" over the results of the FCAT (Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test)... and fear of wearing BLUE JEANS on "Dress Down Fraytik" (Friday).

"brayn" (brown)
A supt. discovers that fall colors come in the same colors as his students' food stains: CHOCOLATE BROWN, fruit-punch red, and mac-and-cheese orange.

Another supt. is criticized for suggesting that his faculty members take the "Brown Bag Challenge" and save from $20 to $30 a week.

A third supt. is dealing with an icky new hazard of our technocentric lives: "Toasted Skin Syndrome." School nurses have been reporting that students who keep a computer on their lap for 4-plus hours a day are finding a BROWNISH-RED rash on their upper thighs. Even jeans won't protect the student because the heat can penetrate clothing.

"vays" (white)
One supt. was fearful that he would not be able to answer this question asked by a "kinder-gortn" student:

"I went to a family wedding. I asked my mother why the bride was dressed in WHITE, and she replied, "Because WHITE is the color of happiness and today is the happiest day of her life." Then I thought for a moment, and said, "So why is the groom wearing black?"

"zilber" (silver)
A supt. is feeling "broygez" (angry) because the asst. supt. told him, "Redn iz zilber, shvaygn iz gold." (Speech is silver, but silence is gold.)

"grin" (green)
A supt. feels agida and heartburn ("harts-brenenish") when Kermit the Frog was asked to give the commencement speech. Kermit also received an honorary degree in the annals of higher education-- the Doctorate of Amphibious Letters. His theme song, "It's Not Easy Being GREEN," has become a rallying cry of the environ- mental movement.

Another supt. suffers from "harts-brenenish." His school district is feeling the effect of the Lake Wobegon effect, named after Garrison Keillor's mythical hometown. Here, all the children are above average, and in some school districts, there is a tendency to describe themselves or their abilities as above average.

"shvarts" (black)
The incoming supt. of the Los Angeles Unified School District said he is forming a new foundation to attract philanthropic donations to help fund the ailing school district. This will allow donors to choose exactly what they wish their money to benefit, and donors will receive an annual report card on the social return of their investmet. Donations to LAUSD tend to look at the public school district as a "BLACK HOLE" in which their money will disappear. Earmarking donations for specific uses, such as science labs, would be more attractive to donors.

Bill Malone, the Palm Beach County (FL) School District's interim supt. has some real work ahead of himself. He is meeting with a task force charged with increasing the graduation rate among BLACK MALES.

"lila" (purple)
A supt. gave a "geshrai" (scream) when he had a "kholem" (dream/nightmare)--about the primitive ditto machine, If you recall, the user typed, wrote, or drew on a ditto master sheet which was backed by a second sheet of paper coated with a dye-impregnated waxy substance. The inscribed image appeared on the back of the ditto sheet in reverse. The ditto machine used an alcohol-based fluid to dissolve some of the dye in the document and transferred the image to the copy paper.

Though other colors of ditto sheets were available, PURPLE was commonly used. In elementary school, the teacher would distribute drawings of fruit, animals, letters, numbers, and everything else that we were asked to stay within the lines while we colored.

The output of the ditto machine had a special aroma. Students could tell when a class assignment was hot ("heys") out of the machine by the odor of the pages.

Progress is "gut." Xerox machines, laser printers, and modern technology makes life a lot easier. But nothing will ever replace the scent of a slightly damp ditto paper.

Yes, let's keep our school superintendents "gezunt." As every teacher will tell you, "Veder morgn brengt zikh zorgn." (Every morning brings its own worries.)


Search for Stories Beginning with the Letter
N O P Q R S T U V W   Y Z
Marjorie Gottlieb Wolfe is the author of
two books:
yiddish for dog and cat loversbook
"Yiddish for Dog & Cat Lovers" and
"Are Yentas, Kibitzers, & Tummlers Weapons of Mass Instruction?  Yiddish
Trivia."  To order a copy, go to her

NU, what are you waiting for?  Order the book!

Yiddish Stuff
Jewish Humor
Schmooze News
More Majorie Wolfe
Jewish Stories
All Things Jewish
Jewish Communities of the World
Site Designed and Maintained by
Haruth Communications