the schmooze
Marjorie Gottlieb Wolfe
Syosset, New York

According to Wikipedia, "Mercedes Benz" (the song) was sung by Janis Joplin. The words indicate that she is asking the Lord to buy her a Mercedes-Benz, a color television ("televisye"), and a "night on the town."

Joplin wrote the song together with poet, Michael McClure and Bob Neuwirth, as a critical social commentary on people who relate happiness ("glik") to material possessions.  They place too much "vert" (value) on items like a Mercedes-Benz.

Shown below are several rather humorous and touching stories about the Mercedes.

1.  Anne, a nursery school teacher at a Long Island synagogue, is escorting her 3-year-olds to the parking lot at the end of their 2 1/2-hour session.  One of the youngsters stares at the parking lot and shouts, "Here comes Sadie.  Here comes Sadie."

    Anne holds the boy's "hant" a little tighter.  (Security at synagogues was a major concern at that time, as it is now.) Anne is aware that the boy's mother is not named Sadie, nor is the grandmother or the nanny.

    Again, the boy shouts, "Here comes Sadie.  Here comes Sadie."

    Anne looks up and what should appear? A Mercedes E320!

2.  A hip "yung" man goes out and buys a Mercedes 560SEL, Arctic White, with burgundy leather interior.  It costs him megabucks!

    He takes it out for a spin and stops for a "royt" (red) light.  An "alt" (old) man on a MOPED pulls up next to him.  The man looks over the sleek, shiny car and says, "Shalom.  What kind of car ya' got there, sonny?"  The "yung" man replies, "a 1986 Mercedes.  Mint condition...and I paid plenty for it."

    With a tinge of envy, he says, "Dos heyst gelebt."  (That's what I call living.)  "Mind if I take a look 'ineveynik' (inside)?"

    "No problem," replies the owner.

    So the "alt" man pokes his head in the"fentster" (window) and looks around. Then, sitting back on his MOPED, the "alt" man says, "That's a pretty nice car, all right!"  Just then the light changes so the guy decides to show the "alt" man just what his car can do.  He floors it, and within 30 seconds the speedometer reads 320 mph.

    Suddenly he notices a dot in his rearview mirror.  It seems to be getting closer!  He slows down to see what it could be and suddenly, whhhooooosssshhh!  Something whips by him, going must faster!  What on earth could be going faster than my Mercedes 560SEL?" the "yung" man asks himself.  Then, ahead of him, he sees a dot coming toward him.  Whooooooosh!  It goes by again heading in the opposite direction!  And it looked like the "alt" man on the MOPED!  "Couldn't be," thinks the guy.  "How could a MOPED outrun a Mercedes?" 

    But again, he sees a dot in his rear view mirror!  Whooooosh Ka-Bbblammmmm!  It plows into the back of the car, demolishing the rear end.  The young man jumps out and it IS the "alt" man!!  He runs up to the mangled "alt" man and says, "Omigod!  Is there anything I can do for you?"  The "alt" man whispers with his dying breath, " 'shleykes' (suspenders)...from your side-view mirror."

3.  In the book, "Small Miracles for the Jewish Heart' by Yitta Halberstam & Judith Leventhal, there's another Mercedes story. I highly recommend that you read this "vunderlech" book.

Shellie Shreiner recounts this story: "For days I had been feeling queasy and unwell.  I couldn't quite pinpoint what was wrong with me; it didn't feel like the flu or a stomach virus, nor was it an ordinary garden-variety cold, but something was definitely not quite right...Had I picked up some strange illness from one of the preschoolers I teach every day?  I wondered.

"It was December 4, 1979, and I was on my way to the Jewish Community Center that houses my preschool class.  It is my custom every morning to pray to God in the car and He drives to work with me every single day.

"I was in the midst of having my usual chat (Ms. Wolfe adds the word "shmuesn") with God that morning, when a certain suspicion suddenly struck me.  'Okay, God,' I said, "if I'm pregnant, could you please have the fetus tap my stomach three times?'  Then I laughed at my own irreverence and at the preposterousness of my proposal ("fershlog").  'Okay, God,' I hastily apologized, 'let me amend that.  That is asking too much even from You.  Could you just please send me a sign, any sign to let me know if I'm pregnant?'

   "At that very moment, a red sports Mercedes pulled up in front of me-- seemingly out of nowhere--flashing the license plate MOMMY.

   "My mouth dropped open.  God has aways been very obliging, but this was what you call fast work.

    "After school, I went to the lab for a blood test, and when the nurse told me that indeed I was pregnant, she seemed disappointed--almost indignant--at my lack of surprise.  Go explain that I've already been told by a Higher Source than her!

4.  In 1981, I was driving down a road in Connecticut, my by-then toddler comfortably ensconced in her car seat in the back, when I had a sudden flashback to that momentous day two years before.

    "I started reminiscing with my husband and wondered aloud:  'Maybe I was hallucinating or imagining the whole thing? Do you think I could have really seen the Mercedes with that license plate?'

    "And at that very moment that I asked him this question, the exact same red Mercedes pulled out in front of me-- seemingly out of nowhere--flashing its by-now familiar license plate:  MOMMY.

     "Yup,' my husband laughed. 'I would say you really did see a car like that!"

Marjorie Gottlieb Wolfe remembers a time when the "perfekt" gift
for an 18-year-old girl was a compact. 
It still is--if it has 4 wheels.


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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!

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