the schmooze


Marjorie Gottlieb Wolfe
Syosset, New York


BORE:  a tiresome or dull person or thing; weary by tedious talk or dullness; boredom

How many times have you heard the Yiddish expression, "Hak nit keyn tshaynik"?  (Don't be long-winded and boring.  Don't bang on the tea kettle.)

Warren Robinson Austin (1877-1962) was a U. S. politician, diplomat, and delegate to the UN from 1947-1953.

Someone once asked Austin whether he did not become tired during the apparently interminable debates at the UN.  "Yes, I do," he replied, "but it is better for aged diplomats to be bored than for young men to die."

The American writer, Barnaby Conrad, was badly gored in a bullfight in Spain in 1958. The columnist, Leonard Lyons, recorded a subsequent conversation between Eva Gabor and Noel Coward at a New York restaurant.  "Noel dahling," said Eva, "have you heard the news about poor Bahnaby? He vass terribly gored in Spain."

"He was what?" asked Coward in alarm. "He vass gored!" "Thank heavens, I thought you said he was bored."

Thomas Alva Edison, US inventor, found formal dinners extremely tedious.  On one occasion, the company was so dull that the inventor made up his mind to escape ("antloyin") to his laboratory at the earliest opportunity.  Unfortunately, his host ("gastgeber") accosted him as he hovered near the door.  "It certainly is a delight to see you, Mr. Edison," he said  "What are you working on now?" "My exit,' replied Edison.

Mark Van Doren, US poet and literary critic, tells this story.  A bore once  blundered in uninvited to a literary gathering hosted by Mark Van Doren, and immediately spread a pall of dulness over the whole party.  After his departure ("aroysgeyn") the interloper became the topic of discussion.  Someone observed that it must be heartbreaking for someone like that to see the face of everyone to whom he spoke freeze with distaste and boredom.  "You forget that a person like that has never encountered any other kind of expression," said Van Doren.

A notorious bore approached James Abbott McNeill Whistler [US painter,] at a gathering and launched into conversation with "You know, Mr. Whistler, I passed your house last night---" "Thank you," said Whistler.

In the Marh/April 2010 issue of Psychology Today ("Psikhologye Haynt"), Gretchen Rubin writes about how to avoid putting your audience to sleep. Adopted from her blog, The Happiness Project, she writes about 7 ("zibn") red flags you can watch for at your next cocktail ("kokteyl") party:

1.  Repeated perfunctory responses "Di perzon" who keeps saying "Oh really"? Wow.  Oh really?  ("Take?")  Interesting?  ("Interesant?") isn't really engaged.

2.  No interruptions Interruption is a "gut" sign.  It means a person is bursting to respond.

3.  Simple questions "Where did you go?"  People who are interested ask more complicated questions that show curiosity ("naygerikayt")

4.  Body position People with a good connection generally turn to face each other.

5.  No requests for clarification Interested parties ask you to elaborate or explain.  "What does that term mean?"

6.  Abrupt changes in topic If you're talking to someone about one topic and they suddenly change topics, they're bored.  If you're talking about your grandchildren and they say, "Based on the Wall Street Journal, you have to be a shlamazal to be using AT&T, MCI, Sprint or Verizon," they're really bored! 

7.  Squirming An audience that's slouching and squirmy would rather be doing something else. In Yiddish, we say, "Er hot shpilkes"--he can't sit still. "Nit far dir gedakht!"  (May it never happen to you.)

Marjorie Gottlieb Wolfe's favorite line from the movie, "On Golden Pond": Katherine Hepburn's grown daugher blames her father for all her problems. Hepburn tells her she has a chip on her shoulder that's very unattractive.  She adds, as only Hepburn can, "Bore, bore, bore!"


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