the schmooze

*"zoftik" or "zaftik" is a Yiddish word for fat, juicy or succulent

Marjorie Gottlieb Wolfe
Syosset, New York

Surveys! Studies! Oy, they can drive you "meshugeh"--crazy!

Diet, dating, and marriage surveys...7 sins surveys...and dressing for an audit surveys.

The latest study by doctors in Hong Kong has concluded that epilepsy can be induced by the Chinese tile game of mahjong. "A nechtiker tog!" (Impossible!) The findings, published in the Hong Kong Medical Journal, was based on "dray un tsvantsik" (23) cases of people who had suffered mahjong-induced seizures. This Chinese tile game, played by four people round a table, can involve gambling and quickly become compulsive. Jewish American women love the game.

The doctors concluded that the syndrome affects far more men than women; that their average age is 54; and that it can hit sufferers anywhere between one to 11 hours into a mahjong game.The only sure way to avoid mahjong epilepsy is to avoid mahjong, which for many people is easier said than done.

The second survey is even more disturbing. A new study in the New England Journal of Medicine suggests that "obesity can be spread from person to person much like " der virus." If one of your "khaverim" (friends) start gaining weight, your chances of crossing 30 on the old BMI scale go up by 57%. Among mutual frends, the odds go up by 171% If your spouse becomes obese, you have a 37% chance of doing the same. Among siblings, odds increase by 40%. It's called "social contagion."

As your friend gets heavier, you revise "aroyf" (upward) your idea of what constitutes normal weight. Your growing love handles hardly seem worth worrying about if your " khaverim" are 40 or 50 pounds overweight.

Diet and exercise are still the keys to staying "dar" (thin).A question: Can family upbringing affect your weight? Jackie Mason ("Jackie Oy!"), was describing MY mother when he wrote that his mother was "always pushing food on us. Did you eat yet?

Always the same question. "Did you eat yet?" That's all I heard day and night, who ate, who didn't eat, and she was always in the kitchen cleaning and washing and cooking and chasing us with food." MY mother's favorite line was "Essn. Essn. The children in Europe are starving."Billy Crystal ("700 Sundays") wrote about how he loved to have breakfast with Grandpa Julius. "...that was like going to a science fair. He'd have a lot of plates on the table, he liked a lot of different tastes. He'd have a plate of just pieces of herring, a lot of herring, so for years, I thought he had a pet seal.

"And for those who vacationed in the Catskills, they'll appreciate what Esterita " Cissie" Blumberg ("Remember the Catskills") wrote about eating:

"Our guests weren't any more or less overeaters than clients as American plan (three meals provided) resorts in any part of the world. When presented with varied menus featuring a sumptuous array of goodies, served by waiters who anticipated large tips by ignoring 'choice of' on those menus, people went overboard. In a comedy routine, wining and dining can become gorging and gluttany...My mother's opening speech to the assembled diningroom staff at the season's start included the admonition: 'A good waiter will steal for his guest.'

There were those who took her literally! Every waiter had a station that included a service stand. It was meant to hold condiments, extra silverware and dishes, and other necessities so that the waiter could save time and avoid running into the kitchen during a meal. There were always some waiters who used that server as an extra larder, and knew which items on the menu would be in great demand, and stockpiled them so that the people at their station would never be refused. We were not unaware of the practice, and knew just which servers to 'search' if there was not enough to go around for first servings.

"Oh, well, no more spending evenings sitting in the den noshing on Mashuganuts and Halvah. I'm simply going to blame my friends for my weight gain!

Marjorie Gottlieb Wolfe has been known to say that "Too much eating and drinking
leads to poverty." ("Tsu fil essen un trinken in dales zinken.")

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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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