Thursday, November 24, 2011


This morning someone asked me by the by how I was. I said I was in 'mustn't grumble' mode and we both laughed. Only a nudnik* answers a question like that in a fulsome and truthful way. And anyway I do not properly know how I am, all I know is that I am on that Mickey Mouse precipice again. Or am I being disingenuous, even to myself? I am - or was, at any rate, for several years - a trained bereavement counsellor. I know how when someone dies weird things happen. But it is only today that I have articulated to myself that this present weirdness is the bereavement kind - a very particular bespoke kind, as it always is. Not helpful to speak in terms of generalities, and this person that is gone from me and the world is hard to put a label on. He was an erstwhile stepfather but that says very little - and very little is what I want to be saying. So here I am saying it. But sometimes it is best just to bow with a small flourish and go back behind the curtain.

Back anon - when I can lay my hands on the red nose that I seem to have mislaid and when I have dedided what the hell costume to wear. Not to mention remembered my lines.

*nudnik - someone who if you ask them how they are, they tell you. Yiddish, obviously.


Kahless said...


Zhoen said...

Sometimes, one really should just go ahead and grumble. Bespoke bereavement, indeed. Goofy grief. Loopy loss. Silly sadness.

My curious condolences.

belinda whitworth said...

good to have you back

Reading the Signs said...

Kahless, you're there! And a big X to you too.

Zhoen, LOL :) (and thank you) x

Belinda, thank you for that x

Fire Bird said...

good to have sight of you, and now off you go and be... we'll still be here when you return.

Jeremiah Walton said...

Interesting. I guess I tend to be a nudnik

Anna MR said...

I have been coughing up the courage to come and say, on the comment thread of a post of this level of seriousness of content, a thing most typical of myself...namely, that the word nudnik is my current fave of them all. Oh man - clearly, I need to learn Yiddish. Apart from being full of totally delicious-tasting and -looking words, possibly consisting solely of them, it would also make a fine addition to my collection of Useless Minority Languages, no?

As you can see, I have now coughed up the courage.

Word verification says exescess. I sympathise with the weevils, it is hard to get right the words with the x-s-c combos.

Yours in the Divine Sisterhood of Silly-Buggerdom,


Reading the Signs said...

Divine Schwes, definitely learn Yiddish!

'Hamlet, I am thy father's ghost'

'Omlet, ick bin da poppa spooke'

Need I say more?

(actually, this is rather on the button, as it happens - dead fathers and ghosts, I mean)

Anna MR said...

אבער דער גייַסט פון וואָס פאטער? : Omlet (puzzled))

I ran into some serious trouble trying to stop my keyboard writing Omlet's reply in the glorious and beautiful Yiddish original lettering. As you can see, Omlet won the battle (I rather suspect the spooke lent him a hand).

Mazel tov, schwesterlein


Reading the Signs said...

Is it mazel tov? I can't find my instant translator thing. Obviously I can speak fluent Yiddish - ahem - er - but you know just saying. WTF? (oi veh, which Mac just tried translating into oi heh)

Omlet Schmomlet - where is my babel fish - nu?

Ik bin Oratio, efsher? Oder Orrik?! said...

Omlet (zemischt): But the ghost of which father?

It seems Yiddish-natives have become quite militant about the use of the (defaming, affrontaneous) Latin alphabet. It is becoming increasingly important, I note, to learn it (Yiddish) now - before the path is made doubly difficult by the (beautiful, original, and only true and real) Hebrew lettering…


Having said all that - I am intrigued by the concept of "Yiddishland": a noun, verb, an entity...

Mwah und kush


Reading the Signs said...

I had my chance (and blew it) to properly learn the Hebrew letters many years ago - kibbutz girl, me. So now all I can do is the bastardised Latin. What a schlemozzle. Thank gawd someone here (you) has finger on pulse. Must be to do with your innate Jewishness.

Anna MR said...

Well yes. My innate Jewishness has also seen me on a kibbutz, albeit very briefly - 10 days or so - at the tender age of fourteen-and-three-quarters. So struck was I by my experience that I actually went and learned the Hebrew alphabet then. No, really, I did. Afterwards. Obviously, I have no way of proving this - I remember there is a thing called aleph, and that vowels are nowadays (on newspapers and suchlike novelties) marked with these wee dots and dashes above the letters (I think - or was it below?). But that is really all I remember. And I taught myself to count in Hebrew too. I think schloschim is seven, but it might have been another number, too. And I can say toda and b'wakascha, to this day.

So yes, anyway, I can offer no proof for this outlandish claim. Only that it is true. In a different world, my honey, without teenage years and a desperate recognition of oneself as a class A nerd with a tremendous need to fit in with The Rock'n'Roll crowd, I really would have had a fine collection of Useless Minority Languages.

Bloggista (wistful): I could have been a contender…


(Lovely white whine, by the way. Mwah sis, keep'em coming.)

Reading the Signs said...

You what?! Now listen up, Schwes, I am all for a spot of more-Jewish-than-thou - indeed, we play it all the time chez extended famille Signs - but this takes the biscuit. Won't bother insisting on proof - your words have the deadly ring of truth. And how does this make me look, I ask you - almost a year in Ha Aretz and I didn't even leave knowing how to write my name. I still know how to say "anachnu holchim ba aruchat arba" though. And I can sing Donovan's 'Jennifer Juniper' to these words:

Ma nish ma? Ma nish ma?
Tov todaraba!

(you weren't at Givat Hayim by any chance?)

yes 'tis me - who else? said...

Nope. I was at Yad Hashmona - a titchy kibbutz started by Finns. The name means "the memory of the eight" - and horrendously, genetically-shamefully, these eight are the eight Jews who died in concentration camps, having been turned out of Finland and into the hands of Nazis.

--> WARNING! Very black humour in extremely bad taste and with no sense of pc, in the form of an unfortunate (yet totally true) pun, coming up

I was there for my fully Lutheran confirmation camp.


To clarify, we stern Lutherans are confirmed around 15. A wee pre-confirmation "school", if you like, is de rigeur before this momentous event. Normally, these are in the form of a camp of a couple of weeks. Most Finnish kids would go and spend a fortnight eaten alive by hyttyset (the Scots know nothing about midges, I'm telling you) in the Finnish woods somewhere, and having their first sexual encounters outside of eyeshot of their friendly neighbourhood youth vicar. A friend of mine, however, who was a year older, had gone to the camp in Israel instead the year before me. I was charmed by the idea and so my parents, bless them, managed to send me there too. The year was 1982…

I loved it…

It's a long time ago. Funny, this wee exchange we've had here now had me thinking this morning about how life (and the attempt to fit, socially) really can drown and eat up things which one has had a natural aptitude and all-consuming interest for. In my case, man. If I had lived in some imaginary community where we would be free to follow our interests, I would have likely been one of these people who speak seven languages (one more useless than the other), I would likely have continued writing lots, and modelling wee hrm things out of either plasticine or clay.

As you can see, I really am a class A nerd by my inner make, and all the rock'n'roll you see (ah yes, cannot help but see, in my totally rock'n'roll appearance and demeanour, no?) is slapped on later, albeit in a thick layer, originally to drown this wee nerd.

Life - it's a funny old thing, no?

Woke up wanting to listen to this song. So am, and am sending it to you too, Schwesterlein my dear. Dreamt a dog followed me home - a beautiful shep type with that thick matted coat only dogs who've never spent time indoors can have, and a collar so old it was coming apart in me hands. And that I remembered I was infertile, and was having the most god-awful period pains.

This has been your unnecessary update on the inconsequential matters of your fellow bloggista in space. A mwah into your day, Schwes.