Burt Prelutsky / Jan. 20, 2011

Defining 'Schlemiel'

When I used the Yiddish word "schlemiel" in a recent article, a reader asked me to define it. I suggested it referred to a dummy, a dunderhead, a mental dwarf. I added that to help you identify them, they generally come with a (D) after their name.

So it is that in King County, Washington, the schlemiels have now banned those non-tobacco cigarettes that emit vapor because, public officials have decided, kids might see grown-ups puffing air and conclude it is cool to smoke. Or, unless they're as dumb as bureaucrats, the kids might figure out that it's simply a form of breathing, and far preferable to sucking in tobacco and nicotine.

When I used the Yiddish word “schlemiel” in a recent article, a reader asked me to define it. I suggested it referred to a dummy, a dunderhead, a mental dwarf. I added that to help you identify them, they generally come with a (D) after their name.

So it is that in King County, Washington, the schlemiels have now banned those non-tobacco cigarettes that emit vapor because, public officials have decided, kids might see grown-ups puffing air and conclude it is cool to smoke. Or, unless they’re as dumb as bureaucrats, the kids might figure out that it’s simply a form of breathing, and far preferable to sucking in tobacco and nicotine.

I am still trying to find out whether chocolate cigarettes have also been banished from the Seattle area, lest adults see kids enjoying them and conclude it is hip to eat cigarettes.

Meanwhile, Rep. Frederica Wilson (D, FL) wanted House Speaker Boehner to overturn a House rule that blocks the wearing of hats on the House floor. It seems Rep. Wilson owns over 300 hats, including custom-made sequined cowboy hats in virtually every color imaginable. Frankly, I, too, think the rule should be waived, not to accommodate Ms. Wilson, but in order to facilitate the wearing of dunce caps.

Although leftists like to insist that Hitler was a right-winger, he, himself, called his group the National Socialist German Workers’ Party (Nazi for short). One of his more perceptive observations in “Mein Kampf” was that “All propaganda must be confined to a few slogans, repeated over and over again until the last man understands what they mean.” Madison Avenue got the message long ago and came up with “Where’s the beef?” to sell Wendy’s burgers, “Fast, fast, fast relief!” to push Anacin and “Sometimes you feel like a nut” to peddle Almond Joy candy bars. More recently, we’ve seen “Hope and Change” used to sell us a left-wing pig in a poke.

It might be a stretch to call Arabs and Muslims leftists, but inasmuch as it is American progressives who not only side with them against Israel, but insist that taking logical precautions at airports constitutes racial profiling – which the rest of us regard as commonsensical – I think it’s fair play to lump them together. So we now find that the schlemiels in the Middle East are convinced that the Israelis have added wildlife to the rolls of the dreaded Mossad. The lunkheads are convinced that vultures, sharks and jellyfish, have recently been trained to act as spies and saboteurs on behalf of Israel.

Very clever, those Jews. Even if these highly efficient espionage agents are captured and no matter how much they’re tortured, they won’t talk.

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