the schmooze
Marjorie Gottlieb Wolfe
Syosset, New York

Billy Crystal probably says, “Geb a kook auf mir”--Take a look at me.

Crystal has a new [2013] “bukh” (book) titled, “Stil Foolin’ Em - Where I’ve Been, Where I’m Going, and Where the Hell Are My Keys?” (FYI: The Yiddish word for fooled is “opgenart.”

Grab a #2 pencil and let’s see how well you fare on this not-so-serious quiz.....then go out and buy the book! Note: The Yiddish expressions have been substituted for the English words.

1. Crystal turned 65. He says
a) that at his age you’ve already had ten colonoscopies
b) you’re so old that your “blut” (blood) type was discontinued
c) that if you look at 25-year-olds, they’re out of focus--and by the time you get your glasses on, they “farbay” (gone).

2. When Crystal looks in “der shpigl” (the mirror)

a) he sees his “feter” (uncle) Al staring back at him. He screams!
b) he sees someone who can’t travel on the information “shosey” (highway), can’t e-mail, can’t use a fax machine, and is wearing bell-bottoms
c) he notices that his cheeks are looking puffy...and that he should NOT have eaten the entire box of Krispy Kreme donuts
d) he’s glad the mirror’s fogged up

3. When Crystal’s wife gave birth to their first “kind” (child), a daughter, what were his first thoughts?
a) OMG! She looks like me!
b) I’ll have to pay for th whole “khasene” (wedding).
c) The “beybi” (baby) poop looks like Dinty Moore beef stew

4. What does Crystal say about dentists?
a) They are important, even though they weren’t “klug” (smart) enough to get into medical school
b) They don’t get the respect they deserve
c) You never hear, “Is there a dentist in ‘doz hoyz’ (the house)’?
d) They use hygienists who wear plexiglas “ponim” (face) masks--and they aren’t flattering
e) They convince seniors that no matter how old they are, chances are they still have some good years left, so why settle for dingy “tseyner” (teeth), receding gums, or loose-fitting dentures.

5. When Henry Kissinger told Crystal that “he looked ‘vunderlekh’ (marvelous),
a) he then introduced Crystal to his wife: “Honey, this is my favorite, Billy Joel.”
c) He asked Crystal if Willard Scott had wished him a Happy Birthday

6. What does Crystal say about “zaftik” (obese) people?
a) they annoy him
b) they’re not big-boned; they’re “fet” (fat)
c) they roar through the Las Vegas casino buffet...really fast
d) their “Honey Do” list should include a visit to Weight Watchers

7. What does Crystal say about people who post on the Internet?
a) they should learn to spell
b) they should always check WebMD before visiting “der dokter” (the doctor)
c) stay away from the “shidduch Chat Rooms”

8. What does Crystal have to say about the pat-down at “der piplats” (the airport)?
a) it hurts his jewels
b) they did find two benign polyps
c) the full “guf” (body) scan should count as an annual physical

9. What does Crystal say is a “major milestone for “di tate-mame” (parents)?
a) when the kids go off to “koledzh” (college)
b) parents were happy with kids; it’s just that their marriage got better when the kids left home
c) when they attend the show, “My Son The Waiter--a Jewish Tragedy”... and laugh

10. How does Crystal define the facebook abbreviation “OMG”?
a) Oh, My Gout
b) Oh, My God
c) “Gottenyu” (Oh, God!)

11. When Crystal turned 50
a) his Modern Maturity “zhurnal” (magazine) arrived in a plain brown wrapper
b) his AARP card arrived
c) he told his wife, Janice, “Hey, honey, I’m old now, which means you are officially a trophy wife.”
d) he quoted Albert Einstein: “There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though EVERYTHING is a miracle.”

12. In 2011, Crystal interviewed Sophia Loren. What was his first question?
a) “What would I have to give you for just one little “kush” (kiss)? (She answered, “Chloroform.”)
b) “You are Italy’s greatest export to Hollywood. Why is there no good pizza in LA?”
c) “Do you agree that times are tough in Hollywood? People are marrying people they’ve never married before.”

13. Crystal says, “When you can’t sleep,
a) every night is Yom Kippur
b) you worry about your grandkids being stuck with the national “khoyn” (debt)
c) you worry that playing Angry Birds for thirty hours a week may not qualify as aerobics
d) remember this saying: “Early to bed and early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy and likely to meet his children coming home.”

14. What does Crystal say about a burial plot “farkoyfer” (salesman)?
a) bad did you f--- up on your SAT so that this is the job your guidance counselor recommends?
b) They say, “You know we have a special this year. Six plots for the price of five. They make a lovely Hanukkah gift.”
c) [after discussing vaults] he told the salesman he didn’t want a vault in a wall like Marilyn Monroe. “I won’t like it. I can’t even sleep on a plane.”
d) They tell him that “George [Burns] and Gracie are in a vault together. It’s lovely.”
e) They all tell the same story:

Three men, aged 70, 80, and 90 were asked whom they would like to be buried with. “George Washington,” said one. “Abe Lincoln,”said another. The third said, “Lindsay Lohan.” “She ain’t dead yet,”said one of his friends. “Neither am I,” the dreamer shot back.

15. When Crystal’s daughter had a Bat Mitzvah, how did he feel?
a) “nakhes” (joy)
b) Looking at “der oylem” (the audience), all he could see was 300 people, 250 of whom he didn’t know, all costing him $90 a head.
c) Scared. Any time things appear to be going well, you have overlooked something. “Where’s my kippah (yarmulke)?”
d) like he should have had a “FAITH LIFT.”
e) Nervous. He suddenly remembered the first rule of bar/bat mitzvah appetizers: Pigs in blankets are obviously verboten.
f) Happiness. He remembered this poem:
Birthdays come and birthdays go,
The years fly by, ‘tis true,
But to me the dearest, sweetest day
Was the birthday that brought you.

16. When Crystal turned “fuftsik” (50), he had a spectacular party.
a) Jack Sheldon and a 15-piece dance “kapelye” (band) were onstage
b) Wolfgang Puck was in ”di kikh” (the kitchen)
c) Mel Brooks got up and sang with the band
d) Crystal told his friend, “I’m so old that I’m an original investor in Apple--THE FRUIT!

17. What does Crystal say about learning a language?
a) learn Yiddish
b) check out Rose Etta Stone :-)
c) if you want to learn Italian, forget it. Learn Chinese--they’re the ones who owe money to us.

18. How did Crystal feel about turning “fertsik” (40)?
a) It’s a bad number for everything--pants size, IQ, blood alcohol... forty is just bad.
b) Life begins at 40 - but so do fallen arches, rheumatism, faulty eyesight, and the tendency to tell a story to the same person, three or more times.
c) Forty isn’t old, if you’re a tree.

19. How does Crystal feel about climate change?
a) People who deny climate change are probably the same people who still think O.J. was innocent.
b) “Makh nit keyn tsimes fun dem.” (Don’t make a fuss about it.)
c) “Lomir redn fun freylikher zakhn.” (Let’s talk about more cheerful things.)


1. a b) was said by Bill Dana
2. a
3. b and c
4. a, b, c, and d
5. a
6. a, b, and c
7. a
8. a and b
9. a
10. b
11. b and c
12. a
13. a, b, and c
14. a, b, c and d
15. b e) was taken from “Hot Mamalah - The Ultimate Guide for Every Woman of the Tribe” by Lisa Alcalay Klug
f) was taken from Lois Wyse’s book, “You Wouldn’t Believe What My Grandchild Did.....”

16. a, b, and c d) was taken from the TV show, “Two and a Half
17. c
18. a b) was a quote by Helen Rowland
19. a

MARJORIE GOTTLIEB WOLFE will be speaking for Tobay Hadassah
at the Plainview Public Library, Plainview, New York, on Thursday, Oct. 3, at 7 p.m.
Her topic: “The Bintel Brief in 2013.”


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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!

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