My friend Daneen made a comment on one of my recent posts, “A day of little things,” suggesting I write about putzes. No, not the verb, as in “to putz” (to putter) around the house, which was what that blog post was all about, but rather, putz, the noun, as in “Dan is such a putz!”
It sounded like a damn fine idea, and I am dedicating this post to all of us in the universe that must tolerate putzes!
I guess it’s best to start with a definition. Putz is of Yiddish origin and in it’s loosest of definitions, it means idiot. In actuality, however, the Yiddish language offers numerous words to describe degrees of idiotness and it is of the utmost importance to use the correct word. For instance, in Yiddish, an idiot can be referred to as a schlemiel, a schlub, a shmendrik, a shmo, a schmuck, a putz and a yutz!
Now, in my research of the Yiddish idiot, the two most insulting terms used are putz and shmuck. Both, are vulgar definitions that mean “penis” and are the most derogatory way to call someone an idiot! And, of course, since there are two words available, one is considered a higher insult than the other! Can you guess which one? Apparently, it is much worse to be a putz than a schmuck! Oy vey, I guess you just have to know your Yiddish!
So, back to Daneens’ suggestion that I write about a putz. I’ve been thinking about this now for days, and you know, I really can’t think of any one person I know that is a putz! Well, full-time, that is.
Most putzes I know, aren’t putzes all the time. They have what I refer to as their putz moments – those special times when they can’t help but be a putz!
Like on the highway. There are a lot of putzes on the road, aren’t there? These putzes pull out right in front of you, weave in and out of traffic, speed up to pass you and then slow down as soon as they are in front of you, refuse to use turn signals, yada, yada.
At a previous job, I had a boss that liked to reach his arm through the door of the women’s restroom, while we were in there, to turn off the light. To save electricty. So, we could pee in the dark! What a putz!
Another time, a couple of years ago, (when I lived far inland and my best source of seafood was a supermarket about 15 miles away) I called the seafood department to find out if they had what I wanted before making the trip. I said, “Could you tell me if you have mussels?” He said, “Oh, yeah, I have muscles, got a big muscle right here.” I hung up. What a putz!
And, another time, long ago, I had a customer come into the bank to complain that we shorted him a penny in interest earnings. I tried to explain about the rounding factors, but he insisted that we ripped all of our customers off a penny and were getting rich of their backs. I reached in my drawer and handed him a penny, but he refused to accept it, arguing about the principle of the thing. I know it cost him way more than a penny to come to the bank and argue about this. What a putz!
Putz is a great word. And, I’ve decided to use it as my word of choice whenever or wherever I encounter an idiot in my future!
Do you have a putz story to contribute?