What a putz!

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?


20 thoughts on “What a putz!

    • Mari, you and I had talked once about Yiddish words, which is why I asked you to read this post. Thanks so much!

      • I sometimes wonder if I was Jewish in a past life. I seem to “speak Yiddish” as easily as I do English. 😉

        • Sounds like you have a bit of Yiddish saykhel! You know, I have loved perusing the on-line Yiddish dictionaries and am learning a few more words and phrases so I can kibitz and shmooz with my shiksas!

        • Thank goodness for Yiddishisms! I sometimes think how sad it would have been if my husband hadn’t had met me….his vocabulary would seriously lacking. Ha!

          • Carrie, sometimes our husbands don’t appreciate, as they should, the wit and knowledge that spews from our mouths! But, we’ll keep trying!

  1. Cindy,
    I had to think on this last night. I have encountered some really big putz’s. The biggest putz of all was a new boss that called all the DM’s into the main office in Newark, NJ (it was lunch time & we didn’t even have anything to eat). He comes in late & we are all waiting……sits down & unwraps this big sub & starts eating it…… slobbering all over the place! I thought it was so sick. There were other stories about this guy but that’s a different day……what a freaking putz he was!

  2. If I can use the word Putz interchangeably with idiot, I too have a story that happened just today! I work for a doctors office. My office manager, who is usually a very intelligent woman, can not say the word Penis or Vagina. She refers to these anatomical parts as “my thing” or “his thing” or “their things.” She said it doesn’t sound so dirty to use the word “thing”. Of course we all laughed at her!

      • Maybe I should teach her the yiddish word for penis, schmeckel. As in, “I knew him before he had hair on his schmeckel”.

        • Carrie, OMG! Ha, ha, ha! Excellently, wickedly funny! I am so proud of you! Yes, everyone, she is her mother’s daughter! Woo hoo!

  3. I’ve known lots of putzes, but one stands out. He was the owner of a very large and very profitable construction equipment company. He was a mean, nasty man. Every week he held a staff meeting and chose one of the senior executives or outside field reps to be the focus of the meeting. He would then proceed to demean these people in every possible manner. He would discuss every mistake they had ever made and even force the others in the room to do the same. He also used unbelievably foul language and actually directed his venomous remarks toward specific individuals that had somehow annoyed him on any given day. Now, let me say this, he did pay VERY WELL, so some people chose to stay. I stayed exactly three months. I remember that because I had gotten the job through an employment agency. It was in those days when you paid. Well, the company had paid half the fee and I had paid half with the agreement that if they were pleased with my work, the company would reimburse my half after three months. I got that reimbursement check, took it to the bank, cashed it, and quit!

    I’m on a putz roll. There is one whole group of people I consider putzes…hypocrites. It really bugs me when I hear individuals spouting their virtues and moral values and going on and on about how good and kind and considerate of others they are and about how we all should be like them, when in actuality you know they are selfish, mean, backstabbers.

    • Daneen, Whew! I’m glad you got that off your chest! (Just kidding). So you worked for a full-time putz! Wow. I am humbled by your stamina! I don’t think I could have done it! This boss’s name wasn’t Dan, was it?

  4. how funny, I have a half-written post about more or less the same thing. Except it’s about one particular putz (my husband) and his unconscious but constant attempts to derail my diet. I can’t decide whether to post it. He IS my hub. and it’s conceivably possible he might read it.

    • Sheri, Thanks for the comment! I think it very possible that not only can you complete your article, your hubby will be able to read it and enjoy what you say about him, too. You have that knack with words!

  5. Everyone knows a putz or twenty. Kara got me saying “ass munch” so instead of calling the idiot driver in front of me a putz I call him an ass munch. Kara gets her road rage from me!! I’m so proud! My husband has been driving like an old man so I would call him a putzy driver but not an ass munch. Can a she be a putz? What is the female version of putz?

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