Friday, August 8, 2008

Today's Yiddish Vocabulary Lesson!

We had big adventure yesterday afternoon at the Matthews house, as the skies turned black, the wind started howling, and quarter-sized hail fell from the sky... My sons and I were so entranced by what we saw banging against the windows at our front door that we completely missed the tree falling across the yard out our back door! I think the hail was making such a racket that I couldn't hear the 30-foot tall Bradford Pear crack and leave more than half of itself in the yard. The tree split apart at the crotch - the place where the main branches met about 5 feet off the ground, so that half of it fell and landed just a couple of feet from my deck, while the other half remains standing ... Thankfully, THAT part of the tree still screens us from Georgia Avenue, which runs next to the house!

Fate has a funny way of working sometimes... Months ago, there was an article in the Washington Post, that said Bradford Pear trees are basically "weed" trees... A hybrid piece of genetic crap that was bred to grow quickly (pleasing home builders), but which have terribly weak limbs. We have three of them in our backyard. Anyway... way back when this article was published, I clipped it and gave it to the wife to read, which of course she never did until - coincidentally - about 3 or 4 days ago, when she proclaimed, "Oh well, we just had the pear tree trimmed a few weeks ago, so I'm sure it will be fine".

This, my friends, is what we Yiddish speakers call a kaynahorah... Here is the Yiddish glossary definition:

Kaynahorah - Lit: the evil eye. Pronounced in order to ward of the evil eye, especially when speaking of one's good fortune.

In practical terms, whenever you declare something going well, you are giving yourself a kaynahorah - i.e., a guarantee that whatever you just declared to be going well is doomed to now be cursed. Common kaynahorahs include announcing that traffic is not so bad... there is bound to be a jam around the next corner... or saying that your car has been behaving well... Be prepared to drop a thousand bucks in the repair shop any minute now.

The tree guy was in the backyard hacking apart the tree when I got home from work today... Several hundred pounds of wood ended up in the chipper... and I ended up with the bill. How much the bill is, I don't know. Robin is afraid to tell me, although she assures me it is in the three, not four digit range.

Lesson learned. Until I get my next full-time job, there shall be no more kaynahorahs in my house! This will hopefully have a secondary positive benefit when I do not declare that the Redskins will have a winning season!

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