Monday, August 12, 2013

Gay kocken offen yam.

Uncle Slappy and Aunt Sylvie arrived just at our villa just a couple of hours ago. We've rented a place with three bedrooms: one for us, of course; one for them; and one for my daughter should she care to stay with us when she's on break from work.

Aunt Sylvie is, as you might expect, "old skool" and she insisted on un-packing the very instant she arrived--putting everything neatly in drawers and hanging Uncle Slappy's loud floral shirts on the wooden hangers in the closet.

Uncle Slappy on the other hand is like a 12-year-old boy. He was in his swim trunks (also floral) before he had even slurped his "welcome drink," a mango-passionfruit concoction, dry.

He and I headed to the pool and jumped right in.

I have to hand it to the old man, especially in light of my own recent health problems, at 86, he still looks pretty good. He's strong in the water, too, and quickly did a few powerful strokes before stopping and doing what he does best--kibbitz with me.

"Let's walk to the ocean, Boychick," he said splashing me with the back of his right hand. "I live on the ocean but this is the Caribbean and I want to go to the ocean."

We walked the twenty or so feet from the pool to the ocean and Uncle Slappy and I were soon up to our necks in the brine.

"Gay kocken offen yam," the old man said in Yiddish. "Go shit in the ocean."

This is probably the most mild and the most useful of the thousands of Yiddish curses Uncle Slappy knows. It's really just a salty way of saying "go chase yourself," or "piss up a rope," or "take a long walk off a short pier," or "go bark up a tree," or anyone of the myriad ways to tell someone to "get lost."

"I have decided," the old man continued, "that the entire time I'm here, I will pee no place but the ocean."

I laughed.

"There's nothing like it. And frankly I'm not worried one iota about whether it's "sustainable" or not. I think if you go too long without pissing in the ocean, you become uncivilized."

I laughed again and conceded: "I see your point. But what about the middle of the night if you have to go?" I asked.

"I will sleep in my trunks and walk out through the patio door. Fortunately, we are close enough to hear the waves. Aunt Sylvie won't even miss me." He repeated "Gay kocken offen yam."

At this point Aunt Sylvie and my wife had strolled down to the beach and Uncle Slappy and I left the water to go for a walk with the girls.

The girls did most of the talking--that's fairly typical for the four of us. But every 20 yards or so, Uncle Slappy looked wistfully at the sea and said, quietly under his breath, "Gay kocken offen yam."

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