Sunday, February 12, 2006

Oy vey!

I have been reliably informed that there are people in this country who don't know what oy vey means.

True story: when I was in the hospital right after knee surgery, the woman in the next bed kept up a constant moaning of oy vey, or sometimes just oy the lite version. When I mentioned this to my father, who came to visit me, he protested, "But she's black."

Nevertheless, I heard her say oy vey for about 18 hours. The other six of the 24 were given over to exhortations to Jesus.

My Swedish-Scotch-Irish-possibly German son-in-law says it in a midwestern accent.

Oy vey is the international language of woe. In fact, I believe it can be translated roughly as "Woe is me." It expresses misery, pain, dismay, the whole tragic view of life. Saying oy vey over and over is called "kvetching." But lets not get into that.

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