Wednesday, August 31, 2005

What's in a Name?

I had a lovely drive this morning dropping Owl at her office. The temp was in the upper 30's; brisk breezes kept sand dancing lightly across the roads; the traffic was super light because it was a Thursday preceeded by a religious holiday.

We made the trip in record time without a single near-miss... or so I thought. As I was making a left turn into Owl's office parking lot we (By the Grace of God) narrowly missed getting broad-sided by a speeding car passing me on the left in spite of the fact that I had my turn signal on...(Lest I should forget I was still in the UAE where driving is fast and furious, even on secondary roads.) I saw him and swirved just barely missing a high speed crash at my door.

I pulled away, thanking God for the last-second rescue. Soon I approached a huge machine in the road. Owl's office is in a converted warehouse in the industrial area where semi-trucks and slow moving monster equipment all rule the roads. This bright red and orange behemoth was a crane/cement squirter used to deliver wet cement many stories above ground at high rise building construction sites. Bold lettering declaired it to be the Putzmeister Elephant. Not seeing much Yiddish in the UAE, it amuzed me greatly. I only knew putz as a Yiddish verb meaning to move about in a lazy way. I thought to myself, "That's me, I putz around the house all day and I'm large. I could be a putzmeister elephant too. Maybe I'll adopt it as a new nickname. It could go into the family lexicon alongside Wicked Sloth-monkey, and Iccky Fish."
Owl would come home from a hard day of reportering and ask me, "Whadja do all day, Mom?"
"Oh, not much," I'd reply casually. "I read. I blogged. I did the dishes. I was really just a putzmeister elephant today."

I was surprized when I got home and looked up the meaning of putz at


1. Slang. A fool; an idiot.
2. Vulgar Slang. A penis.

intr.v. Slang putzed, putz·ing, putz·es

To behave in an idle manner; putter.

[Yiddish pots, penis, fool.]

Now I know why a hugely long fluid shooting retractable crane was named a putzmeister elephant... and NO, I don't want it as a nickname anymore. Thank you.


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