Blog: Tax the Gentiles

Burt Ross

Let’s get something straight right now before you read any further. If you are of the Christian faith, and you get offended easily, then quit reading this column immediately. There are all kinds of other things to read in this newspaper.

A few months back, I heard a most Aryan looking chap utter the word “oy.” I was naturally enraged, outraged and any other word that has “raged” in it. How could somebody who looked right out of the Third Reich use one of “my” words?

That is when I realized that people who are not members of my tribe are using Yiddish words all the time and, I might add, without my permission. I have never experienced such a blatant violation of copyright law without just compensation. 

Now, if you think I am exaggerating, please understand that whenever a nonmember of the tribe says “glitch” to describe a minor malfunction or “klutz” to refer to a clumsy person, or “kibitz” to portray unwanted advice, or “meshuga” to characterize crazy behavior, or “nosh” to depict a snack, we are being deprived of our just due.

Yiddish may be a dying language, but until it is pronounced officially dead, its use by outsiders should be taxed. If you do not like the concept of a tax, then feel free to call it a fee or, since we are in the age of Trump, you can call it a tariff, if that makes you feel any better. For those of you in the entertainment business, you can call it a royalty or residual.

Now, I am not trying to make a fortune from this charge—perhaps only 10 cents per use of a Yiddish word. Surely, a language that gives us four words to describe male apparatus—“schmuck,” “schmeckle,” “putz” and “schlong”—is worth something.

My daughter, upon reading a draft of this column, said, “oy,” but since she is only half Jewish and half Christian, I have decided to charge her only half price—a nickel.