Saturday, November 11, 2006

Too Funny to be Fiction

A store downtown is advertising specially decorated cakes for "the holidays." They have a sample on display. It is a round, white cake, with green holly leaves and red berries adorning the edges. Red icing traces intricate, swirly caligraphy across the middle.

We may never know if it was poor spelling, poor penmanship, or both, but instead of Joy someone has decorated the "holiday" cake to proclaim Goy*.

How great is that! Afterall, "goy" is way closer than "joy" to what I'm actually thinking when I look at a Christmas wreath. Now I know what to bring to the agency "holiday party" potluck! I just hope someone gets the joke.

*For my hypothetical reader who might be one, I should explain this word. Goy is a slightly rude Yiddish word for a person who is not Jewish. How rude it is depends on context. The connotation can range from tolerant ("He doesn't know the blessings, he's a goy."), to wary ("Donna's new boyfriend's okay, but, he's a goy..."), to exasperated ("Another official department event scheduled on Yom Kippur. A goy did that for sure.), to angry ("Why your zayde was poor his whole life? Cause the goyim, that's why."), and so on. Yiddish is flexible that way.

So anyway, it's funny, you see, because it's redundant. A Christmas cake that says Goy on it. Because anybody who knows what goy means already knows it's a goyishe cake. Only it's not completely redundant, because "goy" is Yiddish, so pretty much only a Jew would use it. So the market for a Christmas cake that says Goy would be pretty narrow - Jews who celebrate Christmas (that's a story for another entry, but yes, they exist) and goyim who are in with Jews enough to mock themselves. Mostly likely both of those at the same party. This is a very Jewish joke, because you need to know at least 2 cultures and 1-1/2 languages to get it, and not everyone who finds it funny is laughing for the same reason, or with the same emotion.

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

You have inspired me. Should I have a required attendance at a "Holiday Party," I will make every attempt to bring a "goy" cake. Coming from a goy perhaps it will not be as funny to some, but it may well be more funny to others.

That cake reminded me hilariously of the blue and white "christmas tree lights" that I saw a few years ago.

Obstructing Reality said...

I would buy that cake in a heartbeat, and give it to someone irritating as an xmas present. Any ideas?

And hey, guess what? The glass onion called me from the highway yesterday! She reappears!

Obstructing Reality said...

Wait! I know exactly who I would share that cake with, and she's not irritating - the glass onion hereself! She'd love it!

Davey said...

anonymous -
i hear in some countries ... well, actually, only in one country ... they sell those lights and call them sukkah lights.
obstructing reality -
who the hell is glass onion? is she a goy? can you use goy for a singular feminine person? (i mean feminine grammatically, i'm not speculating on this person's gender expression).