04 April 2005

The Big Schmuck

I was backstage at Lyric Opera, watching Mime (Dennis Petersen) forging the sword of Sigfried in Das Rheingold, when I asked Eric (one of the stage managers):

Dutchman: Did he say “schumck?”

Eric: (Worried) I don’t think so.

(Just then, Dennis came off stage, and so I asked him.)

Dutchman: Were you singing about a schmuck?

Dennis: I was singing about a really big schmuck!

Eric: (now really worried) Oh!

Dutchman: What?

Eric: Do you know what that means?

Dutchman: In German? Yeah, schmuck means “jewel.”

Eric: Oh! Well, in Yiddish is means something else …

Dutchman: Really, what?

Eric: Just — something else.

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