’21 A To Z Challenge – K

 

 

 

 

 

 

Everybody has to be from somewhere – and that includes words.

I once heard a co-worker complain about a fellow-employee, that, “He’s a cheap bastard. Always wants everything buckshee.”  I got the meaning from context – free, at no cost – but buckshee??  Where did that come from?

At first I thought that it was from India, something from one of its 40+ languages and dialects.  However, research revealed that it was originally Arabic, from Persia – Iran, as we call it today.  It came to English as baksheesh – meaning a tip, a bribe, or a charitable donation – nouns which my rustic speaker had mispronounced into an adjective.

Recently, I thought I’d found its camel-chasing cousin.  Out of a sandstorm of definition confusion, and, from context, meaning the same as baksheesh and the term lagniappe, rode the word

KICKSHAW

Kickshaw – rickshaw – buckshee….  Surely it came from the East, but NO!
Kickshaw – a tidbit or delicacy, especially one served as an appetizer or hors d’oeuvre.
something showy but without value; trinket; a trifle, something a little extra.

It rowed across The Channel from France, and wormed its way into the English language about 1590/1600 as a badly pronounced back-formation of the French term quelque chose.  In French, it just means “something,” but in English, it has come to mean ‘something extra/something special.”

Next week we’ll be visiting its modern-day Yiddish relative, tchotchke.  Bring an appetite and your credit card.  There’ll be as many latkes – potato pancakes – as you can eat.  😀

Swimming With Arrogant Entitlement

Swimming Pool

A couple in Toronto purchased a house with a swimming pool. Since the wife was a qualified swim instructor, she immediately took in young students, three per half-hour session, from 9:00 AM to 4:00 PM, plus her own two young children.

Her neighbor was a young female psychotherapist who took a few clients at her house, as well as studying for her PhD, and soon requested that she only teach in the evenings, and on the weekends. She ignored this request.

The neighbor needed quiet to work and study, and wanted her legally-mandated Peaceful Enjoyment of Property. She was informed that she was violating the 24-hour noise bylaw.  She ignored this also.

Her local city councillor personally came out, to use his tact and diplomacy to negotiate a compromise settlement. She agreed to limit her hours to Noon till 5:00 PM.  The councillor was barely back in his office, when she ignored the compromise, and reverted to all-day, noisy swim times.

The neighbor called Bylaw Enforcement, who came out and told her that she was violating a commercial bylaw which forbid an all-day, outdoor business. She was ordered to immediately Cease and Desist.  She went to City Hall, paid $1000 for a variance, (I pronounce it ‘bribe’) and continued her noisy, all-day sessions.

When she learned that the neighbors had filed a grievance with the OMB – the Ontario Municipal Board – claiming that the variance should be declared invalid, she somehow managed to get the Toronto Sun to publish a half-page story c/w a photo of her and her skating rink swimming pool.

She vehemently asserted that it was the neighbor who continued to insist on getting ‘everything her way or the highway.’ There are none so blind as those who will not see – that they are the problem.  😳