Monday, September 03, 2007

A Reader Writes

"what exactly does "Feh" mean? I feel rather dumb to even ask"

Not so! A good question!

I was once told that living in New York City conferred upon you the perks of being honorarily Jewish and honorarily puerto rican. If, that is, you weren't already. And in the context of the whitebread world I currently inhabit, I've certainly found some truth in that.

And I think that's where "Feh" comes from. A very useful term, and because of its yiddish origins, it can sound both homey and exotic at the same time. And Feh doesn't stand alone. There's a whole family of ejaculations (the correct grammatical term) along those line.

So here is the Only Guide You'll Ever Need To Feh And Its Siblings...

"Eh." An expression of indifference to the options presented. Akin to, "Mesa mesa," or "N'import pas à moi," or "six of one, half dozen the other."

"Heh." "I find that wryly amusing." Reading accounts of all of the Family Values votin' Republicans swept up in scandals lately causes me to utter "Heh" in response.

"Geh." Deriding as useless, but with overtones of disgust. Like when you'd like cheddar cheese to grate on top of your chili, remember you have some in the fridge, but discover a small, grey-green fuzzy brick in the deli drawer.

"Beh" "Not like I care, but what you're saying is bullshit." Probably a derivation of the briticisms "Bah" and "Bosh."

"Meh." "WhatEVER." Similar to "Eh," but also expressing impatience. As in, "Meh. Don't bother me with questions like that."

"Feh." Useless for my purposes. Easy to remember as it shares the first phonic syllable with "feckless." Again, with overtones of frustration.

Okay. Got all that?

Pop quiz!

Indicate the appropriate response to each of the following. Answers can be found below.

1. "We shouldn't give up on the idea of establishing a toehold for democracy in Iraq that could spread throughout the Middle East."

2. "Let's stop for lunch. Wendy's or Burger King?"

3. "Sorry to keep you waiting. I was throwing up in the bathroom just now."

4. "I'll sell you the whole Girls Gone Wild video collection for just $50!"

5. "Sorry to interrupt you while you're watching Game Five of the World Series, but what would you guess Sandy Duncan is doing right now?"

6. "When asked what he considered to be his greatest achievement while in office, the outgoing Attorney General answered, 'I can't recall.'"


1. Beh 2. Eh 3. Geh 4. Feh 5. Meh 6. Heh

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