I was writing this morning about the difference between augur and auger and interesting things about both words. The interesting thing about an auger is that it used to be a nauger but then, somehow, there was confusion about how the words split and we were left with an auger and nauger isn’t even a word.
I was reminded of a joke in Cathleen Schine’s The Three Weissmans of Westport, which I didn’t really have time to reproduce then but will now. Here it is:
An old man who’s just retired to Florida asks another old guy, “How do you stand it. After two days already I’m bored.”
“Simple,” says the guy in a heavy Yiddish accent. “I have a nobby.”
“A nobby?” says the first old man. “What’s a nobby?”
“A nobby, a nobby— like collecting stemps.”
“You collect stamps?” the first one asks.
“Stemps? No. I keep bees. In mine condo.”
He takes the newcomer up the elevator, into his condo, takes a shoe box from the closet, and lifts the lid. “There!”
“But they’re all dead! This is just a box full of dead bees! What kind of a beekeeper are you?”
“Hey,” says the guy. “It’s just a nobby.”
Here’s where I would use this as a catapulting metaphor to launch an insightful observation about life. But, in fact, I just liked the book and liked this joke. And now I won’t forget it — or if I do, I know where I can find it.