Surely You Can’t Be Serious

by Norman Horowitz

Ted Striker: Surely you can’t be serious.

Dr. Rumack: I am serious…and don’t call me Shirley.

— Airplane! (1980)

Today’s Yiddish word of the day is sechel. Loosely translated, it means “just plain smarts, a grasp on what really is and really counts, that cuts and sees through it all, that guides you to do the right thing the right way at the right time, to size up what’s really going on, to see where someone really comes from, to understand what does and doesn’t matter.” A modern-day synonym might be “street smarts.”

I enlisted in the Air Force in 1952 at the age of 19. I spent 4 years assuming that somehow in the upper echelons of the Command Structure there was “brilliance” because there sure was no sign of it that I could see. There was a good deal of “smart” around me but without any of the brilliance that I expected to see.   Continue reading “Surely You Can’t Be Serious”