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Half Genius, Half Jerk

April 3, 2016 | by Marnie Winston-Macauley

Do you have Unconscious Mental Farblungenheit syndrome?

After years of exhaustive research as both a humorist and counselor, I’ve come to a startling conclusion about We Jews. Not one other person, scholar, anthropologist or yes, even comic has mentioned this. Why? It’s a hidden condition even from Freud himself.

I labelled it “UMF.” It means Unconscious Mental Farblungenheit. Got it? No? OK. Among many Jews I know, I’ve noticed in simple terms, a split brains. Yes. Many MOTS are part genius, part nudnik/semi-lunatic. Just look. Albert Einstein alone had many brains. Wildly different brains! The man who could figure out E=MC2, didn’t talk until he was almost in school in which he was considered an idiot. Exams he couldn’t pass, he could barely remember his own phone number, had a weird “thing” about socks, and patented an ugly fridge to name a few. Need I go on to other great Jewish talents who suffer from UMF? Need I mention smart, famous Jews who are anti-Israel? And then there’s Bobby Fischer.

So, I asked myself, is there a relationship between genius and jerk? I think so. And given that many MOTS are very very smart this is relevant. It could be that the brightest among us – and that includes funny people --see the world differently from others.

Considering that We Jews have a lot on our minds, never mind our plate … is it not only natural, but expected, that we can’t stick everything in one simple brain – and not wonder, remember, or care? So here are my own personal UMFs. Do any of these sound familiar? Resonate?


1. Why didn’t the team from Mission Impossible just kill the person?

Explanation: I know there would be no story. But as a writer I have to wonder “should there be?” All those disguises, the building, shlepping, and not one government person would say they know them? This is some megillah. Why not, instead of self-destroying tapes, making masks and rigging explosives, doesn’t one of the team sneak in and Boom! Am I right or is this a case of UMF?

PICK ONE: She’s right. This resonates:______________ It’s her UMF: ________________

2. How come, when you reverse driving directions, e.g.: Left on Boulder, Right on Sahara, Left on Shmeggege, Left on Bulvan … it doesn’t work when you do the opposite coming back??

Explanation: This to me defies logic. If I get someplace using directions isn’t it only sensible if you do the opposite you’ll get back? I can’t tell you how often I wind up in another State, like Utah.

PICK ONE: She’s right. This resonates:______________ It’s her UMF: ________________

3. Who declared that bananas should be a fruit?

Explanation: A fruit should be Juicy. Sweet. Tempting. Even a tomato has more juice! A thing should be a “fruit” when it’s mushy with chaloshes strings hanging from it? I don’t think so. (I do, however, like banana flavoring. This is what a banana should be. Flavoring.

PICK ONE: She’s right. This resonates: ______________ It’s her UMF: ________________

4. Is it so wrong to ask strangers if they think I may be dying? Or, show one’s X-rays to strangers ... at the Dollar Store?

Explanation: People, real people know. Besides, I need to go to a doctor who will tell me: “We’re all dying”? Brilliant answer from Mr.MedicalSchoolGraduate. When was the last time you went to a doctor who knew something if his/her answer is: “We’re all dying.”

PICK ONE: She’s right. This resonates: ______________ It’s her UMF: ________________

5. I clean with dirty rags.

Explanation: If I’m cleaning something dirty, I should make clean rags dirty from what I’m cleaning? This, to me, is idiotic. All I’d be doing is making something clean, dirty, when I can use rag that’s already dirty and not create new dirty.

PICK ONE: She’s right. This resonates: ______________ It’s her UMF: ________________

6. What’s wrong with leaving simple messages, especially if you’re busy? For example: While working in the New York City prison system I left the following message for my late husband on the answering device: “Going to New Jersey to pick up baby from Black Panthers. Put on the oven.”

Explanation: This needs more explanation? Plus, I was busy with Federal officers. Plus, I had to find New Jersey. It doesn’t need a book. Today I would have tweeted. And yes, I still leave similar messages, for example to my son: “Darling, am not home. The fire department is taking care of things.”

PICK ONE: She’s right. This resonates: ______________ It’s her UMF: ________________

7. So I misplace things like my keys, my bag, my car, my cochlear implant?

Explanation: I’m thinking of a new story for AISH. I’m supposed to remember where these things are?? Now true, it’s not easy to misplace a cochlear implant that’s in your brain, partly. But trust me, when you’re this busy, a brain can leak and you wouldn’t know it.

PICK ONE: She’s right. This resonates: ______________ It’s her UMF: ________________

8. Yesterday I passed a store called BIG Kmart. Has anyone ever seen a little K-mart? I got a little upset.

Explanation: The smallest Kmart I ever saw was the size of Rhode Island. We need redundancy? And while I’m on the subject, why doesn’t Walmart sell walls? After all, Toys ‘R Us sells toys. Furniture City sells, what else? Furniture! Yet not one wall in Walmart.

PICK ONE: She’s right. This resonates: ______________ It’s her UMF: ________________

9. Is it so unusual to spray oneself with toxic Pest bombs many times and wind up in the E.R.?

Explanation: Have you ever seen the directions on a Pest Bomb? If you’re over 40 you need a magnifying glass from maybe NASA to read them, never mind see a nozzle! I’m not Annie Oakley. So I shoot the wrong way. Trust me. It isn’t pleasant.

PICK ONE: She’s right. This resonates: ______________ It’s her UMF: ________________

10. I’ve bought 1,000 reading glasses from the Discount yet not once can I find a pair of glasses I can see out of. Worse I have 3,000 half- glasses with something missing ... like a stem or a lens.

Explanation: Is it so hard to make “mix ‘n match” glasses? The store knows they’ll break in two minutes, but you’d think they’d have the brains to make them so all the glasses have pieces that fit! No. This is too difficult for glasses industry to think of. Which, now that I think of it, could make me a fortune on Shark Tank.

PICK ONE: She’s right. This resonates: ______________ It’s her UMF: ________________

(P.S. Let me know how I scored in the comments section below)

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