Bernard Bar Natan

Up Schitz Creek Without a Paddle

The exact origin of the expression is unknown however the two versions briefly presented here seem to be the most quoted. The first refers to an obscure northern European colonial would-be bwana, named F. Olaf Schitz of Crohn. He heard of Capt. Spaulding, the African explorer, who shot an elephant in his pajamas and attended a lecture about Professor Livingston who went to discover the source of the Nile, found two, a Blue and a White, but became lost himself. So Schitz, suffering overwhelmingly from dyslexia, delusions and poor hearing didn’t hear; a Nile source, and took ship to discover the one true source of the Anal; a worthy undertaking for a Westphalian.

His guides led the very pale white man to the deepest, darkest, to where the sunlight never reaches, most remote, uncharted jungles, terra incognita of Mobutu, Mugabe, Uwaylee and finally into Umama’s dense bush. Somewhere deep inside Umama he planted his seed establishing his plantation and mill. He dammed and diverted most of what he called the Red Nile to create the energy for his mill and left a trickle in the original track because he was such a naturalist. There is no Red Nile, but Schitz was adamant that he had discovered a third Nile, the original one that is featured in the Book of Exodus, Plague 1; and will publicize his findings as soon as he finds them. The stream which was small to begin with now became a muddy creek and some seasons disappeared altogether until it rained someplace else higher up and far away. The area was the most inhospitable possible. Mosquitos flourished out of proportion to nature and Darwin, were as big as butterflies and bit like dogs. The animals had no manners and would eat a person without so much as a Guten Tag. All of the people eaten until Schitz and his Crohnies made their appearance were from the local Fissura Tribe. The crocodiles for example, were always in a bad mood, always hungry; the Fissurans could run pretty quickly and were very skinny. Chronic, severe dehydration compounded on their hunger, they hadn’t enough fluids to squeeze out a tear when they did have a bite. All the crocs had migraines all the time; not a pretty sight. No amount of fish oil in the cracks and crevices of the creek banks would deter the crocs from climbing out and crossing large stretches of dry land to get to some wading depth swamp; and if a morsel on two or four legs happened to cross their paths; Jungle Rules. Even during the wet season sometimes there wasn’t enough water to totally submerge and escape the blood sucking, bitch mosquitos, but sometimes it was also like a buffet come true. Boats and canoes would come up the creek and run out of water. Getting stuck in the mud meant to either wait for a rain shower, or to get out of the boat into the mucky swamp or swampy muck, take your pick; and pull the boat to deeper water. If done as quickly and as watchfully as possible, it was doable; however sometimes it ended very badly for the boat puller.

The claim is that the expression should be attributed to Schatzee Fuhlovia Schwartzblut. She was a poste order bride for Schitz who sadly was never able to consummate the nuptials and remained Schatzee Fuhlovia Schwartzblut Schitz in name only. She was on her way to her betrothed when her boat ran aground. You see, Schatzee was a very big lady with 2 very big steamer trunks filled with her very big weekday and Sunday clothes, her very big wedding dress and a special box for the wedding night. In addition she brought a dowry of 12 very big kegs of preserved pigs’ knuckles and 12 kegs of sauerkraut whose weight just embedded the boat deeply and solidly into the mud. In spite of her objections and protests, the first to go overboard were the kegs, then the Fissura thought to free the boat by tipping the trunks over the side but the boat was stuck so solidly even that didn’t help. When Schatzee saw that her trunks, pigs’ knuckles and sauerkraut were tossed overboard for no good reason, this was too much! She was able to retrieve one or two kegs by using her long arms and a paddle, but most of the kegs were out of her reach. Incensed at the thought of losing her dowry, she threw 2 of the 4 Fissura rowers out of the boat into the watery muck. To one she gave a rope, pointed and barked: Ziehen in the direction of the bank where most of the kegs were congregating and from the other Fissuran she ordered a roundup of the strays. The rowers still in the boat jumped out without Schatzee having to ask which this time did lighten it enough so that when they did push and pull they were able to nudge the boat out of its muddy berth and push and pull it over to the bank. Schatzee’s trunks had settled firmly into the mud, and could not be moved. Though the description of the scene may be extremely applicable; the characterization; stick in the mud, is purely coincidental. It made no sense to reload the kegs onto the boat so 3 of the rowers became bearers and started carrying the kegs overland to the Schitz House. Schatzee continued on her way by boat to the altar. Schitz met his bride to be at the dock and it was clear from the first moment that Schatzee smote Schitz. In the old country, Schitz was at the low end of average height, not very strong but with some girth because of the beer, pretzels and schweinshaxe. Since entering Umama’s bush, he was still on the short side, and now also on the thin side, almost gaunt. Schatzee towered over Schitz in all directions and they both loved it. They decided to have the ceremony on the spot dressed as they were, Schatzee happily agreed to forego the wedding dress, but insisted that she have her boudoir on her wedding night; Schitz was platzing with excitement and anticipation! The ceremony conducted by Crack, the Fissura chief and witch doctor was quick and simple. Each one spit in the face of the other. He told them that it was an ancient Fissura tradition that he decided upon just for them. That in such arid conditions, the physical act of giving someone else precious moisture is the highest expression of love and commitment. Crack pronounced them wet and it started to drizzle which was seen by all as a very good omen. After the guests had gone, Schitz sent 2 Fissurans with a team of animals and wagon to the creek and he with a couple of Fissurans went by boat to extricate the trunks from the mud. The trunks were still stuck in the mud when Schitz arrived but the water level was rising which should help to buoy the monoliths free from the creek bottom; but it could also help to create a watery passage for the crocodiles and hide their approach. Schitz jumped out of the boat into the now semi rushing stream which came up to just above his belt and tied ropes around the trunks. All he could think of was to return to his bride with her things as quickly as he could and she would be that much more appreciative. He tried to jostle and dislodge them from the mud, but they didn’t move a millimeter. He waded over with the ends of the ropes to the bank where the Fissurans would come. As soon as the wagon arrived, the rope ends were tied to the team’s harness and the trunks were dragged free and onto the shore. All the Fissurans were needed to lift the trunks onto the wagon and Schitz sent them ahead as soon as they were ready.

From this point, it’s all conjecture as to what transpired. Schitz was heading back alone by boat when he saw one of Schatzee’s kegs floating in the flowing creek. He must have thought; she was considerate enough to bring him such a delectable dowry and every keg, kraut or knuckles was a bounty, so he could not just leave it. Probably using one of his paddles, he tried to draw the keg close enough to the boat to be lifted out of the water. Likely, just as Schitz leaned over the side of the boat to retrieve the keg, it’s not sure how many, but more than one croc attacked causing Schitz to fall overboard. He apparently put up a very impressive and valiant fight with only a paddle in one hand and the broken shaft of his other paddle in the other hand. There were jungle legends of one eyed crocs and crocs with missing teeth and permanently deformed snouts and skulls from the pummeling they received at the hands of Schitz and his paddles. Alas, all that was found was his empty boat, a broken keg of sauerkraut and the remains of two human and reptilian blood stained, bitten and chewed to pieces paddles floating on the water.

Schatzee was brought her trunks, and prepared for her wedding night which tragically never came. She waited all night at the dock dressed only in her snow white silk nightgown and was there when they brought the empty boat back to the dock. When she saw the bite marks in the boat, the sauerkraut spilling out between the splintered keg staves and the chewed remains of the two bloody paddles the story is that she screamed: What’s this Schitz? Schitz happens in my life and then leaves me like an empty boat without a paddle. She became known as; Schreien Schatzee, The Screaming White Widow.

The other origin commonly quoted refers to an homesteader, the North American way to say; colonial would-be bwana, also of course, named Schitz who got off the boat in the Western Hemisphere just in time to follow Greeley’s advice to go West. He filed a claim on land with a creek that traversed back and forth from side to side and had strong currents. Can creeks have currents? Isn’t it called a creek because the water just sort of creeks along? Schitz opened a boat and canoe short term rental business to service the travelers passing through. At first, paddles were included but nobody gave to Schitz and the paddles weren’t returned with the boats that were left to drift back downstream to the Schitz House. He took the names of renters and sent bounty, or rather paddle hunters after those who didn’t turn in their paddles; so you didn’t want your name on the Schitz List. Mistakes were made, customers and loyal supporters were molested, rumors were; the Schitz hit more than one fan; also not a pretty sight. Having boats with no paddles; the Schitz washed their hands of the whole business.

A shovel, a frying pan, a piece of wood could work if you had any one of them. The benches and then planks from the sides of the boats were removed for this purpose which eventually turned the boats into rafts with no place to sit and open to the splatter and spray. As a last resort, gloves or no gloves, paddling by hand for dear life; otherwise there’s no way to counteract being carried by the flow, much less steer for the bank. No chance of making for the calmer Stool Stream, also known as the Little Schitz which bifurcates off to fill Poop Pond and Colon Cove before being swooshed down into Sigmoid’s Funnel. Once here, picking up speed, with no means of guidance or braking, it’s straight through Sphincter’s Pass to the Rectal Rapids. The important precautionary instruction not to stand up or rock the boat is totally correct for the general maritime situation, irrelevant on the Schitz. Whether you made it through the funnel and the rapids with or without a wipeout is academic; in the flush of an instant, destiny leaves you no alternatives but one; to go over Fecal Falls and come gushing down into the whirlpool of Double U Sea Bay.

In homage to the greatest and name dropping passed the limit, with a little bawdiness and innuendo Titania loved Bottom the Ass; get it – Bottom, Ass? And a few hundred years later on the same island the Pythons killed the Norwegian Blue parrot, you know what I mean, nudge, nudge? Fiction, especially Farce is wonderful. You can write and recite, picture and portray pretty much anything. Understandable partially, totally or not at all, give countenance and expression, albeit a Fun House mirror reflection of the human experience through nonsense and gibberish.

Up the proverbial creek without a paddle is not a good position to be in! It doesn’t leave room for hope or optimism. Unlike the adages which promote a more laid back, wait and see, open minded attitude to life. The Arabic rhyme; yom asal, yom basal; one day cream, one day onions; one day the good life, one day tears; probably thought of on a creamy day. Or The Roaring 20’s then Depression American; one day chicken, one day feathers, one day all you can eat, one day nothing to eat. Every Dog Has His Day holds out some degree of promise, and even the closely related Shit Happens clearly implies that sometimes shit doesn’t happen. In the Far East, Karma or Jos says it all with or without the traditional Judeo-Christian-Islamic shrug of the shoulders, glance to the Heavens, hands out, palms up gesture. The metaphor here of the creek is super clear. Nightmarish consequences are just around the bend. Helplessness and futility are expressed with a wry resignation that is almost Yiddish. It’s less crass, and much less confusing than the short, sweet and completely devoid of erotica; you’re fucked, or its PG-13 version; you’re screwed. To aimlessly float or be at the mercy of currents and eddies of crap, yours and most often primarily other peoples’ as well, without the ability to control the direction and speed of your craft, of your life in the immediate and foreseeable future; is a shitty situation. And throughout the journey, don’t forget the smell and the flies.

Speaking of smells, flies and metaphors, unfortunately, isn’t the saying a good description of modern Israel’s history, presence and position in the Middle East? It’s not a 1 to 1 situation, but there are some truths. WW I ended the 400 year Ottoman sodomy of the area and the French and the British thought they were entitled to one last go at colonialism, from the root, colon; and the Jews thought their Lights would show all the way. And from the first day whenever that was, and practically every opportunity since then until today except temporarily one or two; the Arabs say: No, I kill you. Seasons pass, and Arab Springs only lead to sweltering, bloody summers. It seems any time of the year, all year is a good time for them to abuse each other and us, if they only can.

After years of mal de merde and exposure to the prevalent conditions, Israel’s immune system has been severely weakened, if not broken down. The body politic and the spirit are infected. And yet, the Jews should be cut some slack, after all, there is only so much shit you can put up with. The too many signs of a national CFS are all around us for too many years and nothing?

A big fiery red example is the self-destruction of our deterrence vis-a-vie the cruel and vicious “It” clowns with the balloons to the south. That we succumb on an ongoing basis to extortion, to paying protection in order to maintain the status quo is shameful. On one level, the humiliation has the angst that we invest it with, but being the guilt ridden beings that we are, it has its very definite detrimental effects. It makes most of us feel shitty, frustrated and helpless, again and over again, no doubt, insidiously eroding self-confidence whether we know it or like it. In parallel, it emboldens and encourages the “Its” to continue and attempt greater and more horrendous atrocities. There are larger, strategic existential threats and challenges that Israel still must treat, as surrealistic as it reads, as real and immediate answering them with various methods on numerous fronts. That we have completely forgotten the value, importance, and benefit of a street level, tactical ‘going ape schitz’ as is said in Brooklyn, in order to teach the other side and all the others watching a hard and harsh lesson can be seen in its least evil embodiment as a symptom of fatigue or madness; or at its worst, malfeasance and reckless endangerment of all concerned, especially the kids and their parents in the sandboxes.

Our faithless leaders are afraid to fight not for the soulful, genuinely legitimate fear of loss of life, pain and suffering but for fear of governmental inquiries and losing their positions as a result of not enough Likes. Media events with poor viewer ratings and too high a body count without clarity or catharsis. They appear to us and our enemies as scared shitless, merely blustering politicians with no confidence in themselves or us who have backed us into a corner, with us on the front line. They won’t be bold and risk bad press in case there are too many dead and/or no beneficial results. Even with a good outcome to a military operation, they will be accused of gambling with lives for the sake of political gain.

What’s a good number? Is there an acceptable figure? Like Goldilocks with the porridge and the beds; just right!

Inertia promoted by hubris and supported by complacency, self-interest, self-aggrandizement and; ‘let the other guy do it’ now prevail so often that it has become the visible norm. The deterioration of our ethics and morals, the violence we inflict on each other today is a symptom and now the disease.

No doubt however, the clearest indications of our fatigue are first and foremost the pedigrees we elected to lead us followed by the snarling self-appointed free-speech watchdogs. Both totally out of control; shallow and inflated at the same time, deceitful, corrupt and wielding power without an atom of humility or shame because they can. For glory and ratings the watchdog will try to bite the head off the pedigree if he can and if he can’t, he’ll settle for nipping at and hobbling him from behind; that is until he gets his own Papers. The pedigrees bark and howl and snap and growl at each other and at us, the citizens of Israel, ostensibly their masters, if the word bothers you, their employers, the ones that feed and support them.

A new Royalty with its Court has entrenched itself to rule over us, but with the same DNA as the empires of old. Divide and Conquer to start with, Divine Selection and ‘I am the State’ to follow. There is a lip service promise of democracy as long as it serves those in power. Equality is guaranteed, all are equal, and some are even more equal. After years of closed ranks in-breeding within the Court, all that is produced are auto-immune, recessive genes organisms exhibiting consistently substandard, unacceptable behavior. Just look at the Israel Police Dept.

GOD heads the lists of numerous political parties. HE is a voting demographic and in every candidates’ heart and back pocket. HIS Commandments are blatantly disobeyed, given voice and interpretation by the most vain and shameless of connivers and convicted criminals. Nothing is sacred or written in stone anymore, if it ever was? Everything is negotiable. The outwardly observant have caught the Almighty from behind and are holding HIM by the edges of his prayer shawl. And they won’t let HIM go until everyone including HIM says: Amen.

If you were originally happy with the results of the elections that were, I am happy for the personal pleasure that you felt then that the process and system heard you and you were counted. Now you can trash that feeling and don’t be so fucking naïve. If you were and are unhappy throughout, you can move to Berlin, Krakow or Chelm; or say Shit Happens, but that’s too easy and this is much too serious. Sometimes when shit happens over a long period of time we forget that also sometimes we actually have the power to stop it from happening. What will you do with the elections to be? Be an apathetic silent majority or take it to heart and to the streets and the polls. If we have the choice, and in spite of all, choice is our right; I hope we choose, we demand; change.

Today, the Prime Minister along with one or more of his immediate family and a good many of his idiot henchmen are really only afraid of one thing; the Cholent in Cell Block C, at Ma’aseyahu Prison. And with no more ordering in, they are desperate. Our chivalrous PM let the Mrs. take the lead and the fall for him and their heir apparently not, the freeloader whelp, in this first of likely many to come court appearances, even though the table was set for all and all were willing fressers, active co-conspirators and direct beneficiaries of the ongoing criminal behavior. In the USA the PM loves so much, it’s possible that he would have been indicted, convicted and sentenced faster than you can say: Pass the Dijon. Keeping it culinary, as the perfectly correct and important, super on-point Hebrew expression says; the fish stinks from the head down.

Keeping it oceanic and it seems altogether to be something pretty fishy; the chef’s salmon fillet in the disposable dish may be just the tip of the iceberg and better than sonar as the warning for a flotilla of U-boats concealed in the depths.

Appointing his in-house, practiced A.K. as Justice Minister, installing Hoffa style thugs in other Ministries and Parliamentary Committees and a State Ombudsman whose only goal is to be the PM’s best bud, the PM thinks he has the situation and us under control. In spite of his machinations and Narcissistic delusions, he may still have enough sense to know that he and his now not so merry band are headed for the can. It’s taking its toll and making him that much crazier, the cracks and fissures in the façade are beginning to show. It is very sad, disappointing and embarrassing because it is at home and personal, to witness the completely successful corruption and soon to be disintegration of the individual. His abuse of the system for his own needs and his victimization of those who trusted him and entrusted him with the power in the first place are infuriating. How dare he treat us with such disdain? What justification can be contrived when our only fault was to vote for him at least once, if not twice more than was healthy or wise? Has he never read even one page of Spinoza? And megalomania was never one of Jabo’s M’s! The PM demands our allegiance, even fealty because he warns and threatens us with; I am the only one responsible enough to be in charge and expects, even demands to be held in utter esteem for it, but refuses to be held to any Standard. Sorry, no can do. You killed the goose that laid the golden eggs of appreciation and support and had its paté for a late champagne supper; brandy and cigars followed of course. Only in a dictatorial 3rd world republic, one of the neighboring regimes or the Corleone Family does the privilege of leadership extend to responsibility without accountability and include immunity.

The terribly, terribly sad and indisputable evidence of our fatigue is that when they get to their cells, the names they’ll see scratched into the walls by previous inmates will read like the roll calls of Knesset sessions with a preceding Prime Minister, numerous Ministers from various Cabinets, a letch President and mayors from all over the country in the gallery.

Sometimes it seems that the Creek is a big circle and we continually end up where we started. And just as you think you can’t get in any deeper or further up the Creek that’s when Schitz’s buddy Murphy, or in our case, Ehud Barak, shows up.

It’s practically a certainty that no Schitz ever went deep inside Umama and Screaming Schatzee never made it to her PhD, but when Farce leaves the page and the screen and becomes your life and reality, one thing is certain; you’re in serious need of a flotation device.

Are we doomed to continue going around until we find a tributary with less refuse and sewage or should we just dive in head first now and be done with it? Our inherent sense of survival, won’t allow it. You don’t go through what the Jews went through just to take a header. Our neighbors can dive in first, appropriate to the theme, and best said by the very NY suggestion; they can kiss my ass in Macy’s window. The act itself is unnecessary; it’s the sentiment that counts. They can do what they want as long as they leave Israel the fuck alone. This won’t happen unless we make the break ourselves and set an honest to goodness carved in stone termination date for the existing, malfunctioning paradigm to the point where we mean it and even they understand it.

No less therapeutic, a respite from our parasitic politicians who only perpetuate their self-serving divisive status quo with no thought and guidance for our day to day or vision for the future. None freely give us the time or consideration we request, deserve and pay for; so now it’s our time and obligation to work together again and replace those whose removal is long overdue.

All the self-absorbed 120 don’t care about the Farce they have created and cast us into. Led by the PM they think they have a second chance. Being blinded by their own light they don’t see the second chance that they have given us, it’s our do-over, not theirs.

Let’s wish the PM et al a Bon Voyage, christen his craft, ‘The Gewalt’, not the half billion shekel getaway plane, with a bottle of Chateau de Balfour if there is one left and it won’t be considered tampering with evidence, and launch him and his crew of misfits up the creek without a paddle and see how they like it. And then we’ll see him in court.

About the Author
I was born in NYC in 1954 to a Holocaust Survivor family. I grew up Brooklyn, and was a Yeshivah boy and a member of Betar, I made aliyah on my own at the end of 1979 and have had many positions in IL Jewelry salesman, photographer, police officer, tour guide, and others... I established a medical start-up based on my own invention and made a successful exit. I'm married with 2 kids, a daughter and a son.
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