Da Shlub

Da Shlub

I take the time now to, once again, interrupt my life to go back to a pleasant –as well as a not-so-pleasant time– for the then eight-year-old Harvey Kalmenson. It was a Sunday, December 7th, of the year 1941. I returned home from whatever I had been up to and found my fourteen-year-old sister Ruth sobbing as I had never seen her do before.

  • At 7:55 AM, the coordinated attack on Pearl Harbor began.
  • At 8:10 AM, the USS Arizona explodes.
  • At 8:17 AM, A World at War.
  • Three scheduled NFL games were underway when the Japanese first attacked Pearl Harbor at 12:55 PM Eastern time on Sunday, December 7, 1941.

“Victory over Japan Day (V-J Day) would officially be celebrated in the United States on the day formal surrender documents were signed aboard the USS Missouri in Tokyo Bay: September 2, 1945.”

Our country’s greatest generation was born and unaware of their great world junction; it had set a never-to-be-forgotten example for the world to remember with reverence, perhaps forever.
Harvey Kalmenson was twelve years of age. Everything began changing. Our boys and girls began taking on more responsibilities than ever before. We didn’t have a schlub or a schlep in our crowd.
Just a day later, we kids were all back in our schoolyard at P.S. 233. None of us had any thoughts of how our families would be affected during the course of the next few years. We learned quickly.


The last kid ever to be picked to play in any of our games was unusually labeled “schlub”.

schlub (noun)
a talentless, unattractive, or boorish person
The poor dumb shlub just didn’t get it.
ORIGIN: the 1960s, Yiddish shlub, perhaps from Polish

If you were deemed to be “not too bright”, you were considered to be a schlepp (another bad connotation).

schlepper /ˈSHlepər/ (also shlepper) (noun)
an inept or stupid person
ORIGIN: the 1930s, Yiddish, from schlepp

If you were referred to as a “schlub”, or “schlep” by anyone in our neighborhood schoolyard, there was a good chance a fistfight would have followed.

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