Herb Helbig

September 2, 2007

Post #2285 – 20070902

Dear Uncle Borgel –

I want to tell you a story from my life. Mr. Pinkwater may be interested, too, since he introduced us. Around 1962, as a physics graduate student, a fellow student, John Kopf, would arrive each morning and greet us with cheery words that I took to be in the spirit of “How’s it going?” or a number of less polite phrases I won’t mention. I never knew exactly what he was saying, and never thought to ask. I recalled it as something like “Vot’s schmack de pop?”. Imagine my delight when, 40 years later, I found the truth in your story – “Nov shmoz ka-pop?”. Later a web search related the magic phrase to a comic strip. It must have been something like Smokey Stover with its “Notary Sojac” (which you could probably explain to me).

If you see Mr. Pinkwater, please tell him, “Thank you!”

Daniel replies:

Yes, it is the role of the novelist to make clear the subtle and important things in our culture.