Wednesday, January 16, 2019

A big re-birthday is around the corner. Kineahora.

I just completed a post for Health Union about the magical thinking, or superstition, that keeps me from saying that on Jan. 31, I will celebrate 10 years since my fourth bone marrow transplant.

Chances are good that I'll make it, but you never know, and I don't want to jinx myself.

It's all about the wording.

In the post, I explained that it might be OK to say it if I added the Yiddish phrase kineahora – “no evil eye” – to protect myself. (It’s pronounced KINE-AHORA.) It's even better if you spit three times, or in the interest of sanitation, make a spitting sound. It could be toi, toi, toi; pu pu pu; poo, poo, poo; or other variations.


“I’m looking forward to an important cancer anniversary, kineahora poo poo poo.”

It also works well if you're complimenting a tennis partner.

"You had a good shot, kineahora."

The author of a post on the site The Word Mavens writes, "Jews are not the only ethnic/religious group to believe, at least a little bit, in superstitions. But maybe we put a greater stock in our superstitions because we’ve had such a tough time of it these past 5,000 years.

"If you slip up and brag – or if someone compliments you, what can you do? You can invoke the Yiddish phrase kineahora – 'don’t give me the evil eye.' As in 'I’ve felt good all summer, kineahora.' Or 'You look nice today, Sylvia. Is that a new dress?' 'Kineahora. I just got it. Do you like it?'

"The derivation of the phrase is from the German kein, meaning no, and the Hebrew ayin ha-rah, the evil eye. The kein and ayin are blended into one word: kein or kayn – keinahora."

I learned that you can go to the Evil Eye Store for protection. I saw some nice things, but I didn't buy them.

Murano evil eye pendant protection charm and multi-evil eye pendant
On another topic, in a previous post, I wrote about the solidarity and sorrow that comes from belonging to a community with people who have, or have had, similar illnesses. I had to break it into two parts because there is so much to say. The solidarity comes from meeting people who know what you're going through. The sadness is well known to readers of this blog. It's about losing friends like Patricia, Anne, Dori and Vytas.

The kineahora post took a ridiculously long time to write, while the solidarity and sorrow one was pretty free-flowing. Maybe it's because I needed to do some research for the former. Looking things up on the internet is easier than going to the City Library, which I did in the old days at the former Union-News, when doing research on microfiche would make me dizzy. Yet there is so much information on the internet that you can end up with information overload – also dizzying – and it can take twice as long.

Also there was something about the topic. The weightiness of it. At the paper we used to revel in writing the stories that came out with the ease of a hot knife cutting through butter. This was not that kind of story.

On yet another topic, here is a link to a podcast in which I share some of my story.

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