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An Enduring Mystery Solved

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Some years ago, perhaps in 2006, the late Jack White, a veteran of the JFK Assassination Debate pages, discussed with myself and some other interested parties the origin and meaning of the Mad magazine cartoon stock phrase potrzebie. I don't recall which section of the Education Forum was graced by this discussion (the thread seems to have disappeared), so I revisit the mystery here.

At the time, posters on the thread linked the indefinable potrzebie to the Yiddish dialect, and also to rumored early mentions in a famous college's humor magazine. I myself suggested its resemblance to a word that my Polish-speaking grandparents pronounced - here in my poor phonetics - pohd zheb yeh, a word that I was sorry to have never found in a Polish dictionary.

At long last, I have come upon a Wikipedia page for the word, which confirms that it is of Polish origin, and pronounced pɔtˈʂɛbʲe, similar to my rendering, stress on the first syllable contra my grandparents. Being Polish, the word might likely have filtered into Yiddish. Here is the Wiki page, for all Mad scholars:


I am gratified to have been proven correct by adroit, later scholarship. My only regret is that Jack is not with us to see this bright day. I would like to dedicate my own contributive research to Jack White - friend to us all - and to Raymond Carroll.


Edited by David Andrews
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Ah yes, the mad bufiles. I did start a topic on that here some years ago and I have looked for it a couple of times since then and it is indeed gone. It was in the JFK Assassination Sub-Forum of the Education Forum. I remember GPH made some amusing and informative comments. Tom Purvis too. Is that the same one? It seems from cursory searches elsewhere that all the actual files have been taken off the net as well. I only found a partial one mentioning General Walker. It's always seemed strange to me that topic, if it's the same one, has been wiped.

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