Week 21: Merit Badges and Don Rickles

The stats:

I have studied Yiddish for 147 days
I have studied Yiddish flashcards for a total of 76 hours
I have reviewed 1,967 individual flashcards

I have decided to stop posting the "percent correct stats," which you will find at the top of previous posts, because I find them depressing. There is just thing ongoing, slow-motion slide downward, each week I have been fractionally worse at remembering Yiddish than the week before.

I expect that's perfectly normal. I am just a hair's breadth away from having studied 2,000 distinct flashcards, and that's a lot of information to cram into your noodle in 21 weeks, and I keep adding more while struggling to remember the old ones. So I won't take this too seriously, but, at the same time, why broadcast?

In the meanwhile, I have at last completed my list of 1,000 Yiddish words, and so should be able to award myself a gold pin marked with the numeral 1,000 that I mentioned a while back. I have not yet gotten my scout-style merit-badge sash yet, however, so I'm stalled, at least as far as granting awards go.

Despite the stall, I have started work on my next Yiddish merit badge, this one for cuss words and insults. Originally, I had intended to teach myself 100 words and then congratulate myself with a badge, but that seemed like too few words, and, when I counted up the insults and curses I have already learned, I had already reached that point. In fact, I was just shy of 200. So I added in a few more and when I have learned them I will have earned my first badge.

My second badge will be words related to drugs and alcohol, and this is not quite the bonanza that the previous category was: apparently European Jews were quite concerned with belittling each other and not so very concerned with intoxicants, which isn't surprising from the culture that produced Don Rickles instead of William S. Burroughs.

If I can locate 50 words on the topic of drugs and alcohol, I will be lucky. I briefly felt that this was not enough to justify awarding a merit badge, as it would take less than a week to learn these words, but then I read up on actual Boy Scout merit badges. There are some badges that can be earned in a single afternoon. It makes sense that some badges are easier to earn and some harder, and I will give myself a similar mix.

In other news, somehow I just completely forgot to study one night this past weekend. More precisely, when I remembered to study, it was already 11 pm, and, like the Jewish day, the Anki day starts the previous evening, and so I had inadvertently skipped a day of study. The program forces you to catch up on words you are reviewing, but you end up completely missing a day's worth of new words when you skip a day. I kicked myself for this for a little while, but this is only the second day I have failed to study Yiddish in four months, so I have a 98 percent attendance record, in a manner of speaking.

I will always be a grade grubber, even about attendance.