ADS-L Digest - 9 May 1999 to 10 May 1999

Mark_Mandel at DRAGONSYS.COM Mark_Mandel at DRAGONSYS.COM
Thu May 13 00:23:23 UTC 1999

The estimable Barry's quoted list of 1943 Army slang includes:
    YEHUDI--The little man who cracks you on the back of the head with a mallet.

This brings back, with an exclamation, memories of a fantasy story I must've
read in the early 60s and remember only dimly. It involved IIRC some sort of
gizmo that enabled its hero to do things simply by giving an order, such as
"shut the window", and it would be done with no visible agent. There was some
reference to the verse

     Last night I met upon the stair
     A little man who wasn't there.
     He wasn't there again today.
     Gee, I wish he'd go away.

The gizmo apparently imposed the spoken orders upon the little man who wasn't
there, whom (now we get to it) one of the characters referred to as "Yehudi": a
reference totally opaque to me until now, and many years forgotten.

I was about to ask, "Now, can anyone explain 'Yehudi'?", but I decided to finish
catching up before asking, and I'm glad I did! Thanks, folks.

But I still don't understand the *definition* part: "cracks you on the back of
the head with a mallet"? The sandman (who puts you to sleep at night)? The
source of unattributable problems (first cousin to Murphy)?

Next, unless someone here recognizes it, I'll ask the gang on
rec.arts.sf.written to ID the story.

-- Mark

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