31 December 2008

Do you want to be a Frugalista?

Okay, we're getting down to the wire and I still haven't made my new year's resolutions. I have to do something fast. I decided to look at last years resolutions to see how I did? Wow! What a disaster that was. I think I need to “borrar y cuenta nueva” (erase and start over). I thought perhaps I would look for something futuristic to go along with Barak Obama's theme of “time for a change”. I noticed that the New Oxford Dictionary had among its new words for 2009, the word “frugalista”. A “frugalista” is a person who leads a frugal lifestyle, but stays fashionable and healthy by swapping clothes, buying second-hand items, and growing his (or her) own food. Let me see...that conjures up phrases like:

Waste not, want not.
A penny saved is a penny earned.
A stitch in time saves nine.
Penny wise and pound foolish.
Always hoe to the end of the row.
Take up a notch in your belt.

I just don't think I want to be that frugal. I want to be careful, yes, but not overly frugal. In Mexico they just come right out and call a really frugal person “cheap”. They say that a person is “codo” which means “stingy”. I believe it is related to the word “codicioso” (coh-dee-see-OH-soh) which means “greedy”. To say to another person that they are cheap or stingy all you have to do is point at your elbow which is also called a “codo” in Spanish. Hey, I want to be careful with my pesos but I also want to keep them in circulation so that nobody gives me the elbow. “Frugalista” is just too futuristic and politically correct for me to adopt as a resolution.

After thinking about it for awhile the future just didn't seem to be working out so I decided to look to the past. After all, January is named after the Roman god Janus who had two faces, one looking to the future and one looking to the past. I decided to think of some words that I hadn't heard in a long, long time and I came up with two of them. One of them is “stoopnagle” and the other one is “goolsticker”. My mother used to use the word “stoopnagle” when I was a kid as in “Bobby, don't be such a stoopnagle”. The way she pronounced it I thought that she was saying “stoopnaygo” and I thought perhaps that it was a Polish word that meant “jerk”. It turns out that it came from a popular radio program in the 1930's called “Stoopnagle and Budd”. A man named Frederick Chase Taylor played a character named Colonel Lemuel Q. Stoopnagel who was always doing goofy things and the word “stoopnagle” came to be synonymous with “goof ball” or “dim wit”. The word “goolsticker” comes from a children's game that we used to play in the 1950's. The “gool” part was actually an earlier form of the word for “goal” and thus a “goolsticker” was someone who never ventured out and left the safety of the goal and tended to stay put all the time, refusing to risk the status quo in search of fame and glory.

There you have it folks. I am hereby resolved to be neither a stoopnagle nor a goolsticker in 2009 and you have my word on that. If you find my actions to the contrary then you are authorized to give me either a verbal lashing or a good swift kick in the pants. I am sure that Mother would approve. See you next year...oh, and one more thing...

I send these words and an “abrazo” (hug) across time and space to each and every one of you:

Happy New Year and may the Dear Lord bless you and keep you healthy, happy, and solvent.


Billie Mercer said...

A hug right back and a healthy and happy 2009.

YayaOrchid said...

Likewise wishing you and your family a very Happy New Year! A toast to the new year!

Tancho said...

As you get older, it seems easier to get wiser. Speaking of wiser, I;ll have a Budwiser or Modelo Negro to cheer the new month and new year!
Be well my blog friend, and keep your wisdom up!
Cheers for a good upcoming year!
God Bless and keep you well!

Unknown said...

Reciba Ud. un fuerte abrazo y que el año venidero sea felíz y próspero.

Recuerde que, "moronita de pan, moronita de queso, al año, es un peso".

Steve Cotton said...

Bob -- May this be a blessed year for you and yours.

Frankly Ronda said...

Not sure what is not quite right in your world but the surface presented on your blog looks pretty good.

To finding that elusive life balance ... hope we both find it my friend.

Bob Mrotek said...

Thank you one and all. Happy New Year everybody!

I think I have found a balance. I am right in between "Merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily, life is but a dream" and "We're making the best of a bad situation 'cause we don't want to make waves".

1st Mate said...

I love that word stoopnagle! Sometimes it's the ones who look like stoopnagles who have all the fun.

A Happy New Year abrazo for you, dear Bob, hope you enjoyed your Kielbasa.

Theresa in Mèrida said...

Bob, I think I am a frugalista from way back. It was a necessity and now it's just habit. I am not codo. I was told codo comes from "cheap" people's habits of patching the worn elbows on shirts in order to prolong their usefulness.
Happy New Year!

Deb Hall ~ Zocalo de Mexican Folk Art said...

Frugal is good. Overly-frugal is annoying. Here's to moderation in most things, to reading another year of great blogs from you, and to a wonderful 2009 for all.

Anonymous said...

Happy New Year! I just discovered your blog and I'm enjoying it!

GlorV1 said...

Also wishing you and Gina a very Happy New Year and may your life be blessed. Take care.

Anonymous said...

i have a different definition for codo-i vaguely remember the phrase, "camina con los codos" which as you know means, "walks on elbows". this impied that the person was so cheap that he would walk on his elbows to keep from wearing out his shoe leather.

Unknown said...

Everybody's been tightening their belts – or at least talking about tightening their belts. And all this talk of belts has some people dreaming of a new one, or a new dress or a new pair of heels! But with the world economy being what it is, not everyone is ready to shell out money for a new addition to their wardrobe, so lots of people are now trading clothes ‘online’ at the Internet’s biggest clothes swapping website – www.Bigwardrobe.com. Worth a look!

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I was born and raised in Chicago, Illinois, U.S.A. I have been living in Mexico since January 6th, 1999. I am continually studying to improve my knowledge of the Spanish language and Mexican history and culture. I am also a student of Mandarin Chinese.