Dripping with schmear


I needed a snack and, as a father of three sons — two who are naturally fit (or at least thin) and one who just started working out like a whirling dervish (that’s a phrase my parents would throw out every now and then so, “That’s for you, Mom and Dad.”) — and since I did an earlier morning workout at the Kroc, I decided a bagel with cream cheese was an acceptably healthy alternative.

Acceptable since, truth be told, PAX was out of scones. (Last week, they had blueberry & lime ones. Have you ever?!)

Now, I’ve been critical of PAX and its bagel street cred, or lack thereof, in the past. In fact, I’ve been so twice.

I’ll make this a hat trick and add an additional “encouragement” here, ending with a rousing endorsement of the establishment itself, which is one Kerrville’s jewels in its downtown crown.

The Yiddish word schmear (/SHmir/, from shmirn), as most of us use it today, has retained largely only one of its two original meanings. Its primary meaning is, “a corrupt or underhanded inducement; a bribe.” The verb form meant to “flatter, or grease” (as in palms). Today’s teens and 20-somethings might say instead, “You’re biggin’ him up.” Brown-nosing. You get the picture. (Or, hopefully, maybe not.)

The point is, a “schmear” is not a slight compliment. Nor is it oblique, subtle, or roundabout. Neither is it an insinuation, a muttering, or a lullaby sung in sotto voce.

Rather, it is pronounced, clarion, unmistakable as being a remark meant obviously to curry favor and receive a desired outcome. Stentorian in delivery. Your palm is clearly covered in grease.

Heretofore, so may PAX’s cream cheese schmears be on their bagels, which are remarkably good for Texas water-made bagels. Let the staff’s schmears toward their customers be obvious, even fortissimo. The schmear should have me staggering backwards from the initial impact, licking the edges of the bagel before the flattery drips from them — again, close the bagels, please: open-faced bagels are an abomination unto me — and using my napkin to make sure the greasy marks are no longer visible at the corners of my mouth.

So, may I suggest to the wonderful establishment between Rita’s and Francisco’s, let us have a symphony of inducement!

I do thank you.


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