Wu Ting
How would you interpret the “ol’” in the phrase “the good ol’ Security Forces”? How would you interpret the “ol’” in the fifth from the bottom sentence “Let’s drink to the good ol’ Security Forces, ya Muhammed”? I would think the “ol’” is the abbreviation of “old”. Right? PS: the whole story is about the afterlife. Thank you. PS: the excerpt is taken from “Kneller’s Happy Campers” written by an Israeli author, Etgar Keret. And I’m reading an English translation. the context: Turned out Uzi was right. It really was an Arab neighborhood. But I was right too, because they didn’t give a fuck what passports we had before we got here. Their bar was called Djin, which was supposed to be a play on djinni, like the one in Aladdin’s lamp, and on the stuff that chicks and dorks have with tonic when they can’t handle scotch. Uzi said it was a lousy pun, but the truth is that after Stiff Drinks, anything sounded good. We sat at the bar. The bartender looked like he’d offed himself with a vengeance, and must have ended up in pieces. Uzi tried English, but the guy picked up on his accent right away and answered in tired Hebrew. “No bottles, only draft,” he droned. His face was like a puzzle that someone started but gave up in the middle, with part of a moustache to the left of his nose, and nothing on the right. “Give us some draft beer then, bro,” Uzi said and slapped him on the shoulder. “Let’s drink to the good ol’ Security Forces, ya Muhammed.” “Nasser,” the bartender corrected stiffly, and started filling the glasses. “What’s with the Security Forces thing? Were you in the army?” he asked as he poured. “Sure,” Uzi lied. “Undercover unit . . . Three straight years of battle rations, day in and day out!”
Nov 6, 2019 8:50 AM
Answers · 4
Yes, it's abbreviation for 'old'. Same as 'ya' is used for 'your' in the same sentence. The writer has chosen to have the person speak this way. Don't look for a hidden meaning :)
November 6, 2019
Thank you, Su.
November 6, 2019
Ol’ means ‘old’, but it has nothing to do with age. In informal situations, we often use the word ‘old’ as an attributive adjective to show our familiarity with something. When this is preceded by ‘good’, it indicates that the speaker and listener are both well acquainted with this person or thing. For example, if you have a colleague who always spoils your plans, you might say, in a sarcastic tone, “Good old Tom! You can always rely on him to ruin everything.” This does not mean that Tom is good or old – it means that we all know him well and that he is behaving in a predictable way. In this scene, Uzi is acting in a provocative manner towards the bartender. By referring to the Security Forces and addressing him as ‘Muhammed’, Uzi is drawing attention to the fact that they, as Jews and Arabs, are on opposing sides of the conflict. When he says “good ol’ Security Forces”, the implication is “You and I know what the Security Forces are like, don’t we? So you (as an Arab) should watch out”. Although it’s delivered in a ‘matey’ way, with a slap on the shoulder, this could be seen as threatening behaviour. The bartender fully understands the implication of this comment, but he isn’t intimidated. He points out that his name is not ‘Muhammed’ (meaning ‘I am an individual, not a racial stereotype’), and asks if Uzi was in the army (which he wasn’t). This makes Uzi look foolish. So, as you can see, there’s a lot more to it than a simple abbreviation!
November 6, 2019
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Wu Ting
Language Skills
Chinese (Mandarin), English, French
Learning Language
English