joseph-berger

On Jonathan D. Bick’s first day as a salesman for I.B.M. 17 years ago, he wore what he remembers as a gray suit, a button-down white shirt, a ‘sincere tie’ and Gucci loafers.

His boss looked him over and thanked him for wearing a suit but pointedly said: 'Why did you wear your bedroom slippers to work?’ The boss, he remembers, told him to take the rest of the day off and shop for a pair of wingtips.

That was the legendary I.B.M. dress code.

—  Joseph Berger, 1995
TUMMLER

tummler

PRONUNCIATION:(TOOM-luhr)
MEANING:noun:
1. A comedian, social director, or entertainer who encourages an audience or guests to participate in entertainment activities.
2. One who incites others to action.
3. A lively, mischievous man.
ETYMOLOGY:From Yiddish tumler (one who makes a racket), from tumlen (to make a racket), from German tummeln (to stir). Earliest documented use: 1930s.
NOTES:Catskill resorts in the Catskill Mountains in New York State were a popular vacation destination for Jews during the last century. They were known as the Borscht Belt, after borscht, a type of beet soup popular with Ashkenazi Jewish immigrants. Tummlers were a standard fixture in these resorts.


USAGE:“And when Lou Goldstein proved adept at other forms of entertainment, the hotel signed him up as its tummler.”
Joseph Berger; Lou Goldstein; Pittsburgh Post-Gazette; Apr 29, 2012.

“An advance man is the tummler of American politics. He is the guy who gets out the crowds, creates a sense of excitement around the candidate, and generates the smell of victory at every stop.”
Burt Glinn; The Wit and Wisdom of a Political Barnum; New York; May 31, 1971.