A Meeting of Great Minds

As a homebound basement scrivener, I take any and all opportunities to get out with people in the neighborhood. Being self-employed is great—no bosses, no shaving, I can watch “The Office” and laugh instead of cry—but it has many downsides, one of which is the isolation and the voices it tends to breed in your head. The voices that say that everyone you meet on the street is a robot except one, and that person must be eliminated with extreme prejudice.

Fortunately, I’m surrounded by people in like circumstance (except for the voices, I think), and also by people who love to drink. So just about every Wednesday, a group of neighborhood dads jump on their bikes after the kids are in bed and hit a local gin mill for a couple hours. (Actually, now that everyone’s kids are basketball-playing preteens instead of toddlers, it’s harder for most of us to get out.) I’m fortunate because it’s just like being a member of the Dad’s Club at the local parish without actually being Catholic and everything that entails.

Last night was a smallish group. A professor of Middle Eastern history, a trust specialist, an importer of car parts, and a basement scrivener (me). Here’s what we talked about, in rough order:

• heating bills, including a $12K bill for the church this month
• insurance, with horrible medical stories accompanying
• Olympic sex scandals and figure skating (one guy knew WAY too much about this for anyone’s comfort)
• Foreign toilets
• The word dickshine

I must take credit for the last topic, since that was how I described a local TV reporter showing all us dopes about the ins and outs of curling. To my surprise, no one at the table had ever heard of it. Is this truly some regionalism from southern Michigan, or a dated term that expired after I got out of high school?

An incredibly useful perjorative, dickshine refers to a useless yet self-important stooge of some kind, too insecure to be mean (unless in imitation of someone meaner) and too inconsequential to worry about. By this definition, just about every television journalist you’d ever meet would be a dickshine.

Comparing it to a Chicago regionalism, a dickshine is similar to a jagoff in many respects, except that a jagoff has enough initiative to make your life miserable if necessary, while a dickshine can only succeed in bringing annoyance.

I’m not sure that dickshine is related to the term dickweed. It might just be a city/country variation.

Dickshine definitely does not have any connection to fellatio, either giving or receiving. In fact, since one of the qualifying factors of being a dickshine is annoyingness, this might preclude sexual success altogether.

Closest synonym: piss boy. See Brooks, Mel, History of the World, Part II.

Etymological insights from readers are welcome.