I started out on this piece with the aim of writing about things that people say by accident that lead to derision and ridicule but have found after doing some research that I am on occasion a sadly mis-informed person.

I always thought that the reason people are sometimes referred to as doughnuts/donuts could be directly attributed to the June 26, 1963, speech by U.S. President John F. Kennedy in West Berlin after the erection of the Berlin Wall (no pun intended).

It turns out however that the phrase used “Ich bin ein Berliner” is actually grammatically correct in German for para-phrasing the latin civis romanus sum [“I am a Roman citizen”].

The comedic mis-understanding of “I am a doughnut” (a berliner is a german jelly or jam doughnut) was perpetrated by the western media reporting on the speech afterwards who are the ones that made the mistake interpreting what he said. For some great information on this read this Wiki posting – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ich_bin_ein_Berliner

After reading this I realised that more info was needed to educate myself. So why are people sometimes called “doughnuts”?

Turns out a different type of doughnut can be held responsible for the alliteration that someone who is referred to as a doughnut is therefore presumed to be a bit thick. That one is the ring doughnut so named because of its shape and the fact it has a hole in it. Ergo, if you’re a doughnut you’re like a person with a hole/s in their head! That one never occured to me!

Yet another meaning of being called a doughnut can be that because doughnuts are “doughy” a person can be called doughy or a doughnut because they are a push-over or easily influenced. Again, totally eluded me!

Of course, making mistakes when talking or being misunderstood even when right is a common occurence and I think vital for relieving tension, enriching conversation and even to prevent us taking ourselves too seriously.

At home I’m currently being laughed at for making the statement “I’m all confused since the afternoons started earlier” – I actually meant to say the mornings seemed to pass very quickly recently but it just didn’t come out right.

What a doughnut…


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