Shawmut

"My own name, Shawmut, had obviously been tampered with. The tampering was done long years before my father landed in America by his brother Pinye, the one who wore pince-nez and was a music copyist for Sholom Secunds. The family must have been called Shamus or, even more degrading, Untershamus. The untershamus, lowest of the low in the Old World synagogue, was a quasi-unemployable incompetent and hanger-on, tangle-bearded and cursed with comic ailments like a large hernia or scrofula, a pauper's pauper. 'Orm,' as my father would say, 'auf steiffleivent.' Stieffleivent was the stiff linen-and-horsehair fabric that tailors would put into the lining of a jacket to give it shape. There was nothing cheaper. 'He was so poor that he dressed in dummy cloth.' Cheaper than a shroud. But in America Shawmut turns out to be the name of a chain of banks in Massachusetts." (16)

Bellow, Saul. "Him With His Foot in His Mouth", from Him With His Foot in His Mouth and Other Stories. New York: Viking Penguin Inc., 1984 (1974).