A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006. Now a Popeye's fast food restaurant on Google Maps.

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Entry from December 30, 2020
“Not my circus, not my monkeys”

"Not my circus, not my monkeys”—meaning “not my business”—is a saying that has been printed on many images.

The saying is Polish (nie mój cyrk, nie moje małpy). The Polish appears to have been cited in Slavic Linguistics (Volumes 6-9) in 1978, although this Google Books date could be incorrect. “Nie moj cyrk moje malpy,” was posted on the newsgroup pl.soc.polityka on November 8, 1995.

“I am ready to move on. As my mother’s friend says, ‘Not my circus, not my monkey’” was posted on Twitter by Janet Skeslien Charles on May 6, 2009. “Just remember the Polish saying for that:  ‘Not my circus, not my monkeys’” was posted on Twitter by JP on February 22, 2012.

“Not my circus, not my monkeys. But the clowns definitely know me” is an extended saying.


Wiktionary: not my circus, not my monkeys
Etymology
Calque of Polish nie mój cyrk, nie moje małpy.
Phrase
not my circus, not my monkeys

1. (colloquial) It’s none of my business; indicates that one is not responsible for controlling or changing a volatile or delicate situation.

Google Books
Slavic Linguistics
Volumes 6-9
Linguistic Research
1978
Pg. 33:
CYRK nie mój cyrk , nie moje małpy . ‘ nie moja cawa , nie będę się wtrącał ‘ pot . reg.
[CIRCUS not my circus, not my monkeys. ‘not my coffee, I won’t interfere’ sweat. reg.]

Google Books
Dialog: miesiȩcznik poświȩcony dramaturgii współczesnej, teatralnej, filmowej, radiowej, telewizyjnej
[Dialog: a monthly magazine devoted to contemporary, theater, film, radio and television dramaturgy]
Volume 33
RSW “Prasa”
1988
Pg. 48:
Nie mój cyrk , nie moje małpy.
{Not my circus, not my monkeys ]

Google Groups: pl.soc.polityka
Przeszczepy
Marek Gutowski
Nov 8, 1995, 3:00:00 AM
(...)
> Nieporozumienie. Nie moj cyrk moje malpy, lecz “nie traktujcie mnie jak
> przedmiotu”. Nie wierze,ze “Urzednik wie lepiej” niz “przypadkowa” rodzina
> potencjalnego dawcy lub sam potencjalny dawca.

[> Misunderstanding. Not my circus my monkeys, but “don’t treat me like
> subject “. I do not believe that” The clerk knows better “than” random “family
> the potential donor or the potential donor himself.]

Twitter
Janet Skeslien Charles
@skesliencharles
I am ready to move on. As my mother’s friend says, ‘Not my circus, not my monkey.’
5:44 PM · May 6, 2009·Twitter Web Client

Twitter
Jerzy Gątarz
@gibon102
Replying to @ErykMistewicz
@ErykMistewicz pkt 5 to chyba “nie mój cyrk nie moje małpy”?
Translated from Polish by
@ErykMistewicz
point 5 is probably “not my circus, not my monkeys”?
5:47 PM · Nov 27, 2009·Twitter Web Client

Twitter
Słodkie pociski
@JAPONfan
Spokojny Wojtek jest spokojny. Reszta szaleje. not my circus not my monkeys
Translated from Polish by
Calm Wojtek is calm. The rest goes crazy. not my circus not my monkeys
6:03 AM · Jun 11, 2010·Twitter Web Client

Twitter
Karlee Silver
@karleesilver
A great mantra for 2012: its not my circus, its not my monkeys. Happy New Year!
11:52 PM · Dec 31, 2011·Twitter for BlackBerry®

Twitter
JP
@SmVu42
Replying to @bigbigtruck
@bigbigtruck Just remember the Polish saying for that:  “Not my circus, not my monkeys”
6:43 PM · Feb 22, 2012·Twitter Web Client

Twitter
anna maria jakubek
@aniajakubek
There’s a Polish saying that means “Not my problem” & literally translates to “Not my circus, not my monkeys”
7:29 PM · Oct 21, 2012·Twitter Web Client

Twitter
Yago Languages
@YagoSG
“Not my problem” in Polish is “nie moj cyrk, nie moje malpy.” Literally “not my circus, not my monkey.”
11:11 AM · Oct 30, 2012·Buffer

OCLC WorldCat record
Not my circus, not my monkeys.
Author: Mulaik M.W.
Edition/Format: Article Article : English
Publication: Radiology management, v35 n3 (2013): 30-31

9 September 2013, The Adelaide (Australia), “The Last Word” by Marty Smith, pg. 18:
Polish proverb meaning “not my problem”: Not my circus, not my monkeys.

15 June 2014, The Telegraph (London, UK), “Mick Jagger’s mystery woman is 27-year-old ballet dancer,” pg. ?:
Anne Hamrick - who is younger than Jagger - said that the controversy over daughter Melanie, 27, and the Rolling Stones singer was ‘other people’s nonsense’

On her Facebook page Anne posted what she claims is a Polish proverb on Sunday as her daughter was identified for the first time.

It reads: ‘Every time you feel yourself getting pulled into other people’s nonsense, repeat these words: not my circus, not my monkeys’.

Google Books
Not My Circus, Not My Monkeys: Why the Path to Transformational Customer Experience Runs Through Employee Experience
Lance Gibbs
LIONCREST PUB, Jun 21, 2017 - Business & Economics - 206 pages
The name of the game in business is to deliver an exceptional customer experience to consumers and clients. But if a company’s employee experience is subpar, the customer’s experience will also suffer. Lance Gibbs, an authority on business process management, understands this important, often-overlooked connection, and he has powerful solutions for improving the workers’ side of the equation.

OCLC WorldCat record
NOT MY CIRCUS, NOT MY MONKEYS.
Author: OREST STOCCO
Publisher: [Place of publication not identified], OREST STOCCO, 2017.
Edition/Format: Print book : English

Urban Dictionary
not my circus not my monkeys
It’s got nothing to do with me,and I’m not really interested anyway.
“All this fuss going on at the moment about the lack of government funding for pre-school childcare so mothers can work? Sorry,not my circus not my monkeys”. (From an old Polish proverb).
by peskycritter November 29, 2017

Google Books
Not My Circus Not My Monkeys: Polish Sayings Personalised Homework Book Notepad Notebook Composition and Journal Gratitude Diary
Retrosun Designs
Independently Published, Jan 24, 2019 - 102 pages

OCLC WorldCat record
This is my circus - these are my monkeys
Author: Leonique Lacroix; Ventura Verlag
Publisher: Werne Ventura Verlag 2019
Edition/Format: Print book : German : 1. Auflage

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityWork/Businesses • Wednesday, December 30, 2020 • Permalink