29 April 2021
When we are allowed to fly internationally again, I have some decisions to make. Not about where I will go, how long I’ll stay for, how many millions of photos I expect to take, and what sort of accommodation I’ll stay in. One decision that obviously won’t need to be made will be the refundable vs non-refundable option when booking. That is a lesson that 2020 taught us, and taught us well.
My decisions are going to need to be made when I fill in those little customs forms and so forth, where they ask for your occupation. In recent times, I’ve generally gone with ‘home duties’, because describing my semi-retired, sometimes casual shop employee status, uses way too much ink. And they don’t allow you a paragraph for this topic.
(I’ve never used the term ‘housewife’, as I didn’t marry the house. Domestic goddess is a little too self-congratulatory and doesn’t take into account the state of my floors, but I don’t mind ‘family manager’, or ‘home economist’).
Having spent the last year and a bit taking up this new writing hobby, I did wonder whether or not I could put in ‘writer’, or ‘blogger’, in that little space on those forms … although on reflection it does give this little diarrhoea thingy way too much credence. So, after careful research, I have decided that my new occupation, when asked, will be – an ultracrepidarian.
If it’s not a word that you’re familiar with, and you can’t waste the two minutes googling it like I did, let me fill you in. Ultracrepidarianism means ‘giving opinions on matters outside ones knowledge’. It’s from Latin, meaning “shoemaker, not beyond the shoe” – meaning if you’re a shoemaker, keep your comments to matters relating to shoes. Shoemakers must have been particularly opinionated to have a whole word made up about them, don’t you think?
You are correct in thinking that this word could refer nowadays to anyone with internet access, but it also perfectly describes what I’ve been doing for 398 episodes.
So – I’m being very ultracrepidarian again today, but enlightening you all on obscure words. Sure – there are people who do this for a living, putting together dictionaries, studying our language and so forth. But reading the random thoughts of some middle aged woman, blogging about weird words, is much more accessible – am I right??
And, interestingly, when you google these things, the search engine assumes you have an interest in obscure words, so helpfully suggests other words for your enlightenment. Like ‘throttlebottom’ – an innocuously inept and futile person in public office, or ‘muckspout’- someone who does a lot of cursing, ‘fudgel’ – pretending to work without actually accomplishing anything, or ‘thalassophile’ – someone who loves the ocean/sea/beach. The one I made note of, and may have a tee shirt made of, is ‘Oenophile’ – lover of wine. (As a side note, I do have an ultimate plan for when I win a massive lottery and buy a winery, that I’d release a nice range of red wine called “Ot”. Specifically to be asked for as “Wine Ot”).
In searching for different job titles I could deploy on these forms, I came across (on the internet of course, where all us ultracrepidarians get their best info), a list of job titles that gave me a laugh. Things like: Digital overlord (website manager), Chief Chatter (call centre manager), Beverage dissemination officer (bartender), crockery cleaning operative (dishwasher), transparent wall technician (window cleaner), technical horticultural maintenance officer (gardener), organisational change specialist (someone who helps sack people), executive sherpa (administration assistant), herder of helpless people (also administration assistant).
In fact – I got a little distracted by the different names for administration assistant, as most of them could also be used for us ‘home duties’ people also. We could take on their titles of “Captain of Multitasking”, “Scheduling Wizard”, “Toilet paper Messiah”, and “Manager of Codependence”.
Although, having spent a lot of the last year and a bit deployed on the home front doing, well, not much – maybe I could take up the new title of “Time Space Analyst” (How long CAN I sit in this rocking chair today??)
Have you got any other job titles for my new collection?