I’ve had a long day of spuddling. I was very busy, but I achieved nothing. I spuddled.
I’m sure we have all had days like this, where we’ve exhausted ourselves without moving any meaningful objective along an inch. There are organisations where the ability to spuddle is probably highly valued, but I find it dispiriting. I have only just found this 17th century word, courtesy of Suzie Dent, and I think it deserves a comeback.
I’ve also just discovered Misergonia and wonder why I haven’t seen this word on a few sick notes.
It describes ‘desk rage,’ or a deep irritation triggered by certain aspects of office life. It is particularly associated with annoying sounds and smells. Anyone chomping an apple near my desk will have seen my eyes widen from fleeting misergonia. In fact, it takes all my strength to avoid becoming fuchsteufelswild, or ‘fox-devil wild.’
Fuchsteufelswild is from the German language, and there is nothing like it for great words to describe very specific feelings.
Have you ever experienced analysis paralysis? Ever wanted to just go home and hope that the problem sorts itself? Are you feeling pressured to make a strategic move when you would rather do nothing. Then you might be experiencing Zugwang. (And no, you can’t put that on a sick note either).
Do you ever feel ashamed on someone else’s behalf? Ever sat in a meeting, listening to someone with verbal diarrhoea and said to yourself, please just stop talking, mate. You might say you are experiencing Fremdschamen. It literally means ‘stranger’s shame’ or in English, the cringe worthiness of others. I haven’t found the word for wishing someone experienced a bit of shame on their own behalf, but I will keep looking.
Have you ever seen someone making something worse, or making a mess, in the act of trying to improve it? The Germans would say that the culprit means well – but is demonstrating a sad case of ‘worse betterment’ or verschlimmbesserung.
And thanks to this language, there is a word for the mess they are making. It’s Kuddlemuddel, and it specifically refers to an unstructured mess. I first heard this word from a friend, who got it from her German hairdresser. Unfortunately, he was running his hands through her hair at the time, making disparaging comments.
I’ve made a few kuddlemuddels. My idea probably seemed like a good idea at the time, but it turned out to be a schnapsidee, or an idea I had while drunk that I would inevitably regret.
Which leads me to wind this up late at night after a few glasses of wine. It is probably a schnapsidee and one big kuddlemuddel, but I will hit send anyway, because I am experiencing torschlusspanik, or ‘gate close panic.’ I have a deadline, and the time is ticking.