Tuesday, 3 November 2015
Thing Not To Do Today: waffle.
(Artist: circle of Georg Flegel (1566 - 1638). I see that the German for still life, Stillleben has a triple L in it. Which is neat.)
Waffles are fine things, crisp and light and oozing with juiciness: with cream, syrup, fruit, cheese...
...hang on, I must go and get myself something to eat...
...that's better. No, I have not a word to say against making waffles or eating waffles or assembling waffles, against waffle irons or waffle houses or waffle makers, and naturally wafflemeisters have my deep and undying respect.
No, it's waffling I'm against. I know it's an important social lubricant but it's still a pain, especially in writing. In fact it might be what distinguishes the professional from the amateur writer.
Waffling: spraying loads of words about because it puts off having to work out where you're going.
And there we get to the essence of waffling, which is avoiding the subject. This may be because you need to avoid it (politicians are experienced wafflers) or because you're trying to avoid admitting you don't know what you're talking about. Sometimes people waffle because they imagine that their voice talking about nothing is more interesting than anyone else's can possibly be.
But they're wrong.
Stick to the point, please. Then shut up.
And if anyone says does my bum look big in this? Then simply murmur you look lovely, dear.
Thing Not To Do Today: waffle. The pancake word comes from the Dutch wafel, and is related to the High German wabo, honeycomb. The avoiding-the-subject word arrived in English in the 1800s, but no one is sure from where.