On the Origin of Dawdling

Photo by Scott Wieman

Photo by Scott Wieman

Confession time. There are times when my eldest daughter drives me a bit crazy. If this makes me a bad parent, then I have a feeling that the world is filled with bad parents. Not that everyone is annoyed with my eldest daughter (at least, I hope not). But kids have a tendency to know just how to push their parents’ buttons.

With my eldest daughter, it is her dawdling.

It’s true. She’s a dawdler. Anything she can do slowly in order to put off something that she doesn’t want to do, she does as slow as possible. Admittedly, the reason this probably annoys me so much is because it is a trait within myself that I dislike, but that’s (slightly) beside the point.

In recent conversations with various family members, I’ve discovered that the word “dawdle” is semi-archaic. And though it is a perfectly apt word, it is one that is not much used in today’s parlance.

That got me curious about the word’s origin. What I found out was pretty interesting.

Dawdling is for the birds. Well, one bird specifically: the daw, also known as the jackdaw.

Borrowed_plumesThe jackdaw is a relative of crows and ravens, perhaps named for the sound that it makes. It is semi-famous for it’s role in Aesop’s fable about vanity in “The Bird in Borrowed Feathers“. Tradition holds that the daw was a silly bird with a slow walk.

In fact, the daw’s name likely influenced the name of the walk for which it was famous, then known as daddling (think waddling, but with a d and pronounced differently). Soon, daddling was being used for anything done slowly, not just walking speed (don’t think that the irony of my daughter doing things slowly and my last name being Mosey (a type of slow walking) is lost on me). Over time, daddling became dawdling and apparently fell out of modern usage.

Well, my wife and I use it still, but I wish we didn’t have to. I’d be so happy if I never had to say, “Stop dawdling!” to my daughter again. But then, she’d probably start saying it to me, so maybe I’ll just have to learn to accept it to some degree.

On the Origin of Mosey

slow-walking

It’s been a while since I’ve done an etymology post, as I haven’t come across any words and needed to know where they came from (it’s a passing fancy, I guess). But knowing that I enjoy etymology, I decided to find a word to look up.

I settled on my last name. When people ask for my last name, I usually say, “Mosey, like to saunter or walk slowly”, since that is the meaning as used down south. It helps differentiate me from any Mosleys out there (as that is the most common misspelling of my name). But where did that “walk slowly” meaning come from?

According to the Online Etymology Dictionary, the origin is unknown, but it is most likely related to the British dialectal “mose” which means to “go around in a dull, stupid way.”

Not very uplifting.

But it is possible that it has some Spanish origins in “Vamos”, which means “to go”. That’s a bit nicer to believe.

In any case, it isn’t like I’m going to change it now. Not legally, at least. Although, I may stop correcting people if they call me “Mosley” on accident.

I am a husband. Part II

A while back, I was inspired by a series of posts that Jessie Clemence had done on her blog and I interviewed my wife. That interview has proven to be one of my most popular posts over time, which makes sense, because my wife makes everything better.

Well, anyway, she and I were chatting about ideas for blog posts and she asked if I would consent to her interviewing me. I did. Here are her questions and my answers.

What are you looking forward to most about being a father of two?

I love being a parent and seeing you (my wife) as a parent. Our daughter is simply adorable and I can’t wait to see another little girl who is half me and half you (my wife again). Also, I’m looking forward to seeing how Adie is with her sister.

What other hobbies do you have besides writing?

I collect Lego sets, specifically the viking, adventure, and castle sets. Though I just saw some Lord of the Rings themed sets that make me want to eat my words about how I hate that Lego is going after franchises. I also collect Dr Pepper knock-offs (the regional drinks that try their best to be Dr Pepper without coming anywhere close). My favorite is probably Doctor by the Our Family brand, because it didn’t even bother to come up with a replacement for Pepper like Dr. Thunder, Dr. Nehi, and Dr. M did. Plus, I am a fan of the show Doctor Who, who also goes by simply, the Doctor.

What is something that you do that gives you personal satisfaction or makes you proud?

I am a sucker for praise, especially of any of my creative endeavors. I know that I should care less or not at all what other people think about stuff, but I also know that I’m a born people-pleaser, and it makes me happy to make other people happy. If I can create a thing that gives joy, it will give me joy. It is probably strange then that one of my novels is dystopian and doesn’t end happily. I guess I’m complicated.

If you could be any character from your novels or short stories, which would you be? Why?

I would love to be Tom, the invisible roommate of my Thom & Tom series. He’s such a goofball and doesn’t care what people think about him. He lives by his own rules and whether he intends to or not, brings a bit of joy to his roommate, Thom. Also, he’s invisible, so that’s pretty cool.

If you could make any book you’ve read reality, what would you choose?

I love the idea that M. I. McAllister’s Mistmantle series could be happening for real somewhere, that there could really be an island of chivalrous squirrels, playful otter, bustling hedgehogs, and hardworking moles living in harmony. Plus, many of my other favorite books have some pretty scary bits that I would hate to see in reality.

What is it that, in your opinion, makes you so incredibly awesome?

My wife. She’s the awesome one. You were probably just thinking of her. I don’t blame you. I like to think of her too.

If you could have a super power, which would you choose? Would you let people know about your power or use a secret identity?

I would like the ability to transform one kind of substance into another kind of substance, like iron into gold, or dirt into gasoline. I would be called “The Alchemist”. Unless I had some kind of invincibility that went along with my other powers, I would keep my identity secret. I have a feeling that I wouldn’t be safe otherwise. Plus, my family would always be in danger of being kidnapped for ransom and such. So yeah, a secret identity would be good. I’m not sure how I’d fight crime, but I bet I could give more to charity, and that’s like the same thing.

Do you have a guilty pleasure? What is it?

I very much enjoy the game Diablo II. I know that Diablo III just came out, and someday I’m sure we’ll get it, but at the moment, I don’t know when we’d play.

Do you think watching TV can help or hurt your writing and level of creativity?

I’m a bit torn on this question. I was a the quintessential couch potato growing up, and I consumed a lot of television. As a result, I learned a lot about how stories are put together and about characters that I enjoyed. I would come up with stories and drawings based on what I had seen on television. Today, I watch a couple of shows every few weeks, but I don’t have time for much more. If I were as addicted to television now as I was when I was growing up, I know that my writing would suffer, but more due to the time constraints than to being dumbed down by TV.

What is one things that never fails to make you laugh?

Juvenile bodily functions. Every time.

What is your favorite book of all time?

I have to pick just one? Probably The Hobbit, because of its unique point of view. Not many books can pull off a third person story told by a first person narrator with second person asides.

If you could only use 4 words to describe yourself, what would they be?

Married, Genial, Creative, Inquisitive

What is the best part of being my husband?

The best part is the fact that I don’t have to leave you at the end of the date anymore. When we were dating, I hated going home. Now your home is my home. As far as specifically be married to you though, I love that you are good at things like math and budgets, and that I know I can trust you will all areas of life.

Didn’t my wife ask a bunch of well-thought-out, wonderful questions? I’m starting to think that she should be the one with the blog.