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Perspective: We are all spuddlers


In my Facebook feed a wonderful post appeared -- The word of the day is “spuddle” (17th century): to work ineffectively; to be extremely busy whilst achieving absolutely nothing. It is time to reintroduce spuddling to our vocabulary because we are all spuddlers now.

Certain tasks push me toward spuddling. In between answering emails, I will pop down to the basement to put in a load of laundry. A pile of towels needs folding, and after I put those in the linen closet, I refill the bathroom soap dispensers. Then I go to the kitchen to pour myself another cup of coffee. As I return the milk to the fridge, I notice we are on our last gallon. I add milk to the shopping list, only to realize that the mail pile has gotten out of control. I toss some junk mail in the recycling bin and pay the gas bill. Returning to my home office, I realize that my email account has timed out. I had only planned on being away a few minutes! I am answering emails when the washing machine beeps. I move the clothes to the dryer, put in a new load, and fold some socks. I return to my home office and correct some quizzes. My work station really needs some tidying, but there are so many items on today's to do list!

And so I spuddle on! Do you spuddle too?

I'm Frances Jaeger, and this is my Perspective.

Frances Jaeger is an associate professor of Spanish at Northern Illinois University. Her research interests include Latin American contemporary poetry as well as Caribbean and Central American literature.