the dark path of Boggle™

boggle cube spelling out the title of this post

boggle cube spelling out the title of this postHere is some advice. Scenario: you’re playing Boggle™ and you’re able to come up with ‘bird.’ Congratulations. You must have read a lot of Highlights as a kid. But wait, what’s that? A suffix…for a noun. ‘-er.’ So now you have ‘birder.’ You have now begun your journey down the dark path of Boggle™, and your gaming partners give you that half-lidded Jon stare from Garfield.

garfield: july 22, 1999

look at those eyes

They mentally consider any number of arguable points perhaps including the following:

  1. A falcon is birder than a sparrow.
  2. An emperor penguin is birder than a non-emperor penguin.
  3. An ostrich is birder than a kiwi.

…and so on. But you were thinking of ‘birder’ as in ‘bird-watcher.’ You are now requested to give account for the difference between ‘birder’ and ‘ornithologist.’ The answer?
Money / education.
Consider:

  1. farmer vs agriculturalist
  2. singer vs vocalist
  3. painter vs artist

Basically, ‘-er’ means amateur and ‘-ist’ means professional. However, you can’t just slap either ending on just any occupational description. After all, how far would you trust someone who claimed to be a gynecologer? Armed with the knowledge that the occupations described by the lowbrow / -er words can be carried out by anyone, what noun can not be a verb which can then be turned back into a noun? Floor – floorer, water – waterer, chronicle – chronicler… Okay, there are a few, like ‘cat,’ but you just add another ‘-er’ and you’ve got ‘caterer,’ the less professional version of group-gastronomist.
However, what is a racist, but one who competitively drives automobiles? Sure, there might be multiple meanings for that word, but that’s what linguists are for. (Or, depending on your resources, dictionariers.)
The point here? Don’t be tempted by the the dark path of Boggle™. Once you open the game up to this kind of insanity, your partners will trust you less. In other words, your fellow Bogglists will view you as a mere speller, a worder, an amateur…er.

6 thoughts on “the dark path of Boggle™”

  1. Jerry

    So, my proctologer was telling me the other day that the *real* difference wasn’t money / education, so much as prestige amongst others of the same profession. Like if you have unorthodox ideas, you are a “natural healer” to some of the medical community, whereas you are an “herbal therapist” to those who like your ideas.

    Also, the darkness of the dark path tends to come out more when, after a rousing game, you are unable to communicate like you did before the game. Like if someone says “flo(o)rist,” you are unable to tell if they mean someone who installs floors or someone who sells flowers. Which actually happened to us, if you recall.

  2. Naomi Rowe

    your hilarious! But since I am a writER, does that mean I am amateur? If so that would explain why I haven’t published yet. Perhaps if I go around calling myself a writist someone will finally take me seriously!

    1. Anonymous

      my hilarious what? I’m confused. please clarify.
      no! don’t call yourself a writst! that’s exactly my point: what about novelist?

    2. Dan

      If you call yourself a writeHER I think you’ll have much luck publishing juvenile feminist drivel that, nonetheless, makes money.

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