I was so excited to see that awesomely weird word! It just cries out for an exclamation point! If I had to rename this blog space I think that SPURTICLES would be the perfect choice!!
Except that it means (of all the mundane things) spectacles. Or at any rate it did in Devonshire in 1891. In Newfoundland in 1937 they experimented with calling them ‘sparticles’, probably because of their inborn vowel dysfunction there, but the term didn’t last.
There’s a long blurb about it being Benjamin Franklin’s birthday too, although this being a weekend there are two dates on the same page and they don’t specify on which exact day he was born. Perhaps at midnight on the 16th. Destined to invent bifocals once he got old enough to need them and got tired of switching back and forth from his distance spurticles to his reading spurticles. I wonder why he didn’t call them bispurticles. Anyway, he claims they helped him learn french. Because while eating and conversing with the french it is a good plan to be able to see ones food, while also being able to look up and focus on the french speaker who talks with his features and gesticulations as much as he does with his mouth. If not more so.
Today it’s only very ancient or very persnickity people who cling to their stupid bispurticles being content to see far away and up close and missing out on everything in between. The vast majority adapt themselves to progressive lenses so that they have clear vision at every distance. For these people it’s important to see the dash of their car and their computer screens and the dust on things a little further away than arm’s length where you don’t feel like getting off your butt to clean anything, but it’s nice to be able to see it all just the same.
I wish I had known this word sooner. Because one day a customer told me he needed to book an appointment with our obstetrician so he could get a subscription for glasses. I wanted to say Ah! Well! Good luck with that then! Smiling sweetly. Backing away slowly. Instead I suggested he make an appointment with our optometrist for a new prescription. He looked at me as if to say, what is wrong with you, did I not just say that?? It would have been a much more interesting scenario to start blathering away about regular spurticles vs. bispurticles and good old sparticles from Newfoundland. Making him strongly consider booking with a different obstetrician altogether. Hind sight is such a beautiful thing. No spurticles needed to see that clearly.