Welcome to Weird Word Wednesday! Today’s weird word is squiddle, which means “to waste time with idle talk.”
Bear with me here – just a few days ago, President Barack Obama took the oath of office, officially starting his second term as president of the United States. The Twentieth Amendment to the Constitution states that “the terms of the President and Vice President shall end at noon on the 20th day of January.”
I never gave it much thought, but when January 20th falls on a Sunday, as it did this year, the president takes the oath in private, and public festivities are held the following day.
President Obama took his oath of office on Sunday, January 20th, in a brief, two-minute ceremony in the White House Blue Room. No time for squiddling at all!
Generally speaking, two-term presidents’ inaugural addresses are briefer the second time. Contrast that with William Henry Harrison’s 1841 address, which lasted one hour and 45 minutes! He died a short time later of pneumonia, so we’ll never know how long a potential second address of his would have been. Harrison might well reign as our nation’s leading squiddler.
It’s fun (not to mention easy) to pick on politicians for being squiddlers. Many of their speeches, though, contain phrases that stir us to action (think of those given by Franklin Delano Roosevelt and Winston Churchill during World War II) but some…well, they just send us snoozing. We can be glad we weren’t in the audience in 1960 as Cuban leader Fidel Castro gave a four-hour whopper speech.
The work world is full of squiddlers, people who ramble on and on simply for the sake of hearing themselves talk. I hope you don’t know too many, but if you do, take heart that at least they’re not Lluis Colet. The French government worker rambled on and on for a record five days and four nights.
Now that was a true Squiddlefest!