A friend of ours called it spuddling – not getting on with the task, working feebly. We were insulted and insisted that his claims were unsubstantiated. Besides spuddling, from the verb to spuddle, was actually from a quasi-obscene late Frankish source “spootile” – to make love in a lackadaisical fashion. We were highly insulted that he should employ such language on two virile young men. The very thought! How dare he! We did nothing in a lazy fashion. Especially not spuddling.
He had made us so mad that we became distracted from the job at hand, washing the windows on the Folkie Palace. Spring and fall, a biannual job needed to let the sunlight into the dim interior sooted up with marijuana and tobacco smoke. We were so distracted that we argued about the root of spuddling until the light failed, and we were required to stop by the dark. Oh, well, we’ll finish tomorrow.
Our friend we left sputtering as we walked down Beacon Hill to the Harvard Gardens for a beer. We were confident that any spuddling on our part was an anomaly. However, our friend had better start watching his language.