Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Spatula vs. Spatula

I want a spatula!

If I sent you to go bring me a spatula, would you A) bring me a tool I could use to flip a pancake; B) bring me a tool I could use to scrape a bowl; or 3) tell me, "Go get your own spatula, you lazy lump of lard!"

Spatula and Spatula
One word--spatula--describes two very distinct tools. There are the rubber-ended spatulas, which are used in mixing things and scraping bowls:

And, there are the flat-ended spatulas, which are used to slide under cooking food in order to flip the food over:

More spatulas! (Except different.)
My question is: Why do these two totally different tools go by the same name? They are different things; they should have different names! It's not like we have to conserve words. The English language has a lot of words, and we make up new ones all the time---words like rando, hangry, mocktail, and photobomb. Can't we come up with a new name for one of these kinds of spatulas?

If we're going to change the name of a spatula, it's got to be the scraping kind, doesn't it? Unless you're a real mixing bowl enthusiast, when you think of a spatula, you're thinking about the flipping kind, right? Pancakes, eggs, grilled cheese, french toast, bacon--these are all things you use a spatula to flip. And while "flipper," could be used as an alternate word for this kind of spatula, it's also the name of a famous dolphin, and we really don't need to be bringing water mammals into this discussion.

Flipper. (Not a spatula.)
So, if we're going to change the name of the rubber-ended, bowl-scraping spatulas, what should we change it to? Scraper? That could work, but it might get confused with the tool you use to scrape ice off of your windshield.

Scraper. (Not a spatula.)
We could call it a "rubber scraper," but we probably want to avoid any name involving the word "rubber," or we'll have to deal with teenage boys who giggle at anything that might be even remotely related to a condom.

(Sorry, I'm not going to post a picture of a condom.)(A condom is not a spatula.)
Since they're used for the scraping of bowls, we could call it a "bowler." But no, that's already been taken, either by a kind of hat, or by someone who bowls.

Bowler. (Not a spatula.)
So, what does that leave us with? We might just have to create a totally new word. How about "sputula?" We change the word a little bit, just enough to distinguish it from the more commonly used kind of spatula.

Hey, I know it's kind of lame, but I'm running out of ideas. (I'm up for any suggestions, if you've got 'em.) All I know is that if someone says, "spatula," (or if I go to Spatula City) I'll be expecting to see something I can flip a pancake with!

The Perfect Spatula!

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