Take, for example, the job title: Meteorologist. First off, I have never turned on the six o’clock news to find Ms. Shiny Smile telling me about a low-pressure system exacerbated (I’m not sure if they’re allowed to use that word before prime time) by a couple of errant meteors zeroing in on Ames, Iowa. Secondly, how many times have you watched a movie whose clever plot line details the efforts of the Global Village coming together, despite centuries-long differences of religion and regionality, to devise a plan to destroy an earth-shattering meteor, and the Lindsay Wagner character pipes up and says, “You know, we’ve smoked enough cigarettes and downed enough anti-depressants to make this place look like the backstage of a fashion show. And we’ve gotten nowhere. We need to call a meteorologist.” And then she crushes the office chair next to her with one hand, in slow motion.
Think about the word “meteorologist”. The Latin root “logist” denotes someone who is absolutely powerless but thinks he’s a smarty pants (loose translation). A meteorologist has absolutely no control over the weather. With all the recent hurricanes, you have your local “meteorologist” giving you very specific detail: “As you can see from the radar image, Hurricane Chuck will proceed in a north by northeast direction for 17.2 miles. At that point it will stop at Key West for a few drinks at Margaritaville and then proceed due north to catch a Miami Heat game. He’ll be joined by Anna Nicole Smith courtside . . .” Come on, this is the same guy who can’t even tell you if it’s going to rain in Seattle tomorrow.
As I said, “logist” is society’s way of saying “Nice Try”. Think of some of the other “logists” out there: astrologist (oh, yeah, that’s a helpful line of work); psychologist (they didn’t quite make it to psychiatrist); and scientologist (heck, they can’t even control Tom Cruise’s zaniness).