Thursday, May 22, 2008

The name of your game

Baker, Miller, Smith, Archer, Carpenter, Sadler, Tanner, Thatcher, Cooper, Shepherd, Farmer, Groom, Fisher, Cook. Many common English surnames are derived from ancient occupations. If your name is Mason you most certainly would have had ancestors who were stonemasons. If you’re called Abbott you can safely assume that at some point in history you had a senior member of the clergy in the family. And if your name happens to be Handcock, well, it might be best not to dwell on it too much. But when you think about all the Cooks and Carpenters going back through time, back through the centuries, some of them would probably have had ulcerative colitis. There must have been a Baker who was always burning his loaves because he had to keep dashing off for a poo. They may not have had a name for ulcerative colitis in olden times, but it would have existed. And it would have been just as disruptive to livelihoods then as it can be now. It would have stopped people from working, possibly with devastating effects. Even with today’s wonder drugs UC can stop you working. Last year I had about 7 weeks off in total. Whilst not exactly devastating, it did put a hefty dent in my earnings. I’m freelance, so if I don’t work I don’t get paid. In short I can’t afford to be ill. Even taking a morning off to go to the hospital costs me money. Now I’m mortgaged up to the eyeballs it’s become more of a concern. I simply have to stay fit and healthy. If I get really sick again there’ll be no sick pay for me. Which is why I’ve squirreled away some money just in case. Not so much for a rainy day, but a shitty day. I suppose when you’ve got an illness that comes and goes like ours you have to be prepared. I can think of loads of things I’d rather spend my emergency UC fund on, but as long as I’m self-employed the best place for it is earning interest in the bank. All very grown up and sensible indeed. Who says UC doesn’t have any upsides? Anyway, going back to surnames, I wonder if people called Crapper had ancestors with ulcerative colitis? Hmmm.