I got a nice email yesterday from one of my oldest friends, Pat,
Rob, I agree with Max. An obsession with nature can surely only be a good thing. If more people had it then our planet would not be in such a sorry state. Also nothing wrong with an anorak. We need people to obsess over all kinds of things to keep the world diverse.Now as many of you know, I am a word guy. And notwithstanding the nice intentions of his note, my mind raced to the salient heart of this post, the fact that I didn't have the foggiest idea what an anorak was. These sorts of literary omissions really strike my oversized ego to the core and I decided I better find out what he was talking about, post haste.
I'm driving to Marseilles to install a booth at a medical congress. Not too big 18 square meters. Currently just south of Lyon. Never been to Mars so looking forward to a day off on Thursday.
And here we have it. An anorak is a jacket.
But why on god's earth did he bring a jacket up, there must be something else to this anorak business? I couldn't lose the thought that there must be something else, why would my comrade interrupt a soliloquy on the sorry state of our globe and bring up a polar jacket? I kept digging...
Anorak is also apparently a british slang turn, one that has not yet made its voyage back across the pond. From Wiki:
"Anorak" /ˈænəræk/ is a British slang which refers to a person who has a very strong interest, perhaps obsessive, in niche subjects. This interest may be unacknowledged or not understood by the general public. The term is sometimes used synonymously with "geek" or "nerd", or the Japanese term "otaku", albeit referring to different niches.
Wiki goes on to say that a connection has been made between Anoraks and high functioning autistics. And furnishes a pathway to the work of pioneering developmental parapsychologist Simon Baron Cohen, a Cambridge professor who created the autism spectrum quotient and has also mapped and studied synesthesia, amongst other things.
Another definition of Anorak, from Urban Dictionary:
You look at the U.D. link and there are a lot of references to train spotting, which is another track altogether. And who can fail to note the clear reference to the information obsessed dressing funny?
I just wonder how I missed the Anorak boat? Was it on some Seinfeld episode, during the twenty five year dark period I was off of the tele? Am I, once again, the last guy to know?
I guess, considering the subject, I should run the topic into the ground. Etymology time. The term Anorak or parka originally came from the Aleutians.
The word anorak comes from the Kalaallisut word annoraaq. It did not appear in English until 1924; an early definition is "a beaded item worn by Greenland women or brides in the 1930s". In the early 1950s it was made from nylon, but changed to poplin by 1959, when it was featured in Vogue magazine as a fashion item. In 1984, The Observer used the term to refer to the type of people who wore it and subsequently, in the United Kingdom, it is sometimes used as a mildly derogatory term.Yours in obsession.