Google says fuss is a state of excitement, and it’s usually about something not worth worrying or “fussing” about. Most fusses are types of commotion. If someone makes a fuss, they’re overexcited and in a tizzy over something, like someone who can’t stop asking questions.
Fuss has two components. One is the person who is fussing and the other is the person or object that is fussed about. Occasionally the two are the same!
Fuss can mean many things. For example, an over-caring anxious mother may wish to feed her child endlessly assuming that the child’s stomach has more capacity to take in food until the child brings it all out. This is an exhibition of extreme love and concern. A very simple case of over enthusiasm. Unfortunately, the child is the sufferer. In my experience no mother ever believes that her child has drunk enough milk.
Likewise, over-ambitious parents punish their kids in the process of making them more competitive in studies, sports, music, and other extra mural activities. They want their child to top in every competition including spelling-bee contests. There is no limit to this type of cruelty. It helps them brag about their super-child. All this fuss is driven by selfishness in the garb of doing good for the child. This is a little different from overfeeding.
Possessiveness also leads to a lot of fuss. Lovers and parents exhibit this quality in abundance.
Next there are people who are fastidious about their needs or requirements. Often times, these so-called needs and requirements are artificially imposed on subordinate colleagues or employees. The boss claims to be a perfectionist and cannot tolerate any underperformance. In the early days of my career when there were no computers or electronic typewriters (the first versatile model was the high priced IBM Selectronic machine introduced in 1961. I first saw it only in 1972) I got the reputation of being a fussy boss for demanding from my secretaries, typed letters without any typographical flaws and unwilling to accept penned or erased corrections. This was not a must in those days. My demand meant retyping, occasionally more than once. Some errors occurred since my secretary failed to hear and jot down correctly while taking dictation in shorthand. On other occasions I modified a word or two that seemed inapt. Nevertheless, I was also grudgingly complemented for my ability to place my finger on an error as soon as the paper was placed before me for signature.
The Brits are known for their fussy table manners and dining etiquettes including how to position the dining implements while serving and eating a meal. This is more fussy when you are seeking to be served more. I had a taste of it in St. Stephens College, Delhi. I thought this was a kind of snobbery. The urban upper strata of the Indian society have learned the art of chewing food with their mouths closed and with no the chewing sound being heard. Their country cousins merrily enjoy their dishes with a loud smack of their lips and are happy to continue their conversation with a morsel of food (I don’t mean foot) in their mouth.
A legacy that the British masters left behind is the bureaucracy in India. This includes the servile behaviour expected of all subordinates towards anyone of a higher rank. Any superior is always addressed as ‘Sir’. His name cannot be uttered within his hearing distance. Of course, calling a boss by his first name was blasphemy. As I was also in the bureaucratic establishment, I too followed this rule meticulously. When I joined a private foreign bank, I discovered that everyone was addressed only by their first name. Unable to change my life long habit radically I addressed my boss as Mr……. His Secretary came to me the very next day that counselled me to call him by his first name. I said I would do so but needed a few days to change to this informal mode. I also secretly admired his simplicity and lack of fuss. I thought his secretary was returning at the end of this brief conversation, but she abruptly turned and said “Mr. Natarajan, George also wishes to know how you can be addressed.” Only then I realised the main purpose of her visit! There is more to the story, but that has to wait for another occasion.
Some of you would have heard this one about this tale that describes how fussy and formal the Brits are. There was a plane crash over the sea and two brits, X and Y, hung on to the opposite ends of a small log that was floating for several hours till a small boat spotted them and came near the end where X was hanging for his dear life. The rescuing boatsman asked him who Y was. X said “How would I know; we have not been introduced”.
Hypochondriacs make a lot of fuss about their real and imaginary illnesses. If two of them are in a serious conversation, both of them will part with a list of additional illnesses in their compilation of ownership.
I hope I have spoken enough. I am scared that someone may make a fuss about it being long- winded.
This is my take on this week’s Friday 8 On 1 blog post topic. The other seven bloggers who write on the same topic every Friday are Maria. Sanjana, Padmum, Ramana, Shackman , Srinivas and Conrad. This week’s topic was suggested by Maria. Please do go over to their respective blogs to see what they have to say on the topic. Thank you.