Apart from the noise and the self-evident futility of the common leaf blower, what most disturbs me about the whole practice of charging money to fling nature’s bounty into the neighbour’s yard is its name. It lacks a certain…poetry.
In English, we’ve employed clever tricks to give everyday Joe-jobs a sense of honour and wonder. These include translation into dessert-sounding Romance languages and obfuscation with marketing bumf (aka bullshit).
Take our penchant for French titles. Translating some plain old English thing into French instantly transports it from the mundane suburb where it resides to the court of Louis XIV. Thus, “Kitchen Help” is elevated to “Sous-chef”, “Hairdresser” is blown away by “Coiffeur”, and “Civil Servant” escapes all its grey servitude in the guise of “Attaché”.
We also like to upmarket ordinary jobs by inventing bullshit English job titles. This technique effectively euphamizes their true nature, transforming the lowly “Dishwasher” into a “Ceramic Technician” and the “Garbage Man” (in addition to solving the need for gender neutrality) into the commanding “Waste Aquisition Officer”. This practice circulates so widely it scarcely raises eyebrows anymore, as in the “Marketing Assistant” who now can claim status as “Social Media Guru”.
But “Leaf Blower”…hm. That one stands awkwardly in its field (both the job and the machine)—unadorned and entirely lacking any pretension of upward mobility.
What if we borrowed a little from French—would the title gain some of that gallic allure if we opted for “Coureur de Feuilles”? Has a certain je ne sais quoi, non?
Or taking a more technical tack, we could simply render “Leaf Blower” as “Astro-arborist”, as in “Dammit Jim, I’m just a doctor, not an Astro-arborist!”