Mine included working in a bakery and washing dogs for a pet groomer (a combination that resulted in a disturbing number of poodles licking donut frosting off my shoes).
Pythagoras worked in a pizza parlor.
One evening, he answered a call from a man with a heavy accent and a very firm idea how he wanted his pizza made. After he barked his elaborate instructions to Pythagoras, he issued this stern warning:
"I am a pizza ottist, so I will know if you do not make it right."
Pythagoras frowned down at his order pad. "Pizza ottist?"
"Pizza ottist!" the man repeated loudly.
Oh artist, Pythagoras realized, but wrote down o-t-t-i-s-t and committed both the word and the concept to memory.
Since then, it's become our catch-all phrase for a skill that is a great source of pride, but might not ordinarily be considered a form of artistry. I am a bargain-hunting ottist, as I can always find the best prices on everything from world travel to used jeans.
|Pythagoras slices the potatoes paper-thin.|
And Pythagoras is still a pizza ottist. It's the one thing he loves to do in the kitchen (well, I suppose there are other things he might love to do in the kitchen, but the granite counters are kind of cold).
Just last night, some friends and I pleaded with him to make pizzas. I knew he had a million other things on his to-do list (I know this because I attempted to add my own name) but I also saw that flicker of pride that comes from being asked to do something you're really very good at.
He agreed, and we headed off to the grocery store to stock up on pepperoni and onions and big, fat mushrooms. Pythagoras delighted us with his mouth-watering Italian prosciutto, potato, and rosemary pizza, along with some artery-clogging meat monster we affectionately called "boy pizza."
It was delicious. Even better, it was fun to see my husband basking in the glow of doing something he's very good at and enjoys, but isn't required to do in order to keep a roof over our heads.
|Assembling the pizzas.|
I'm no psychology expert, but I'm pretty sure everyone needs outlets like this – some skill, some ottistry that isn't tied to your profession, but just makes you happy because you're genuinely good at it. Do you agree? If so, what sort of ottist are you? Is there some ottistry you aspire to develop? Please share!
And please let me know if you happen to be a cleaning ottist. My kitchen looks like someone blew up a bag of flour with an M-80.
Totally worth it though.