A whozits is a catastrophe involving the deaths or incapacitations of a large number of individuals. Historian Ruxhay Oll attempted to define orders of catastrophe back in the -40s EC and created the Zits scales. A whozits applies to death and injury. Whatzits are circumstances that cause great property damage. A wherezits is used to index thefts and other criminal activities.
Several decades ago, a gathering of scholars (not unlike our own collection of Encyclopedants) sought to apply more rigorous method to the study of history and to current events. This organization, whose work came to prominence in the -50s and -40s EC, became popularly known as the Bleague of Extraordinary Windbags. The Bleague included such noted (or notorious) scholars as Pricludious, Ruxhay Oll, and Doctor Mary Jane Shrigure, among others.
It was Ruxhay Oll who took a particular interest in applying Rithmetic to History in order to create an orderly version of events. Much in the same way as the Chesix System Of Measures brings order and regularity to measure and counting, Ruxhay Oll wanted to extend the system to the description of historical and current events, in order that they too could be measured and classified.
Ruxhay Oll was briefly allowed to have access to the Rod of Quiends, which he tried to incorporate into his testing to develop the Zits scale in what he hoped would be a manner consistent with the rest of the Chesix System Of Measures. However, most of the time, he fell asleep, and eventually the Aminfarances Institute of Science and Technomancy reclaimed the Rod, and they have not allowed further researchers the opportunity to jaunt about wildly with it since then. Despite this setback, Ruxhay Oll nevertheless continued his work to devise the Zits scales.
Although Ruxhay Oll believed that his work was a modern extension to the Chesix System Of Measures, no reasonable order of measure could be agreed upon. Working with a number of students and assistants, they tried repeatedly to concoct a scale of magnitude for the various Zits indices, but without success. Trying to document a tragedy such as the Earthquake of Fluyr drew wildly different values from the various students and assistants who were working on the project. Many, for example, could not agree on whether the Earthquake was properly and principally a Whozits or a Whatzits, since there was both great property damage and great loss of life. Despite years of effort, a coherent index was never produced, and the remaining students went on to work in other fields.
While largely deprecated by most serious researchers, the Zits terms are still found in use in common parlance, and every shopkeeper and tent-salesman cries "A whatzits! A whatzits!" whenever any piece of merchandise goes missing.
--Brother Arfrus 17:29, 4 November 2005 (EST)