Secretary. Dictionary definition: " ML. secretarius, one entrusted with secrets (L. secretum) 1. a) a person whose work is keeping records, taking care of correspondence and other writing tasks, etc. as for an individual in a business office 2. a writing desk, esp. one topped with a small bookcase."

As you're drinking your gin and tonic and holding your napkin, you meet someone and (you pray they don't ask) they ask you what you do. You've heard all you can hear about his/her law practice/real estate agency/flower business and you've stalled as long as you can. You answer: "I work for TREXON" or "I'm at TREXON" or "I'm with TREXON." Or "I'm in public relations, advertising, marketing, whatever." Or there's always, "I work downtown."

Sometimes there's the defiant glare at the bridge of your nose: "I'm a secretary" (as in, "So what are you going to do about it?").

The image: The 1950s dame/broad/gal/girl with the fitted skirt and the calves that are much too long from knee to ankle, and the beehive, the smile and the small voice. Then there's Mother Earth--ear-to-ear bosom, makes him coffee, gets him to the doctor, wards off all attackers and remembers everyone's birthday. Then the bird-like type--always correct, efficient, never complains, who goes home at 5:30 to feed her cats and read Le Carre'.

It doesn't really matter that you don't meet secretaries like this any more.

Keeper of secrets. Who called in sick and wasn't really, who turned in an expense account for a $200 lunch, who won't get promoted . . .

But it's more than that.

I found another definition--in "Webster's Third New International": "1. b) one considered to understand the secrets of God or of nature or to have penetrated other mysteries."