call oneself v phr chiefly Sth, SMidl
Foll by pres pple: To claim or consider oneself to be (doing something)—in interrogative contexts often with the implication that the claim or belief is mistaken.
1915 Hopkinsville Kentuckian (KY) [9 Dec 3]/2, “I’m not fishing,” answered the imperturbable angler. “What do you call yourself doing, then?” [DARE Ed: From a joke widely reprinted at the time.] 1924 Indiana Eve. Gaz. (PA) 28 Feb 4/3 cnAL, Q—What kind of work do you do? A—Oh, most anything. Q—Well what do you call yourself doing? A—I call myself a newspaperman from Atlanta. 1934 Pittsburgh Courier (PA) 8 Sept sec 1 9/1 [Black], Say, Stanley Waters! What do you call yourself doing, anyway! You better make up your mind. c1935 in 1944 ADD 91 neWV, ‘What do you call yourself a-doin’?’ = What do you think you’re doing?, What are you doing?, What would you say you’re doing there? c1937 in 1945 FWP Lay My Burden Down 178 ceGA [Black], He left her swinging there and went to church, preached, and called hisself serving God. When he got back home she was dead. 1939 in 1944 ADD 91 cnWV [Black], ‘I call myself making better gravy’ = (I think that) my gravy making is improving. 1947 in 1971 O’Connor Complete Stories 21 GA, Rayber read the paper to Jacobs. “Well,” Jacobs said, “so what? What do you call yourself doing?” 1950 Faulkner Stories 27 MS, A seventy-year-old man. . squatting all night on a hill and calling himself listening to a fox race that he couldn’t even hear unless they had come right up onto the same log he was setting on and bayed into his ear trumpet. 1977 Smitherman Talkin 258 [Black], Call yo’self, to assume to be doing something, to intend to do a thing, as in “I call myself having this dinner ready on time,” or “Girl, what you call yo’self doing?” 1983 DARE File cAR, I called myself looking there [on the bookshelf]. 1990 Greenwood Commonwealth (MS) 4 Jan 8/2 [Black], I call myself doing (Valley) a favor so they can go on and get a head coach as soon as possible. 2006 Flagg Can’t Wait 169 MO, What in the world do you call yourself doing, pretending you’re dead? 2015 NY Times (NY) 22 July (Internet) GA [Black], I can say that I called myself writing my first novel, “Leaving Atlanta,” in order to remind the world that in the early 1980s, 30 African-American children were killed in my hometown. . . But as we also know in the South, what you call yourself doing and what you are called to do are often two different things.