Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Playing the Stock market

From the Associated Press:

CLEVELAND — A woman caught on camera driving on a sidewalk to avoid a school bus that was unloading children will have to stand at an intersection wearing a sign warning about idiots.

A Cleveland Municipal Court judge on Monday ordered 32-year-old Shena Hardin to stand at an intersection for two days next week. She will have to wear a sign saying: "Only an idiot drives on the sidewalk to avoid a school bus."

The judge ordered her to wear the sign from 7:45 a.m. to 8:45 a.m. both days.

Hardin's license was suspended for 30 days and she was ordered to pay $250 in court costs.

This kid looks happy
If your sixth-grade class took a trip to Colonial Williamsburg, the you'll recall the stocks** that were used to punish wrongdoers back in the early days of American crime.  They were the wooden devices into which various parts of one's body were inserted for the purpose of punishment, so that your friends and neighbors, on their way home from the apothecary or the King's Arms Tavern could stop by and goof on you, although the goofing was done in that Early American style:

"Verily I say unto you, look at young Jeremiah yonder; loath will he be to violate the peace and quiet of the town square again."

Itchy and scratchy
This form of punishment is similar to the use of the hairshirt.  Ever notice that some words just kind of say what they are?  Like "ham sandwich" is the perfect way to describe a nice slice of pork butt on a roll, while "hamburger" is not an apt description of a fried ground beef sammy.  But a hairshirt is what it claims to be, a shirt with animal hair, to be worn against the skin for "mortification of the flesh," a form of penance once endured by California Governor Jerry Brown during his days in a seminary.  They really make you put this itchy garment on and sit around itchin' and twitchin' like a chicken, and the plan is that you achieve absolution by this form of self-punishment.

So, feel better about the form of punishment the judge gave you, Shena.  At least it won't itch, or give you splinters.

And please?  Stay off the sidewalks!!

A laughing stock.
**They are stocks, although many call them stockades.  The word stockade, properly, refers to a building used to hold prisoners.  We use the term laughing stock to describe objects of extreme ridicule, and that form of "stock" comes from the alternate meaning of the word: "something solid to which things can be affixed."  It's only a coincidence that the laughing stock of many a Colonial town was held in the local stock.

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