May 18, 2018

the riot act

Fifty-nine minutes later ...
Southern humidity leads to the use of the expression, "I walked out of my house this morning and felt like I was covered by a wet blanket."

Someone said it this morning, and in my sleep-deprived, quasi-disoriented state, tinged with the benefit of premenstrual irritability, I asked, "Have you ever actually been under a wet blanket?  Has anyone?"

"Well ... no.  Not really.  But I can imagine what it would be like."

I persisted.  "No, seriously, why do we have that expression when, like, nobody has ever been under a wet blanket?"

The other one that kills me is, "He lies like a dog."  Dogs are the very best people and honest to a fault.  Humans lie to stay out of trouble, but dishonesty is impossible in a dog.  Even Chester, the kleptomaniac with mad skills at thievery, admits his wrongdoing by walking out of the back dog door (his normal punishment) with resignation, whether caught in the act or the next time one of us sees him.  Rose did the same thing just the other day, after pilfering a paper towel that she left lying on the carpet because after taking it, she didn't know what to do with it.  She saw me pick it up and immediately hung her head and slunk away.

Now the same person just threatened to "read someone the Riot Act," and I was given to wonder about the origins of that expression, which no one knows but everyone employs.  Wikipedia explained the unrest in Britain in the early 1700s and had a picture of a document containing the text of the Riot Act.  It had to be read to groups of twelve or more people who, standing around together, might not be discussing farming or who slept with whose maiden daughter out in the barn the night before, but instead, a plan for inciting a riot in an hour or two.  They couldn't be arrested unless someone had read the Act to them, and then they had an hour to finish their conversation about why the crops were inexplicably robust that year or whether said gratified man was to be a father soon, and return peacefully to their homes.  The whole thing generally worked well.

I saved the text to my desktop.  Next time someone merits it, I am going to literally read them the Riot Act, during which they'll scratch their head because there's an awful lot of "tumults" and "assemblies" and "God save the King" in it, and when I'm finished, they'll ask what the fuck that was all about, and I'll tell them, after which, in the spirit of the thing, if not the letter, I can rain down mighty wrath with full justification.

So now, I'll just wait for the phone to ring ....

Update:  My absolute fudd of an ex-husband pointed out at the dance performance last night that many people have been under a wet blanket, when camping or in the military.  Spoilsport.

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