More Jackson County Opinions...

AUGUST 20, 2003


Column
By:Virgil Adams
The Jackson Herald
August 20, 2003

Déjà vu all over again
Déjà vu all over again: Just another name for “Cleaning out the shoe box,” “Short notes from all over,” “This, that and the other,” “More of the same old stuff,” “Stuff, stuff and more stuff” and “Here we go again.”
* * *
For the two or three of you who don’t know what “déjà vu all over again” means look up “superfluous redundancy.”
I count as loss any day some writer or commentator smarter than I am doesn’t send me to the dictionary in search of meaning. What I’m saying is, I try to add at least one new word to my vocabulary every day. (If I had started that in first grade - 74 years ago - I’d be a walking etymologist.)
* * *
This morning (August 13) I am indebted to Thomas Friedman, a New York Times columnist, and a writer smarter than I am, for my latest addition.
“Electrical shortage zaps Iraq’s comity with U.S.” That was the headline.
I didn’t have a problem with “Electrical shortage zaps.” But the thing being zapped - “Iraq’s comity with U.S.” - what in the world is that?
OK, so you don’t have a problem with “comity.” You know what it means, and you are surprised that I don’t.
Look, writers and commentators aren’t the only ones smarter than I am. You and a lot of other readers of this stuff are, too. I suggest you turn to the comics, Sports or Mike’s column while I go ask Mr. Webster for help.
* * *
All right, class, I now know what “comity” means. It is a great word, and I don’t understand why I waited 80 years to add it to my vocabulary. If everybody understood “comity” and made it part of their heart, mind, body and soul — as well as their vocabulary — Iraq’s comity with the U.S. would be just fine, and the whole world would be a better place.
Israel and Palestine would be at peace. Warlords all over the world would lay down their arms and start up dove and lamb farms. Hate would become a forgotten word and love would reign supreme. Order would be restored to the chaotic, idiotic, crazy political fiasco in California. Everybody would get along, even in church. Power hungry government leaders at all levels would share the power. The Jackson County Board of Commisioners would let us vote on the courthouse.
* * *
Like I said, “comity” is a great word. However, I probably elevated it to a higher status than it deserves. It would take comity — and a miracle — to accomplish all of the good things I mentioned above.
But just look at the possibilities. Comity comes from the Latin comitas, meaning courtesy and civility. It is akin to smiling. Can you imagine what would happen if you went around with a smile on your face all day, and if everyone you met smiled back? Imagine that happening with all God’s children all over the world. That would be the needed miracle.
* * *
Here is more of what Mr. Webster said about that wonderful word:
Comity: “friendly quality of social atmosphere; social harmony; group activities promoting harmony; a loose widespread community based on common social institutions.”
And then there is “comity of nations.” This means “the courtesy and friendship of nations, marked especially by mutual recognition of executive, legislative and judicial acts” and “a group of nations practicing international comity.”
I’m sure this is what Mr. Friedman was referring to in his column about “Iraq’s comity with the U.S.”
It is a shame that an electrical shortage is zapping that, but I understand. I am not in a very “comital” mood when my power goes off. (Comital is not in my dictionary, or in this computer’s. I just made that up. Remember, you saw it here first.)
* **
I did not intend to get hung up on comity when I started this déjà vu column. My intention was to respond to the “friend” who accused me of being superfluously redundant. He said I was repeating myself. Recycling old stuff. Said I ought to remember what I said in the past and not repeat it in the present or future. I think he was trying to tell me that my stuff was not worth repeating or recycling.
I guess he’s right. He was also right when he accused me of not remembering what I wrote about last week.
Maybe so. But I have an excuse. I have slept since then.
Virgil Adams is a former owner and editor of The Jackson Herald.

Jackson County Opinion Index

Column
By: Adam Fouche
The Jackson Herald
August 20, 2003

Man’s shirt becomes pseudo-flag at meeting
A meeting in Banks County last week quickly turned chaotic as leaders realized the courtroom flag was missing.
One leader decided the best idea would be to grab a member of the audience wearing a red, white and blue shirt and use him as the flag. The man had jokingly volunteered to stand in as the flag just moments before.
And so the man, who will remain nameless except to be called a Homer attorney, was summoned to the front of the room. He stood tall and straight as we, the audience, said the Pledge of Allegiance to him, a man donning a red, white and blue shirt.
Since we said the Pledge to this man’s shirt, it has now become a pseudo-flag, and whenever he wears that shirt, he must obey the proper rules of the Flag Code.
The man can’t be outside with the shirt on except between sunrise and sunset. He may come out at night provided he is properly illuminated. But at no time should the man go outside during inclement weather, unless his shirt is all-weather. I don’t believe it is.
He must get up (hoisted) briskly and go to bed (lowered) ceremoniously. The lawyer can’t ride on a float with the shirt on unless he is hanging from a proper staff. But he should never, under any circumstances, drape himself over a vehicle.
The man can’t tuck his shirt in. Since it’s now a pseudo-flag, it must always be allowed to fall freely.
The attorney shouldn’t let his shirt touch anything below him, including the ground, floor or water. He can’t roll around on the lawn in front of the courthouse in celebration of a court victory. And he should never jump into a lake without first disrobing.
If his shirt does touch the ground, water or floor, it can be cleaned. The Flag Code provides for the man’s shirt to be dry cleaned or washed, depending on his personal preference.
In the case of a national tragedy or prominent figure’s death, the man must fly his shirt at half-staff by taking it off and tying it around his waist. But it must be tied in a way to keep from touching the ground.
Further, he must wear his shirt around his waist until noon on Memorial Day, at which time he may put the shirt on correctly.
To properly be worn at half staff, he must first put it on fully before taking it off and tying it around his waist. And at the end of the day, he should first untie it from his waist, put the shirt on correctly and then take it off completely.
On days that the attorney wears the shirt, he must also make rounds throughout the area, being displayed in front of the courthouse for a short time and then the schools. On Election Day, he should spend at least one hour standing in front of each polling place.
At the end of the day when he takes off his shirt, the lawyer should fold it into the shape of a triangle in a brief ceremony.
Should he no longer desire the shirt, he must have it properly burned for a fitting disposal.
And the most important rule requires anyone who comes in contact with the man’s shirt to treat it with proper respect. It’s not just a shirt anymore. It’s a pseudo-flag.

Adam Fouche is a reporter for MainStreet Newspapers. His email address is fouche@nbank.net.


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