Warning: Contains French guys in swimsuits.
Snagged from starline, without even so much as a "by your leave."
A window stopt up on the inside to save the tax imposed in that gentleman's administration. Party wit.—Francis Grove's A Classical Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue, 1796
The Window-tax was first imposed in 1695, and was frequently re-imposed, not withstanding its injurious effect in offering an obstacle to good ventilation. It was repealed, and the House-tax substituted for it in 1851.—Sydney Low and F. S. Pulling's Dictionary of English History, 1904
Birthday of William Pitt (1759-1806),
English politician and statesman. He was never sent to grade school but instead prepared for the political world at home, entering Cambridge at fourteen. On November 18, 1777, he railed against Britain's attempts to stop its American colonies from breaking away, warning the House of Commons candidly, "You cannot conquer America," before adding emphatically, "If I were an American, as I am an Englishman, while a foreign troop was landed in my country, I would never lay down my arms — never, never, never!"
I walked around the office gingerly, trying to figure out where would be the best place to sit, not too close to anybody, but not completely removed either so that nobody would think I was snobbish. Everybody took me in without directly looking at me, the way you do with people thrust into the same situation you’re in without wanting to actually engage them in conversation. Eventually I found a spot, picked up the magazine I was least disinterested in, and flipped through it looking at the ads until my name was called.
There was some small talk with a person who took my weight, temperature, blood pressure, and all of the metal items I was wearing or carrying. Then I was put into a small office with more magazines and asked to wait. I had just gotten comfortably asleep when the door opened and I sat up again, greeted by a man slightly older than myself but much wealthier. He asked me how I was (“okay, I suppose,”) and looked at his notes.
“So,” the doctor said. “Are we changing your mind today?”
“Well…” I said.
“I don’t really want to,” I said. “Isn’t there any other option?”
“You don’t want to keep going around with that mind you’ve got now, do you?” he said.
“Well it’s not like I’m that attached to it,” I said. “But I don’t really want to change it.”
“Look at all the trouble it’s caused you. And it’s only going to get worse.”
“I know, I know.”
“Then what’s the problem?”
“I’m used to my mind,” I said. “It doesn’t work very well, I know, but a new one is such a hassle. Getting a new one I have to reset all my preferences, tweak all the settings, all that jazz. And honestly, I’m not convinced a new one would really be any better than the one I’ve got. I mean really, this one does pretty much everything I want it to.”
“But a new one would do it so much faster,” said the doctor. “And let’s face it, the one you’ve got now isn’t going to be supported much longer. Sooner or later you’ll have to change it, you won’t have a choice. Why put up with all that difficulty? If you change your mind now, you’ll get all the benefits of a new one right away. It’s not like it’s really that hard to get used to. By this time next week, you’ll be wondering how you got along with that old mind all this time.”
“I don’t know,” I said. “I want to think about it before I change my mind.”
The doctor gave a sigh and a shrug of resignation. “Okay,” he said, “if that’s really the way you feel. But it’s going to be harder to change your mind later, and probably cost more in the long run.”
“Well, if that’s the case, I’ll just deal with it then. But I don’t want to change my mind before I’m ready.”
“If that’s what you want, that’s what you want,” said the doctor. “I think it’s a mistake — a man your age will probably need to change your mind more and more as time goes on. But it’s your mind, you’ll have to decide when to change it I guess.”
“Yeah,” I said.
“If you do decide to change your mind,” the doctor said, “just call and make another appointment. We’ll be glad to take care of it for you.”
“Thanks,” I said. “I’m sure I’ll change my mind eventually. But not today.” I got up and went out, collected all my metal objects, and went home.
(Originally posted to my LiveJournal.)
"Mr. Cobb was my escort," [Mrs. Regan] said. "Such a nice escort, Mr. Cobb. You should see him sober. I should see him sober. Somebody should see him sober. I mean, just for the record. So it could become a part of history, that brief flashing moment, soon buried in time, but not forgotten — when Larry Cobb was sober."