Saturday, December 31, 2011

Ringing in the New Year ... Literally

Like many folks my age, I am blessed with tinnitus, so I ring in every day at varying decibel levels.  It's not so bad really, in fact it's pretty much background noise unless I focus on it (which I'm doing now, unfortunately.)  Maybe it's actually a sign of creativity, a kind of signal from my inner ear that my muse is calling me to write something.

That must be it.  After all, one of the most bizarrely creative writers of the nineteenth century, Edgar Allan Poe, surely had it.  You doubt me?  Who else but someone intimately familiar with this incessant ringing could have crafted The Bells, a magnificent poem around the word, tintinnabulation?  I rest my case.

There's an intriguing phrase, "I rest my case."  It bears some research ... Okay, I'm back.  After one minute of exhaustive Googling, I've concluded that all discussions concerning its origin beg the question (research that phrase yourself, if you care,) so I've formed my own conclusion.
 
Since the earliest days of the British legal system, briefs were prepared by a solicitor then delivered to a barrister, in a case - a briefcase.  It follows that, since the barrister had little time prior to arguing at trial to examine the stuff, he invariably chose to carry the briefcase while arguing for the prosecution or defense.   This enabled him to extract and refer to the contents without needing to return to his chair, thereby interrupting the drama building in the courtroom.  When the presentation of evidence concluded, he returned to his chair and rested his case on the table or floor.  Makes sense, doesn't it?

BTW The brief was probably so called from its first being only a copy of the original writ. [from Wikipedia on Brief (law)]


While musing about this, I found myself visualizing a barrister being handed a case that actually contained tighty-whities.  Couldn't get the image out of my head  for a while - must be the tinnitus.

2 comments:

  1. Glad you brought it back around to the tinnitus. I was almost a casualty of the muse. :)

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  2. I always wondered where folk etymology and fakelore originated... now I know that they come directly from New Paltz.

    This, no doubt, is because the Wallkill and Nile are the only rivers in the world that flow north (please don't look that up) and are, perforce, fonts of mystical power.

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