Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Take my blood alcohol level - please!

A law firm in town has a big sign that trumpets the firm's name and, below it, these words:

Serious DWI Defense.

Hmm, thinks I, who have been paid over the course of lo so many years (and not in lo mein, either) to ponder punctuation and other linguistic niceties, did these legal eagles forget to insert a hyphen somewhere?

For it could be that what they actually mean is:

Serious-DWI Defense.

Then again, one might argue, aren't all cases of DWI serious? Don't they all involve people who have imbibed too indiscreetly and could endanger other drivers and pedestrians, not to mention themselves?

Then still again, I suppose there could theoretically be such a thing as a "nonserious" DWI case with little if any potential for bodily harm:

"Police said the suspect was alone in his garage, putting his car in forward, then reverse, then forward, and so on, having a high old time...."

Or it could well be (considering that I don't get out all that much) that there are special raceways where drunken drivers can wheel about to their hearts' content, where instead of a concrete wall they are encircled by a barrier formed by the fusion of 1,573,889 Nerf balls. (By the way, is the Whamo toy company still around? And remember how, even in the '60s, its commercials boasted that the company had been around "since 1949"? -- "Yes, son, when you're looking for the best in whoopie cushions, always go with the old, established firm.")

Then even yet again, perhaps the "serious" pertains not to the DWI, but to the defense. After all, one would hardly want a Facetious DWI Defense:

Judge: Is the defense ready?

Defense lawyer: Yes, your honor, and may I say that a funny thing happened to me on the way to the courthouse today. A lawyer came up to me on the street and said, "I haven't had a subpoena duces tecum in three days!" So I gave him a subpoena duces wild! Say, what is this, a panel of prospective jurors or an oil painting?

At this point the defense should rest. Me too.

But one final thought: If Mel Torme had forsaken singing to become a shyster, would he now be remembered as The Velvet Pettifog?

(Update, 1/17/2008: It turns out that the name of the company referred to above is Wham-O and that it was started in 1948. I learned this after learning of the death of company co-founder Richard Knerr. So if I wind up spending eternity dodging continuous downpours of Super Balls, I'll know why.)

1 comment:

Pawlie Kokonuts said...

Alas, the blogosphere has something for everyone, seriously (without the DWI defense, please). One of the blogs of note on the blogger home page yesterday and today is The "Blog" of "Unnecessary" Quotation Marks. Check "it" out.