“But your honor,” he whined, “I had no idea the lamppost would fall on his head. It never fell down before.” Of course, he pondered, no one else had weighed three hundred pounds and leaned on it before, either.
The judge banged his gavel on the desk twice to emphasize his point. “Son,” he exclaimed, “You can’t just go putting up stuff without properly setting them in the ground. We have laws about such things.”
“What laws? I didn’t know there were any laws. There were no lights on the street. I wanted a light so I’d know where to turn into my driveway. From the street, all you can see are trees and darkness. Besides, all my neighbors told me I couldn’t set my mailbox in cement because when the snowplows come, they would knock it over … and if it’s just standing in the dirt, you just put it upright and that’s it.”
“The lamppost was electrified,” the judge reminded him.
“No wires. Just one of those bulbs that collect daylight so it shines in the dark … or at least until it runs out of saved light.”
“It hit him on the head. He’s in a coma. In the hospital.”
“No one told him to lean on it. Who hangs around the street at night, learning on lampposts? Who does he think he is, Bogey?” As he made this comment, a mist rolled through the courtroom and the lights dimmed.
“My word,” thought the judge. “I think it IS Bogey!” And who was that fat guy? Sidney Greenstreet? Or maybe … Orson Wells? Was this a courtroom or a television set for Law & Order? When he heard the background music, he began to worry. He didn’t have a union card … and there were laws about that.
It turned out there was no law against putting up a lamppost, properly or otherwise. In fact, the city charter was singularly free of laws regarding lights and posts and implementation of said devices. “Well,” commented the judge, trying to see the plaintiff through the rolling mist, “There oughtta be a law.”
Ultimately, the judge ruled the lamppost an “attractive obstruction” and told the gentleman to please stop putting up lampposts.
But it was too late. He had already lit most of the town and it had cost a pretty penny at that. However, in line with safety regulations, each post had a sign stapled to it that said:
“Beware! Leaning on this lamppost can result in serious injury and crushing incidents.”
It was a small victory in an endless battle for personal freedom in a world which already had too many stupid laws. And you just knew, there’d be a brand new lamppost law as soon as the mist rolled out of the courthouse.