THE BATTLE FOR LIGHT – Marilyn Armstrong

FOWC with Fandango — Battle


“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. All you can see are shadows 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.”

“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.

Night in Boston

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.

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.”

A small victory in the battle for personal freedom in a world with too many stupid laws.

Author: Marilyn Armstrong

Writer, photography, blogger. Previously, technical writer. I am retired and delighted to be so. May I live long and write frequently.

31 thoughts on “THE BATTLE FOR LIGHT – Marilyn Armstrong”

            1. Right now, it seems an oddly good idea. My mother was pro-death penalty. Otherwise, she was an atheist socialist. She figured “Convict the SOBs, then take them behind the courthouse, and blow their head off. Why waste years in prison?”

              Liked by 2 people

    1. We put up lampposts because the town doesn’t do much of anything around here. In town, they do a little, but here — about 4 miles out of the village — they do nothing. We pay to have trash collected. There are no streetlights. The road is very twisty, banked badly, and pitch black. There are no drains, so when snows melt or, like now, we are getting really heavy rains … we flood. Occasionally, they repave the road and eventually, they plow the road. So we put up lights, but not on the road itself because we’d probably need a permit to do that. At least we can see the house now.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. I watched them put up a lamppost on my street earlier this year. A really tall pole with one of those new LED lights that shines like a thousand stars so that you can’t even tell it’s night outside anymore. It seems like they just caked the dirt around the bottom of it trying to hold it into the ground. It hasn’t fallen yet, but then again, I haven’t tried to lean on it. I’ll find myself a good attorney and then test this out…

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    1. I really hate those mercury lights. I find them blinding and just unpleasant. They generally don’t cement posts into place, but they put them pretty deep in the ground. They want them to fall if a car crashes into them, you see. I don’t know about leaners, but ALL the lampposts in our area are crooked from being hit by something 😀

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  2. There are no street lamps on my section of road. If I have to catch the bus home in winter I may be dropped off in complete darkness. I hate having to cross the street in the dark because I have lousy night vision anyway and I can’t see a thing. Worse than that I worry that on a road with a 100km speed limit oncoming traffic may not see ME until it’s too late. I keep a torch in my bag but mostly I try to be home by 5 pm in winter if I have to get the bus.

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