Potsherds, POTUS, and hash browns

"Niggling" has nothing to do with eels, That's the good news. Something has been niggling in my brain. It's a relief to know that eels, one of the few creatures that completely creep me out, are not involved. Can you imagine if you went to your precinct polling place at seven a.m. on November eighth  and it was full of eels?! Can this nightmare of a presidential campaign get any creepier?

"Sniggling" is a crossword puzzle answer for the clue "catching eels by hand." Banish that visual! Don't trap me in that weir! We are here to talk about politics, potshards, and hash brown potatoes. We are here to talk about casting ballots, not about smashing crockery against the kitchen walls.

In Mrs. Williams' Graeco-Roman history class we learned the backstory of ostracism. Yesterday's New Yorker Borowitz Report satire blog post said President Obama had signed an executive order requiring the loser of the presidential election to leave the country November ninth so healing could begin.  Niggle...niggle...

The ancient Athenians voted to banish persons deemed threats to their liberties, their democracy, their government. Voters scratched the names of those dangerous persons on bits of broken clay pots (reduce, reuse, recycle, remove!) and whoever received a significant pile of potsherds had to hit the road, Jack, for ten years.

Bits of broken pottery are called potshards or potsherds by archaeologists, and etymologically known as ostracons for the ancient Athenians. Being ostracized in Athens was more extreme than sitting alone in the dismal January noon junior high cafeteria while the popular kids were hurling canned peas at the frosty windows with spoon catapults. Ostracism was an ancient Athenian badge of popularity, persuasion, and power while being shown to the EXIT. That's why the junior high pea-catapulters gloated all the way to the principal's office!

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