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The parable of the six turtles

We’re veering way off topic for this one. But I’ve been reading Anita Loos’ highly amusing memoir “A Girl Like I” and ran across her account of what might be the best prank of all time. It involves turtles.

During Rayne’s student days in Paris he had perpetrated an elaborate trick on the concierge at his lodging house—one which I have heard ascribed to other pranksters but, knowing Rayne, I think the idea may have been his own. One afternoon, while passing by a pet shop, he noticed a tank full of turtles. Rayne proceeded to buy six in graduated sizes. He then made a present of the smallest turtle to his concierge, who affectionately placed it in a fountain that decorated his conciergerie. Rayne then stealthily proceeded to change the turtles, each time substituting one of a larger size. The concierge and his wife, bouleverses [upset] by the rapid growth of their turtle, became famous throughout the arrondissement; a steady succession of people came every day to check the phenomenon. After the turtle reached its peak in size, Rayne reversed the process, and the turtle gradually began to get smaller until it disappeared altogether.

Loos, a brunette, is most famous for writing Gentlemen Prefer Blondes. Which is actually funnier than her memoir. But then again it’s pretty much funnier than everything, Here she is about to murder Jean Harlow.

Let’s have a little open thread.

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Ohlmann
Ohlmann
1 year ago

Good luck Elaine. I don’t know the pain of a miscarriage but by what I have seen on people having one it’s rather hard

Above all, I hope you will be surrounded by properly empathic people that won’t blame you.

Threp (formerly Shadowplay)
Threp (formerly Shadowplay)
1 year ago

Sorry for that, Elaine. It’s not a pleasant thing when it happens.

GSS ex-noob
GSS ex-noob
1 year ago

Hugs, Elaine.

At least your hubby is home now to tend to you.

Contrapangloss
Contrapangloss
1 year ago

Elaine,

I hope you can get all the love and support from your hubby and others that you need, right now.

Best wishes from this pocket of the internet.

Lumipuna
Lumipuna
1 year ago

Elaine – I’m sorry for your trouble.

I just became eligible for vaccination as of today. Reserved the first shot for 12 June, and the second will be presumably in early September. The long delay is in part because Finland has been rushing first doses and prioritizing the limited vaccine supply for that.

Redsilkphoenix: Jetpack Vixen, Intergalactic Meani

I know this is technically necroing a thread, but I’m in a mood to rant a bit, and none of the other current threads seemed a good fit. Especially since this thread is still on the front page and everything. Be warned, this is going to be long.

I have spent the last year of this lockdown getting more and more exhausted, because unlike the rest of the workforce, I didn’t get weeks of glorious time off from work to rest and recuperate. As a retail worker at two separate jobs, I didn’t see one day of that. Not even a few days paid vacation, since what would’ve been the point with virtually everything closed for business? Besides, the biggest human rights violation in existence is the denial of Big Macs on demand, and since someone had to help sell the frigging things…. /s

To me, everyone else’s ‘new normal’ is just the same old same old, but with ruder customers, if that were possible. The customers still gripe and complain when we don’t have what they want when they want it at the lowest possible price at worst (free at best), throw hissy fits that would embarrass a toddler when they’re told that they can’t order lunch yet / can’t order breakfast any longer because they’re on the wrong side of the changeover time.

They refuse to let me handle their oh-so-delicate IDs because…they’re afraid I’ll get cooties on it or something if I touch it with my filthy paws (even though those same filthy paws just got done handling the food, beer, and cigarettes they’re wanting to buy without complaint). Like, they insist I try and read the things from two feet from my face, at an angle I have trouble seeing words at, when it’d be loads faster if I just held their prwecious card in my hands at an angle and distance I can best read at.

And I’m over it, now more than ever, it seems. I’m tired of dealing with people, I’m tired of being the one who (it seems like much of the time) gets called in on their days off to cover someone else’s unexpected absence because they suddenly realized that yes, retail work is WORK and they never signed up for THAT and quit without notice because hey, it’s just a minimum wage job and who cares what happens to folks at that level, am I right? >:|

And it feels like anytime I try and make plans to do something to find a new career I might be happier in, it always gets derailed. Like, I started to figure out what I’d need to return to the local community college to upgrade my computer arts / regular art skills and see what I might do with those, when I get informed by my landlord that they’re not renewing my lease this year and I have until the end of August to move out. Which is admittedly a mixed blessing to me, since I’ve been getting grumpier at this company over done of their recent rule changes, but I still would have preferred to spend more time trying to get back to school and less time moving 10 years of stuff into storage and trying to find a new place in a tight housing market.

Anyway, that’s some of what’s been going on in my life right now. There’s other things I could grump about (and probably will, next time they come to the fore of my life again), but this post is already long enough.

ETA: suppose I should add in a good thing that might be happening soon, in that I may finally get tested to see what kind of neurological problem(s) I have that I’ve spent the majority of my life dealing with. On the one hand, getting an answer to why I’m so different might be a blessing/relief; on the other hand do I want to be treated much differently by certain people than I am now? I suppose once I get my answer I can go from there.

Last edited 1 year ago by Redsilkphoenix: Jetpack Vixen, Intergalactic Meani
epitome of incomrepehensibility

@Redsilkphoenix – Ugh, that sounds like a bunch of hassles. I’m sorry that your landlords and workplace are treating you so badly.

Also, sending good wishes for the diagnosis process! I know when I received the diagnosis of ADHD at age 23 it seemed a little embarrassing to me, as if ADHD were a “childhood disease” like chicken pox, but it helped me find people who’d advocate for me inside institutions and some strategies to be more organized, etc.

Redsilkphoenix: Jetpack Vixen, Intergalactic Meani

@epitome of incomrepehensibility,

My main problem (worry? fear?) about being officially diagnosed with whatever I’ve got (in part from a concussion I suffered when I was 5) is 1. I’m over 50, so I’m not real sure what-all might be available to help me get something closer to having normal relationships with other people, and 2. certain members of my family have an annoying habit of making major decisions for me without bothering to ask me first, because…talking to me about what they think is the right decision for me requires using words and time, time that can never be reclaimed when wasted, not when The Right Decision is so blindingly obvious that words aren’t needed to do it?

Or something, I honestly don’t know. All I know is that even when these family members thought my main problem was just ‘laziness’ they decided they had no choice but to make certain decisions that had to be made RIGHT NOW to make me an ‘adult’ and get me out of the house. And a part of me is wondering how those family members might start looking at me once it’s confirmed that a decent chunk of my ‘flakiness’ is due to something in my brain that might be treatable. Wait and see, I guess.

GSS ex-noob
GSS ex-noob
1 year ago

@RedSilk: I’d say “just don’t tell the relatives”. It is none of their damn business, and it’s not like the doctor’s going to tell them. Lie if you have to, they sound like they don’t deserve the truth of you. There’s a chance you won’t get any diagnosis; brains are complicated.

I knew a guy who found out he was ADHD at a fairly advanced age, and it was SUCH a relief for him just to have a diagnosis. And then even more so when he got some counseling and the right meds. He was the same person as before, only better. He could handle the daily grind more easily, but he was still smart, funny, snarky, and all the other things that made us friends, but he had even more friends after that — particularly the ladies. And he got promoted at work.

Lumipuna
Lumipuna
1 year ago

This is extremely OT, but I’d like to ask our resident law experts and hobbyists something about a general legal principle for fiction writing purposes.

Suppose someone reports themselves for DUI after the fact, when their blood alcohol content cannot be verified any more, and there’s no other evidence for the crime. Would a conviction be possible based on confession alone? How feasible it is generally to convict people on crimes based on confession alone?

What if the person above remembers having killed someone while driving drunk (and then run away), but the unidentified victim doesn’t seem to exist? Like, no one has reported a body or injured person in that location, quick search doesn’t yield a body or other evidence, nobody seems to be missing etc.?

Alan Robertshaw
1 year ago

@ lumipuna

Well, expert might be pushing it; but I can give you a few pointers (from a mainly English perspective).

In most jurisdictions you can convict on confession evidence alone. That’s not an uncommon scenario. You can actually be convicted just on a guilty plea; although without at least some evidence the matter would be unlikely to get to court.

There are some jurisdictions that do require corroboration; either generally or for some specific offences. So in that case a confession wouldn’t be enough on its own. Although again, even there a guilty plea would be determinative. So it wouldn’t be necessary to test the evidence.

So in your scenario, a person who voluntarily confessed to the police could be convicted on that evidence alone, even if there was no other evidence at that stage.

As for thinking you may have hit someone. Generally there is no obligation to assist the police. (There are some exceptions to that. Like here you have a positive duty to report terrorism offences). It’s only an offence to obstruct the police or attempt to pervert the course of justice.

So for example, if I knew where an offender was hiding and the police asked me; I’m allowed to say “Not telling you”. What I can’t do is give a false address.

Often jurisdictions have offences like ‘failing to stop’ or ‘failing to report an accident’. But that is premised on you knowing there had been an accident. If you thought you’d hit something but then couldn’t find a victim afterwards, you might be able to argue as there was no evidence of there having been an accident, you didn’t need to report it.

That’s just the legal position though. In practice you might have a hard time in court if a body then does turn up.

To give you a real world example. I had a case where the client had been found (illegally) camping in a field. There was evidence he’d been drinking, but no evidence he was under the influence before he got to the field.(The police did look at back calculations of alcohol consumption and the like). In the end though in interview he admitted to drinking before he parked up. That was all they needed to convict.

So we had to instruct a psychiatrist to argue that the confession was unreliable because of certain mental issues with the client. That sort of backfired. The psychiatrist made great headway demonstrating the mental state of the client. But then the prosecutor asked whether someone in that state should even be driving in the first place and the psychiatrist said “Not really”. So the police dropped the case but then DVLA revoked his licence on health grounds.

Lumipuna
Lumipuna
1 year ago

Alan – Thank you very much! Interesting, as always.

With regard to my local jurisdiction (Finland), I’m seeing conflicting info on whether a lethal traffic accident related to drunk/negligent driving would be considered a low level homicide or an aggravating factor (or something to that effect) in drunk/negligent driving. I was thinking a setting where the driver clearly sees a dead (or dying, unconscious) victim and runs away and feels guilty afterwards. It’s getting so complicated I might abandon the idea.

Alan Robertshaw
1 year ago

@ lumipuna

Here we have a coupe of specific offences. ‘causing death by dangerous/careless driving’. There’s historical reasons why it’s not charged as manslaughter. But that’s what you’d be charged with regardless of whether drink was involved. They could/would also charge with ‘driving with excess alcohol’. Those charges would be considered separately, You could be convicted/acquitted in any combination. Being found to be the under the influence at the time of the incident would be an aggravating factor though.

But you raise an interesting issue with the ‘abandoning the victim’ scenario. There’s loads of caselaw on this; and it varies from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. Some places have a positive duty of care (‘Good Samaritan’ laws); most common law jurisdictions don’t.

But here for example, you can acquire a duty of care through your actions. So whilst you could ignore a dying person if you hadn’t caused the accident, it would be a breach of the duty of care if you’d caused the injury and then left. It could get argumentative about whether you’d ’caused’ the accident. For example, would you be obliged to assist someone who jumped in front of your car? Actually, yes. Because it’s an offence not to report an accident where someone is injured “as soon as is practicable” (and in any event within 24 hours)

So there is a lot to explore there narratively.

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