Thursday, May 31, 2012

Making It Up

I am a terrible researcher. Everything distracts me. I end up copying out passages because I like the way they sound or because they make me laugh, or because I have forgotten the question.

Today at Robarts, I am supposed to be finding very specific answers, like, if you had 61 cases of unopened whiskey in your basement in Sault Ste. Marie in 1921, could you be arrested under the Ontario Temperance Act, yes or no?

Instead, I am reading Stephen Leacock's responses to Prohibition: "As silly and as futile as if you passed a law to send a man to jail for eating cucumber salad."

Or Stephen Leacock on how to get liquor in Ontario, when alcohol could be legally obtained only with a doctor's prescription: "It is necessary to go to a drugstore...and lean up against the counter and make a gurgling sigh like apoplexy. One often sees these apoplexy cases lined up four deep."

Plus, I have questions for which answers cannot be found at Robarts (or at least, not found by me), such as, if your basement door is padlocked and you have lost the key, could you open the door by removing the bolts from the hinges?

It's terrifying, making things up. There are so many ways things can be wrong.

Re: 61 cases of unopened whiskey during Prohibition in Ontario. After April 1921, you couldn't carry it, transport it, deliver it, receive it, sell it, or import it into Ontario. But if you had a "cellar supply" already? The law had many holes. Legislators kept trying and failing to plug them up. So could you be arrested, yes or no? Probably not, but maybe.

Cucumber salad. Hee hee.

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