Thursday, February 07, 2008


SHERIFF, n. In America the chief executive office of a county, whose most characteristic duties, in some of the Western and Southern States, are the catching and hanging of rogues.

John Elmer Pettibone Cajee
(I write of him with little glee)
Was just as bad as he could be.

'Twas frequently remarked: "I swon!
The sun has never looked upon
So bad a man as Neighbor John."

A sinner through and through, he had
This added fault: it made him mad
To know another man was bad.

In such a case he thought it right
To rise at any hour of night
And quench that wicked person's light.

Despite the town's entreaties, he
Would hale him to the nearest tree
And leave him swinging wide and free.

Or sometimes, if the humor came,
A luckless wight's reluctant frame
Was given to the cheerful flame.

While it was turning nice and brown,
All unconcerned John met the frown
Of that austere and righteous town.

"How sad," his neighbors said, "that he
So scornful of the law should be —
An anar c, h, i, s, t."

(That is the way that they preferred
To utter the abhorrent word,
So strong the aversion that it stirred.)

"Resolved," they said, continuing,
"That Badman John must cease this thing
Of having his unlawful fling.

"Now, by these sacred relics" — here
Each man had out a souvenir
Got at a lynching yesteryear —

"By these we swear he shall forsake
His ways, nor cause our hearts to ache
By sins of rope and torch and stake.

"We'll tie his red right hand until
He'll have small freedom to fulfil
The mandates of his lawless will."

So, in convention then and there,
They named him Sheriff. The affair
Was opened, it is said, with prayer.
—J. Milton Sloluck

2008 Update:  The county official charged with keeping the peace and supplied with a fast car accompanied by shrill siren, bright colored lights and filled with electrical, chemical, ballistic and blunt weapons for the purpose.


TLP said...

I shot him. So you have to pick another word.

Minka said...

Bummer, TLP not only took first place but also my comment. Shoot it all!

Jamie Dawn said...

"I shot the Sheriff," was my first thought as well.

That poem is great! If you had written that, I would be penning your praises.

Another thing that comes to mind with this word is the Andy Griffith Show which leads my mind to Don Knots whom I adore... rest his soul.
Oh, and now this brings to mind the movie The Waitress where Andy Griffith plays an old curmudgeon. Great flick, and he's really good in it.

Courtney is shooting a movie (commercial kind of thingy) for her church here today, so it's a busy day around the homestead. She is the Sheriff of the movie set!

Doug, you have my permission to wear a Sheriff's star pinned to your chest today if you want to strut and act all peacocky.

I've said enough now.

Anonymous said...

James Arness. "Be out of Dodge by sundown or ...."

Anonymous said...

SHERIFF, n. Her guitar solo.

Only in America. The chief executive officer of every other jurisdiction (town, city, state, nation) is a suit. How the CEO of a county gets to be a Smokey ripoff, I'll never know.

Anonymous said...

Yet another who immediately thought of saying "I shot the sheriff."


Unknown said...

a guy with star quality. let me also confirm that i did not shoot the deputy

mzbod: amazing body

mireille said...

Who is this J. Milton Sloluck? So many of the poets you cite have these unusual names. Hm. xoxo

Jim said...

Sheriff: Bob Marley lyrics (also sung by Eric Clapton):

"(I shot the sheriff
But I didnt shoot no deputy, oh no! oh!
I shot the sheriff
But I didnt shoot no deputy, ooh, ooh, oo-ooh.)
Yeah! all around in my home town,
Theyre tryin to track me down;
They say they want to bring me in guilty
For the killing of a deputy,
For the life of a deputy."

Guess your target is narrow today, Doug. A bunch of us are in on the sheriff shooting.
There would be more except there is such a thing as copy cat(s).

Anonymous said...

Sheriff: going to be a superdelegate at the conventions--have no idea but TLP had to be first and take the best comment--or the one I love

G said...

The sherrif is riddled with bullets and not a definition in sight.

It is one of my favorite retorts to my kids' reasoning attempts - "yeah, well there's a new sherrif in town." Never mind that it's always the same old sherrif, who incidentally is not shot.

It would be interesting to see how many people immediately thought of Bob and how many thought of Clapton when they played they lyrics in their head.

Okay, this may be my longest comment ever - I miss TheSnark. :(

Anonymous said...

That claim doesn't hold water, Karma. You shot the sheriff, not the deputy, you say. However, when the sheriff departs from office, the deputy becomes the new sheriff. And you shot the sheriff ...

Wonder if anyone ever pointed that out to Marley. Maybe not. He was known to have certain of his detractors rubbed out ...

TLP said...

Well, I say the new word of the day is POSSE.

Now, that's a fun word folks.

The Old Mule said...

sheriff: the arbiter of the fall.

tsduff said...

I liked Sheriff John.
What a great poem.

mireille said...

POSSE hahahahahahahaha, TLP! xoxo

Cooper said...

In this county it would be preferable to shoot all the deputies. Believe me.

My favorite sheriff.

TLP said...

You've taken a real job, haven't you?

mireille said...

My bet is on a woman. I can't wait to meet her. Heh. xoxo

Doug The Una said...

TLP, it's only a flesh wound.

Minka, I think we're all thankful penguin wings are so ill-suited for trigger-pulling.

I completely agree, J.D. That was tempting to plagiarize. Get thee behind me!

Quilly, #1 tv sheriff ever. Absolutely.

Amoeba, not to fear. From my perspective CEOs tend to be slow-witted, slow-moving, slow-talking slaves who understand their place on the porch. At least where I work.

Jenn, don't point that at people.

As to the deputy, no comment, K?

Mireille, you'd almost think they were made up, wouldn't you?

Jim, I know. I like both versions of that song, although Clapton immitates Americans better than Jamaicans. I was a little kid when that song came out and thought it was about the weirdest thing ever. Cool, though. I mean, there was shooting and everything.

Pia, that was a great comment. In your case I'm glad TLP took your first thought.

Apparently, G. Are you still going to do Saturday Spins somewhere? I know of non-bloggers who follow your Spins to find good music.

I vote to convict, Amoeba! Well pled!

TLP, I'm a-huntin' you.

Ariel, you're only white because you're undead.

Mule, thank you for bringing scripture here today.

Terry, I'll give that a listen.

Mireille, I don't get it.

Cooper, which is Baltimore's County? In many, if you shoot the deputy, you hit the sheriff.

Long days, lately, TLP.

Doug The Una said...

Mireille, my mother's in town. Ordinarily you can meet her by driving 2.5 hours south.

mireille said...

Told you I was psychic. xoxo

BillyWarhol said...

Stagger Lee


Doug The Una said...

It's like magic, Mireille.

Cherie, which ID did you give him?

Could be, Billy, on a rainy morning. Welcome.