What link this has to other hanging-chad thoughts in my head is not entirely clear. It's in the same head. Maybe that's my excuse:
Those chads include:
1. I wonder what would happen if what happened in the second grade were fast forwarded to today. Back then, it was an occasional bit of tom-foolery for one student to put a literal thumb tack on another student's chair; for the victim to be victimized (ouch!); and for life to move on without a backward glance.
2. My left index finger has an x-worth of three scars on the outermost phalanges. The scars bear witness to the fact that in the fourth-grade, the boarding school I was at did not frown on kids carrying knives. By knives, I mean sheath knives. I mean that over time more than one of the knives I owned reached from my belt line to the raw hide tie just above my right knee. I mean a knife ... not some dinky pen knife. I carried more than one such sheath knife as the years passed -- a real knife. I carried it not least because bales of hay needed to be cut open during barn chores. Or maybe mumbletypeg. Or throwing it at a tree. But there were accidents and often I was the victim of my own accidents ... and hence the X of scars today. One of those scars, I believe but don't know, cut into a tendon. A slight lump remains together with the scars.
That, like the tack on a seat, was the price of doing business ... the price of being alive. No one ever threatened anyone else with a knife that I knew of and I think every student would have been surprised if such an event occurred. Today, of course, we need to mull and discuss and make life safer for little Johnny or Sally. Oh yes -- girls carried sheath knives as well if they wanted to. No one blinked or looked askance. It was just the lay of the land. Accidents happen -- hell, life happens.
Just mumbling and muttering and hanging the chads of no particular connection.