Anne is seen here playing hopscotch on a new artwork on the sidewalk in front of CNB Bank Park in downtown Maplewood. As the pictured shopping bag attests, we were there doing some Christmas shopping. While this unnamed art isn’t exactly a hopscotch court that didn’t prevent Anne from using her imagination and having some fun with it. It also occasioned her to wonder about the origin of the word hopscotch. Allow me to elucidate or in the vernacular mansplain. The origin of the game itself dates back to iron age India. The English etymology of the word hopscotch is a portmanteau of the words hop and scotch, the latter is used in the sense of an incised line or scratch and not the people of northern Great Britain. While in Scotland the game is known as Peevers, Peeverels and Pabats. The shopping bag you can think of as her lagger, in place of a stone.
We have lived in our house longer than any of its former half dozen owners. Built in 1937, at the height of the depression, it has always held a few oddities from that time. For example, in the basement’s rafters some of the joist’s cross braces were fashioned from the wooden crate that the cast-iron tub was delivered in. The original stenciling that was on the crate is still readable. Pictured is another artifact from that time. Also found in the basement was this 5-mil green plastic Missouri sales tax token. It is about the size of a nickel. With the advent of the depression, income taxes plummeted and along with defaults on property taxes, these combined losses of revenues caused a run on state and local budgets. In order to make good this loss revenue many states implemented a sales tax to shore up their budgets. As originally implemented this sales tax was applied in whole cents to all purchases, no matter how small in monetary value they might be. Shopping in a 5 & 10 could generate numerous small sales that were wildly over taxed. All this in a time of tight money. The tax token was introduced in 1935 to help alleviate this unfairness. Missouri was one of twelve states to use them. Produced in denominations of one-thousands of a dollar the pictured token would be worth 5/1000 of a dollar or half a cent. Tokens could be spent as normal currency. Eventually though this system was viewed as an inconvenience and an annoyance to shoppers and was discontinued with the introduction of bracketed sales taxes that more fairly levied sales taxes. Missouri was the last state to discontinue their use in the late 1940s.
I’ve looked at clouds from both sides now and have come to the conclusion that I will need cheaters soon. Right now, my left eye is farsighted, while my right eye is still nearsighted. At times this is a little disorienting, but mostly it is the best of both worlds. I can see at distance better than I ever could and I can still stick my nose in my iPhone and read the tiniest of print. Somehow my mind is able to automatically choose the correct eye to see through. At one point prior to this week’s surgery, I had even suggested this scenario as an endgame, but my doctor only scoffed at that idea. I think that the main disadvantage of this outcome is that I would effectively be giving up on my binocular vision, with its corresponding sense of depth perception for a mismatched pair of monocular visions. I think that in the end readers would be the more acceptable choice.
Omicron has arrived in Saint Louis. Yesterday, the area’s first case was reported in the City of Saint Louis. Vaccines don’t fail me now! I knew that this variant would eventually arrive here, but had not expected it so soon. On the bright side of this dark cloud, yesterday also recorded the largest number of shots given in a single day, ever. The pharmacies are overwhelmed by the demand. There is no minute like the last minute, better late than never.