Dear Kid,

I woke up in the middle of the night concerned that you are might not know the meaning of the phrase “To hoist with one’s own petard.”

This is bad for several reasons. Waking up in the middle of the night: bad. Being concerned about your kid in the middle of the night: bad. Being awake and concerned for no good reason: very bad.

But awake is awake.

Therefore and ergo, I blog.

To hoist with one’s own petard means “injured by the device that you intended to use to injure others.”

Translation: stepping in the poo you put out for someone else to step in.

A petard is was a small war engine used to blow holes in gates or walls. They were originally metallic and bell-shaped but later were made out of wood. Which seems backwards, but it’s on the internet so it must be true. They were used in the 16th century which no one remembers (no one I know was alive then) and filled with gunpowder so they could go “boom.” Gunpowder continues to be a very effective method for going “boom.”

The only reason anyone remembers petards or thinks about hoisting upon them is because good ol’ Will wrote it down for us in 1602 (Hamlet): “For tis the sport to have the enginer Hoist with his owne petar”. By which we learn (and by “learn” I mean “duh”) that Shakespeare had a big influence on our language and that he was often confused by the letter “e”.

To summarize: If you plot something rotten for someone and it bites you in the proverbial ass, you have been hoisted by your own petard.

Going back to sleep now.

Love, Mom