2377. Decipherable runes

It had been more than two hundred years since the ancient stone with hieroglyphics had been found in a potato field several miles north of Scotland’s Glasgow. No one had been able to decipher the writing; clearly there were some sort of engraved runes, but it was totally different from any known written communication. In fact, it was so different that some had seriously postulated that the runic rock had been left behind by visiting aliens from another planet.

Certainly, according to rockologists who knew these things, the writing was at least three thousand years old. What ancient peoples had left behind such an artefact? And what was the statement of wisdom enshrined upon the boulder?

The late Professor Tristram Hinckenberg had devoted his entire intellectual life to the untangling of the runic mystery. All to no avail, although he had published several books on the matter. His place was taken in the investigation by a rising linguistic star, Professor Sally Brown. She was having little luck. And then a miracle happened!

Another stone was found not far from where the original had been discovered. On it (not unlike the famous Rosetta Stone) was an edict in Ancient Greek as well as what was presumed to be the same edict in the runic characters. This was a godsend to Professor Sally Brown. She was able to decipher the words. It read:

WET PAINT

27 thoughts on “2377. Decipherable runes

    1. Bruce Goodman Post author

      I figured that you were a professional decorator and used the stone quite often. Which reminds me: Years ago at a school I taught at I painted an old park bench a beautiful green! I went inside to get a piece of cardboard with WET PAINT on it, and when I came back a woman was sitting on the bench – IN A FUR COAT! I disappeared.

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                1. Bruce Goodman Post author

                  Thank you – I didn’t get very far ahead during the week’s break. The farmer has had his cows in the paddock next to the house and I have been collecting manure for the garden. It should have aged adequately by the end of autumn. So I have been busy with that. You never know with the price of things what vegies will cost in the coming future!

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  1. umashankar

    Wasting of a lifetime on such a routine message is a nothing less than tragic waste. Be that as it may, United Nations should adopt the signage for instant universal recognition of the warning.

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      1. Jim Borden

        I was happy when I got it, but I know what you mean. It seems many schools are reducing the number of tenure track positions, and as people retire, they are replaced with non-tenured faculty. It’s cheaper, and could possibly raise the quality of teaching…

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        1. Bruce Goodman Post author

          Yes – I didn’t realize you were tenured so didn’t mean to be offensive! Tenure-ness is not a practice I’m used to. But looking at the US News at times there seem to be an awful lot of self-opinionated tenured professors who I wouldn’t pay a penny to teach any of my kids! In fact I’d pay them to stay away – which might be what “tenured” means!

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          1. Jim Borden

            I didn’t take offense. 🙂

            I know there are pros and cons to tenure, and it may well be that the cons outweigh the pros…

            I guess it’s a bit similar to our Supreme Court Justices – it’s a job for life…

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