Dead-Lines

The word "deadline" has quite a chilling (down the spine chilling) meaning: according to the Word Dectective: During the American Civil War, the guards at the notoriously brutal Confederate military prison at Andersonville drew a line on the ground around the perimeter of the compound, a uniform seventeen feet inside the prison walls. Any prisoner crossing over that line was presumed to be trying to reach the wall in order to escape, and was summarily shot. This boundary was known succinctly as "the dead line." The first appearance in print of this original sense of "deadline" came in the Congressional Record in 1864.

I am at my desk on a dead-line for our board. It is 6 AM. I love deadlines and I am even happy because there is nothing better than a gun to ones head: it just focuses you. Off I go then.

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