The Night Thread’s Postilion Has Been Struck By Lightning (Sunday Feb. 19)

“My postilion has been struck by lightning,” or a variation thereon, is a sentence often used as an example of the kind of bizarre and useless phrases that come up when you’re learning a foreign language. It was a nineteenth- and twentieth-century meme, with Wikipedia citing people from a reader of Punch to James Thurber to Dick Bogarde as having claimed that either they or someone they knew personally encountered this sentence in a book. Others wrongly attributed it to a specific source, like the infamous English As She Is Spoke or the 1847 Handbook of Travel-Talk (which, Wikipedia points out, does have a section on travel accidents where an injury befalls a postilion amid thunder and lightning — a solid contender for the original basis of the legend).

A postilion, if you’re wondering, was someone who rode one of the horses drawing a carriage in order to guide the team, as opposed to driving from the carriage itself. Honestly sounds like a pretty goddamn thankless job whether they should happen to incur the wrath of God or not. Remember: