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'smart alec'....a composition...

The phrase "smart alec" arose from the exploits of Alec Hoag.
A celebrated pimp, thief, and confidence man,
Hoag, his wife Melinda, and accomplice "French Jack",
operated various con games in New York City in the 1840s.
Most was done by pickpocketing,
with Melinda taking the victim's pocketbook,
while the victim was otherwise engaged,
surreptitiously handing it to Hoag or French Jack.
The key to this activity was that they did so,
in close association with two police officers,
who shared the loot and provided protection.
In the "panel game" trick,
Melinda would make her victim lay his clothes
upon a chair near a secret panel.
She would then take him to her arms
and closely draw the curtains of the bed.
With the dupe not likely to heed outside noises,
she would cough, and Alec would slily enter,
rifle the pockets of every farthing or valuable thing,
then disappear as mysteriously as he entered.
The victim was persuaded to hurrily leave through a window,
when Alec banging on the door, posed as an aggrieved husband.
Hoag used this trick to avoid paying off the police.
When he was caught, the cops were in no mood to aid him.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Posted: Jul 2010
About this poem:
A "smart alec" is a person regarded as obnoxiously self-assertive and impudent. Various sources suggest that Alec Hoag was given the sobriquet of "smart Alec" by the police for being a resourceful thief who outsmarted himself by trying to avoid paying graft.

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Comments (12)

Enjoyed this read smarty pants!!!! No honestly I didteddybear
Sounds like a real wise arse... grin Thanks for the education hedi!
Yep! a good cleaver write Hedi..thumbs up

I enjoyed this one, thank you. angel
Ah....What a clever write......Thankyou
hedistuffonline today!
Lyn called me a smart I dug a little to find what she thought of me...
Happygolucky4uonline today!
Very interesting stuff. I have been called a few names I had to look up before too. laugh
This has really been an interesting read Hedi, thanks for sharing,all we knew when somebody used this expression "Smart Alec,"that it was for someone oversmart and tricky.Here you have given us an insight to the true meaning.thumbs up handshake
you are such a smart arse..grin
is that the same as a smart alec?
laugh laugh thumbs up
nice write...
Hi, hedistuff,
It's always a pleasure to learn the origin of a familiar colloquialism. Thanks for the enlightenment. Now, what payment were you trying to avoid!
but Melinda said we'd run away together and live happily?!? 8itch!
What a great idea Melinda had, what a wonderful tale, a little like Oliver Twist, only better. Fancy her calling you that though and you being of such verisimilitude and all.comfort
hedistuffonline today!
alright caroljoyce, it's been almost a year....I can't take it anymore! what the hell does verisimilitude mean?
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