Now that we have all the recent political babble out of the way, we can get down to more serious concerns. We all should be aware that one of the oldest and most revered lighthouses on the Atlantic coast is not the Portland Headlight, but the Portland Head Light. Note the space between “Head” and “Light.”
Portland Head existed long before there were headlights on anything. The coaches and carriages of the 1600s had “sidelights” and not headlights for the obvious reason that the horse was in the way. The rocky mass upon which the Light now stands was at the “head of the bay,” even when there wasn’t a light.
We hear it all the time and not just from tourists. Our news and weather talking heads blat out “headlight,” although they should know better, and there are many Web sites that advertise T-shirts, artwork and calendars depicting the “Portland Headlight.”
I propose that we begin a campaign to rename the light at Portland Head to the “Portland Head Pause Light” and that laws be made to fine any T-shirt huckster, art dealer, interior decorator or broadcast hammerhead that does not fully comply. Once the new name becomes common usage, we can then start a second campaign to drop out the “Pause.” This may take years to correct, but Maine’s coastal heritage is at stake and that’s serious stuff.