Petrifaction: 1) when someone is frightened out of their wits, hair standing on end, goose bumps approaching the size of hummingbird eggs, saucers as big as eyes 2) The “PetriFaction” is a politically motivated anarchistic coterie whose sole purpose is to create such unreasonable and unknowable terror as to paralyze any and all governmental bodies.
Fearless Ferd was a professional wrestler acclaimed for his unruly yard-long mop of hair and his uncanny ability to win every wrestling match that came his way, from sumo wrestlers to mountain gorillas to the arithmetical problem puzzling the professor down the street since 1972. So fearless and courageous was Ferd that he had never known a moment of petrifaction in his life, except perhaps once when he found himself surprisingly vulnerable to post nasal drip (he much preferred “pre”). Thankfully, the pontificatory press and his fervent, though as it turned out, fair-weather, fans never got wind of this tragic failing, and as he grew more and more powerful, he found himself increasingly interested in politics. One day (fortunately during an election year), he decided to run for governor of Minnetonka under the aegis of the “Ferdelance Party,” named, not as it was commonly supposed, after Ferd himself, but after his pet venomous viper, Ferdelance, whom he nominated as his running mate (allowed under an extremely obscure Minnetonkan law created as a sub-attachment to a bill passed in 1857).
Little did Ferd know that moments after his initial speechifying, his very own political machine became infiltrated by powerful members of the notorious PetriFaction, a group so nefarious, so unencumbered by charity and good will, so egregiously vocabulary-challenged, that no one had ever actually heard of them. Through highly negative campaign tactics, which included fear-mongering, gossip-mongering, fishmongering, and costermongering, as well as subliminal advertising and sublime televangelizing, the PetriFaction created such a paralytic state-wide gridlock that Ferd cruised to an amazing 96.2% election tally. However, when the dust settled and the graft graphed, it was the vituperative viper, Ferdelance, who actually became governor. The sneaky snake’s first step was to appoint Formerly Fearless Ferd as Chief Visionary Director of Cleaning out Cages (CVDCC) at the Minnetonkan Herpetarium, a lost soul, forever paralyzed by his new-found petrifaction. His only solace, as he darted in and out of cages, valiantly avoiding reptilian zeal, was a lonely late night hotdog slathered with mustard and grape jelly and then turned inside out with the bun tucked tidily within.
Actual meaning of petrifaction: A process of fossilization or petrifying, turning organic material into stone.