Three different readers have e-mailed in to thank me for using the word
“proud” to describe a fixture that sticks out more than it ought. I
actually picked up this usage while working on construction sites in England
as a college student. I agree that it is a delightful one. Given that it
was from ordinary craftsmen that I picked it up — stonemasons seem
especially fond of it — I would guess the usage is as old as the word.
There are a number of usages like this that make the word-loving reader
smile. Another favorite of mine is the verb “to calve,” when used of
glaciers meeting the sea.