Epilogus (e-pi-lo’-gus): Providing an inference of what is likely to follow.

I was driving us from Topeka to Moobell, Kansas—about 400 miles. Our oldest son was graduating from the abattoir school located there. Their motto is “You’ll Make the Cut” and it really helped our son develop a positive attitude toward his studies. We couldn’t wait for him to flop a pile of steaks and sweetbreads on the kitchen counter. Medium rare please! Thickly breaded please!

There was so much going on in car that I was completely distracted. I was trying to finish my second beer and stay under 80 at the same time. No mean feat. The twins were bickering about whose feet were bigger and what was better: to die by chainsaw or by car wreck. They both decided car wreck was the way to go: a lesser degree of terror and waiting for the chainsaw to do its thing, after being taunted by its insane wielder. Mary, our only daughter, was sitting alongside the twins and I could see her in the rearview mirror mouthing “bullshit” and giving her brothers the finger. I turned around to tell the twins to shut up, and a Buffalo stepped out in front of the car.

My beer can crumpled in my hand and the car flipped over. Luckily we were all belted in and we were hanging upside down with no injuries. Also, I was able to reach my phone in my pants and call 911. The highway patrol cut us out of our seatbelts and asked me what the open beer can in my hand was about. I told them I had a weak bladder and I needed it to pee in.

Our car was towed to a local body shop where the insurance adjuster would check it out. They had no rental cars available, so we rented the tow truck and continued on. We made it in time to the graduation. The key speaker was Olaf Meyer, the great grandson of Oscar Meyer, the king of weenies! The speech was “There’s a Cut for Everybody,” a typical left-wing speech about gustatory diversity. We sat through it and drove the tow truck back to the body shop. They had a mini-van available. We all hopped aboard and headed home. Our car had been judged to be a total loss. Soon, we’d have a new car purchased with the insurance money.

Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (rhetoric.byu.edu).

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Epimone (e-pi’-mo-nee): Persistent repetition of the same plea in much the same words.

This is a one-time opportunity. You only have one nose. I know you’ve never liked it. You’ve done so much nasal self-disparagement that you could write a book of nose insults that would be a best seller. My favorite is “My nose looks like a hard-boiled egg with bristles sticking out of it.” It comes close to “My nose looks like lacquered tapioca” or “My nose looks like a buzzard beak.”

So, you’re going to get a nose job and have it sculpted into some kind of Greek goddess shape. It is probably going to hurt and be bandaged for a week or two.

Remember, your nose nose knows what’s good for it. As you’re recovering, listen to your nose. Monitor it carefully. Put the eagle eye on it! Whatever you do while you’re recovering, don’t be nosy. Keep your nose out of other peoples’ business. Don’t go sniffing around for trouble. Just use your nose to breathe—that’s what it’s for. Don’t worry, your surgery will be “on the nose.” Your doctor knows what she’s doing.

Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (rhetoric.byu.edu)

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Epiplexis (e-pi-plex’-is): Asking questions in order to chide, to express grief, or to inveigh. A kind of rhetorical question [–the speaker does not expect an answer].

Why? Why? Why? Why did I let her read that book : “Lots of People, Lots of Places?” A tasteless tome about people living off the land, wandering around America like homeless souls and meeting people from all walks of life—used car dealers, farmers, plastic surgeons, carpenters, day care providers, professors, crooks, butchers, prophets, bartenders. What the hell is the point of that? Home, home on the range is where I want to be. But, my daughter has been influenced by the book, She’s gone. She calls me now and then to share her latest meeting. Last week, it was a goat herder from Canada. Before that, a monk. Next, she tells me she’s going to meet an Uber driver. What the hell? What will I do? Why did I let her read that book? How is this going to end up?

Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (rhetoric.byu.edu). Bracketed text added by Gorgias.

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Epistrophe (e-pis’-tro-fee): Ending a series of lines, phrases, clauses, or sentences with the same word or words.

Once upon a time, there was the same old shopworn morality tale—a mouse pulling a thorn from a lion’s paw, Scrooge is turned around, the little engine huffed and puffed and made it up the hill, the three little pigs built a brick home that prevailed against the blowhard wolf who was in the habit of “huffing and puffing” and blowing down pig houses made of straw or other flimsy materials, and eating the hapless residents.

These stories have morals displaying hierarchies of “the true, the good, and the beautiful.” They’re supposed teach us something about being good. But some of us do not live in accord with the moral frameworks of fables and fairy tales. We make our own way.

I go through life sailing on a sea of lies, never once regretting my course, changing it by dint of my will, by what I want—what I need. I’ve been dodging the truth this way ever since I can remember.

Evasion and escape is what I am—living in the twilight where contours are blurred and certainty is unachievable. Surmounting facts with hope and fear is how I’ve made my way for as long as I can remember.

People facing the future alone are a portal of heightened anxiety: in need of counsel no matter where it takes them, they just need a voice other than their own to fill the blank slate of their consciousness with glowing lights and merry hopes. This is where I come in, decorating lonely minds with false expectations. I’ve been playing this deadly game for as long as I can remember.

All my life, watching my back. Telling lies. Being tricky. Killing trust in those who trusted me and lost their life savings, their husband or wife, custody of their children, their car, their cat, their job. Whatever.

For me, it’s all for me—lying is my medium of exchange. I get what I want by subterfuge. Actually, I’m telling you the God’s honest truth. I am a liar, prevaricator, deceiver, equivocator. Trust me and you’ll throw your life away. Now, before I go, I need your father’s coin collection. I built a display case for his collection, for his birthday. I want to put the coins in it and give it to him as my gift. Trust me.

Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (rhetoric.byu.edu).

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Epitasis (e-pit’-a-sis): The addition of a concluding sentence that merely emphasizes what has already been stated. A kind of amplification. [The opposite of anesis.]

There is too much worrying. What’s the point. Worry. Worry. Worry. Worry about bills. Worry about job. Worry about worrying like I’m doing right now. Worry is about what’s possible—what the future holds. We can’t know the future. For most things, we worry in vain. But the future is still there—like an unused ticket or an invitation to a mild coma.

There’s nothing we can do to eliminate worry, we just have to distinguish between good and bad worry. Good worry yields good plans. Bad worry yields irritability. pacing up and down, panic, and loony plans. In fact, bad worry can yield bizarre plans and plans that are not anchored in realty at all. Remember Mr. Newlung? He must be related to Chicken Little. Remember when he came running out his front door in his underwear yelling “What will I wipe with?” He panicked over the toilet paper shortage of 2020, believing that toilet paper was going to be in permanent short supply. Toilet paper made a comeback, but now he’s worried by the baby formula and sunscreen shortages. Mr Newlung needs to give the shortages a wider berth, and not see them as permanent. There’s the problem: the particulars of the future do not exist. So, our speculation about it is all we’ve got—we just don’t know—the future is all in the imagination. All we can say, is that some speculation is better than other speculation. Mr. Newlung’s underpants sprint was not prompted by good speculation.

So we worry too much and we’re doomed to worry as long as we can imagine a future—something that’s unknowable that affects us. The Chinese seer Lao Tzu tells us “Worry is hope in pain.” What we need is good worry. It will help alleviate human suffering by narrowing the gap between what is and what will be.

Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (rhetoric.byu.edu). Bracketed text added by Gorgias.

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Epitheton (e-pith’-e-ton): Attributing to a person or thing a quality or description-sometimes by the simple addition of a descriptive adjective; sometimes through a descriptive or metaphorical apposition. (Note: If the description is given in place of the name, instead of in addition to it, it becomes antonomasia or periphrasis.)

There was no mistaking his footprint. His foot was a foot and it left a perfect trace in my garden’s soft soil. There was no mistaking it. Given his weight, “Neighborhood Fats” left a print twice as deep as me. It was clear he was stalking my domesticated asparagus, which he commented on the day before, with a trace of drool rolling off his lip. I was going to catch him and make him pay.

I settled into my garden vigil that night, hoping to nail him. I was dozing off around 11 when I was startled by a grunting sound. It was him! Dressed all in black, he looked like a giant bowling ball or a Kool-aid pitcher filled with 50 gallons of India ink. He was grunting because he was pulling a tarp—pulling it toward my newly sprouted rhubarb! Not only was he dressed in black, but he was wearing one of those ski mask things to conceal his pocked face and giant bushy eyebrows that looked like black bottle brushes when they were uncovered. I picked up a tomato cage. I was going to stab him in the eye with its wire tines. Just as I was about to make him eligible for a seeing-eye dog, I realized he was planting something in my garden. After seeing what he was up to, I couldn’t harm him. I let him wander off, pulling his big green tarp behind him.

The next morning I checked to see what he had planted in my garden. It was 6 pot plants! We’re only allowed three in my state. He was setting me up. I pulled all but three plants. The police came because they had a complaint that there was an illegal pot farm in my back yard. They checked and found nothing illegal and left.

I bought 6 ounces of cocaine and put it under the driver’s side seat of my neighbor’s never-locked van. Then, I called the police. He was wearing his garden marauding suit when the police dragged him in handcuffs out his front door to their waiting patrol car. I yelled: “There is no gardening without humility. Reap what you sow, dickhead!”

Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (rhetoric.byu.edu).

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Epitrope (e-pi’-tro-pe): A figure in which one turns things over to one’s hearers, either pathetically, ironically, or in such a way as to suggest a proof of something without having to state it. Epitrope often takes the form of granting permission (hence its Latin name, permissio), submitting something for consideration, or simply referring to the abilities of the audience to supply the meaning that the speaker passes over (hence Puttenham’s term, figure of reference). Epitrope can be either biting in its irony, or flattering in its deference.

There’s nothing like a smug bunch of losers to tell me how turn this business around—my wife, her father, my father—trying to tell me what to do. I’d listen to a licensed clown before I’d listen to them. We’ve been selling fishing lures since the beginning of time. Some say the serpent in the Garden of Eden used a fishing lure, not an apple, to tempt Eve away from God. That’s why we have a lure named “Eve’s Temptation.” But that’s beside the point right now. We need to save the business, save your jobs, and save my daughter’s college tuition payments. I know you have some good ideas for expanding the business, so we can sell more product. I see you nodding your heads. Why don’t you appoint a leader, come up with an expansion plan, and present it to me. I have always listened to your voices, and this is no different.

Fishing drones might be a good idea. Can you imagine pulling a whopper out of the water and flying it back to wherever you are? Let’s see what you can do! It’s in your hands. Don’t let it slip through you fingers and flop around on the floor! I look forward to seeing what you come up with.

Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (rhetoric.byu.edu).

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Epizeugma (ep-i-zoog’-ma): Placing the verb that holds together the entire sentence (made up of multiple parts that depend upon that verb) either at the very beginning or the very ending of that sentence.

Driving to the liquor store, the dry cleaners, and the OTB—a big adventure all in one day. I got my favorite cheap vodka— Belarus Ballerina. I got my purple cashmere sweater back, Stain gone! I’ve got to stop eating with my Grandma’s wedding spoon. She left it to me in her will. It’s too wide for my mouth and I keep leaking what I should be eating. I think I may have it ground down on the sides. Then there’s the OTB parlor. I lost $1400 on two races. I am mad about that— the two horses were both long shots. One was 40-1, the other was 60-1. I could’ve been a millionaire! But I’m not. With odds that high, they shouldn’t let those horses race. Anyway, I’ve always been a sucker for the long shots. The best is proposing to my wife. I figured the odds were 100-1 she’s say yes. I was right. I had to get her father to make her marry me. Then there was the office pool on the sex of my daughter. I put my money on indeterminate.

I’m going to stop betting. What are the odds?

Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (rhetoric.byu.edu).

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Epizeuxis: Repetition of the same word, with none between, for vehemence. Synonym for palilogia.

Help, Help, Help!

That’s what they yell when they want a handout, something for nothing, or some kind of charity. They’re not drowning. They’re not injured. They’re not trapped. They’re not starving. They shouldn’t be yelling “help” just because they’re hungry, or they need to have a tooth pulled, or they’re living under a tablecloth in the woods. It’s like yelling “fire” in a crowded Best Buy when there’s no fire.

But, they are trying to con you out of your hard-earned cash. Under the precepts of Social Darwinism, which we should all adhere to, “If there’s a drunk in the gutter, leave him there, that’s where he belongs.” The same goes for all the unwanted children coming down the pike, riding in buses from The Supreme Court. Pro-life initiatives put those buses on the road where they belong. If you see what might be a pregnant woman sitting in a bus station crying, clutching her belly, and softly asking “Why, why, why?” Tell her that murder is illegal and she better follow the law. Anyway, it’s a long bus-ride from Texas to Illinois.

In sum, we live in a world of shit. I am unmoved by other’s suffering. I ask myself every day: why doesn’t living by my moral precepts make me happy? Why don’t I have children? Why don’t I have friends? Why am I estranged from my family? Why does nearly everyone I talk to call me an asshole?

Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (rhetoric.byu.edu).

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Erotema (e-ro-tem’-a): The rhetorical question. To affirm or deny a point strongly by asking it as a question. Generally, as Melanchthon has noted, the rhetorical question includes an emotional dimension, expressing wonder, indignation, sarcasm, etc.

I can’t believe we haven’t decided where to go for vacation yet. What is wrong with Piney Butte? Why is Piney Butte so far out of the question? People forget. We haven’t there for ten years. What’s a little embarrassment compared to the fun we can have there—hiking, swimming and boating in the lake, and building a bonfire the appropriate distance from our cabin. I never could’ve predicted what would happen that night. Do you think history repeats itself? Do you think we’re doomed to burn our cabin to the ground again? Ha! No way! Why don’t you take a deep breath and think about it. What are the odds? Probably a million to one.

Raise your hand if you want to go to Piney Butte. Ok, Good. Let’s start packing and I’ll book us a cabin right by the lake. I’ve got to go the gas station first and fill my gas can. We’ll need something to get the bonfire started. I can’t wait.

Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (rhetoric.byu.edu).

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Eucharistia (eu-cha-ris’-ti-a): Giving thanks for a benefit received, sometimes adding one’s inability to repay.

Thank-you so much for the comb.

Hair is a many-splendored thing. If you wash it, it shines and smells good. You can curl it so it bounces and shimmers. That brings us to combing the hair. Ever since I used my comb last June in Panama to fight off a man who invaded my hotel room in the middle of the night, I’ve been without a comb. I stabbed him in the stomach with it and he ran out the door, leaving a blood trail to the fire stairs.

It was a beautiful tortoise shell comb, with a special pointed handle. It goes easily through airport security and nobody’s ever the wiser.

This comb you’ve given me today is beautifully crafted and beautifully functional. The built-in GPS is a stroke of genius as are the tear gas dispenser and hand sanitizer. It is more than a replacement. It is a new horizon of self-defense and good grooming. I am sure it will save my life someday—maybe in a hotel room in Panama. Ha ha.

When your birthday comes, I‘m going to have a hard time measuring up. The electric hard-boiled egg peeler I gave you last year is a tough act to follow—we’ve been eating hard boiled eggs every day for the past year. I’m thinking of a tattoo gift certificate for you this year. Maybe you could get that ugly rat bastard Kelly’s face on your butt. I’m pretty sure he’ll get to look at it whenever he wants. What do you think?

Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (rhetoric.byu.edu).

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Euche (yoo’-kay): A vow to keep a promise.

This is our anniversary. This is a time to eat cake, exchange gifts and cards, and make promises for the coming year. Promises must be kept or the world we trust will turn into a world of duplicity, uncertainty, and shame. Remember the time I lied to you about having an affair with the check-out lady at Hannaford? That was almost the end. But, I bought you the Maserati you always wanted, and all was forgotten. Or, what about the time I denied being naked in our pool with our neighbor’s wife? You had video, so I was caught—caught with our neighbor and caught in a giant whopper. But luckily, I paid for your anger and threats with the 70” plasma TV that you had wanted for years.

Now, today, on our anniversary, I have kept my promise of “no fooling around” for the past year, since our last anniversary. I vow to keep that promise forever. I am not perfect, but I’m not a total loss either. I no longer even have a desire to fool around. Fooling around isn’t even something I think about. I don’t even think about all those women on the Internet who’re looking for a one night stand, who live nearby and I could hook up with, and have a booze-fueled wild night of high quality bonking. That’s something that doesn’t interest me at all.

Hey! How did you get into my cellphone? Oh, it’s my password, my first name. not the strongest password in the world, ha ha. Let me explain. I lost my phone for a week and when I found it, it had been loaded with explicit videos and text messages from somebody named Janine. A pretty rude thing for her to do! I am waiting to hear from her again so I can tell her to leave me alone. I promise.

Hey! Where are you going? What? Mr Taylor? Bobby’s teacher? My God! He’s 10 years younger than you and works out at the school gym. After all the promises I’ve made, I feel betrayed. I would have kept the promises if I had known this was going to happen. I promise.

Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (rhetoric.byu.edu).

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Eulogia (eu-lo’-gi-a): Pronouncing a blessing for the goodness in a person.

There was Larry. There was Moe. There was Curly. The Three Stooges: not one, not four, but three. A perfect number for interpersonal chaos, disagreement, and bullying. But you, your wife, and daughter—the three of you—have risen above your numeric fate. You have developed ways of being together that thwart your triplehood’s miserable prospects. There is not chaos. Your family runs like a tour bus with you at the wheel. If anybody disagrees with your direction, you banish them to the root cellar for three days, where they’re allowed to have a book, a bucket, a tomato, and three feet of toilet paper. Bullying never rears its ugly head. Teasing not a form of bullying. It is what is called “constructive criticism” and it is intended to provide the subject with insight into their flaws, as a foundation for correction and improvement. Your daughter has developed the virtue of shyness from your teasing. Every time you tell her she’s fat, or she smells like a wet dog, you are propelling her toward a trouble-free future. These taunts will keep her out of trouble and relationships too—“dangerous liaisons” culminating in heartbreak, pregnancy, and death.

So we laud you for managing your family’s triple whammy responsibilities with conscious choices that project a quality of morality and it’s application. We know that morality is not a bulldozer that clears life’s road ahead of us in the same way for everybody. In war killing fellow human beings is permitted, even applauded. As Aristotle (or maybe Plato) wrote, people do what they do because they think it’s good. So, clearly you’re doing what you’re doing because you think it’s good, and that’s good. It’s all good. Here’s your trophy and a check for $5000.00 from the de Sade Foundation.

Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (rhetoric.byu.edu).

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Eustathia (yoos-tay’-thi-a): Promising constancy in purpose and affection.

There’s ice cream. There’s scotch. There’s Porterhouse steak. There’s Cuban cigars. There are the trips to Paris, Istanbul, and Cairo. There is deep sea fishing out of Bimini. There’s more to add to the list, but suffice it to say I truly love these things. But then, there is you. My feelings for you eclipse everything in the world I feel affection for. My love for you is a golden thread that binds me to your soul in a mystic knot of truth and faithfulness, loyalty, and steadfastness. I will never leave you. I will always be true to our marriage vows. In sum, I love you.

But, promises can be broken. There is a sort of jeopardy involved in making them and submitting to them. The future is uncertain. People change and change their minds too. There is an abyss on the other side of promises. Nothing keeps us from tumbling into it but two wills—mine and yours. Trust enables us to bear love’s burden, but that too can become too heavy to bear.

I have to work late tonight. Ms. Jeffries will be assisting me. Trust me, there’s nothing going on between us. She’s smart and a good worker too. Every bachelor in the office wants to date her, even some of the married men. But not me. I got her this expensive tea as a thank-you for what she’s done for me. So, I’ll be home around midnight. Love you! Bye bye.

Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (rhetoric.byu.edu).

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Eutrepismus (eu-tre-pis’-mus): Numbering and ordering the parts under consideration. A figure of division, and of ordering.

Although we only have two legs, there are myriad reasons why we should take up prancing. I will enumerate two.

1. When we prance we channel the energy of a steed. We become swifter, and focused, and more racy.

2. We develop the desire and ability to jump over fences and water hazards: excellent skills for managing urban life. We also develop an appetite for oats. A very healthy breakfast food.

So, you can prance. To prance is to prance. Prance in the mall! A lot of room there and people will usually step aside as you come prancing by. Then, of course, you can prance in the parking lot, weaving in between the cars and pickup trucks, like the show pony you’ve become. Next, you’ll want to prance down a sidewalk, feet rising and falling, body swaying like a quarter horse crossing the finish line. You will jump gigantic puddles as if they were somebody’s spilled beverage.

Last but not least, to complete your prancification you will never say “no” again. Showing your prancer pride, you will say “neigh” and whinny your satisfaction with the prancing life. I’m going prancing in the park tonight. Come along!

Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (rhetoric.byu.edu).

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Exergasia (ex-er-ga’-si-a): Repetition of the same idea, changing either its words, its delivery, or the general treatment it is given. A method for amplification, variation, and explanation. As such, exergasia compares to the progymnasmata exercises (rudimentary exercises intended to prepare students of rhetoric for the creation and performance of complete practice orations).

This isn’t what I thought it would be. Driving across country has been a nightmare so far. In Pennsylvania, I almost ran over a Quaker man pulling a load of oats in a little black wagon. In Ohio, I sat on a buckeye and had to go to the emergency room. This trip has been far removed from my expectations. In Indiana, a man said “ope” to me and pushed me out of his way. I’m still trying to figure this out, but I bruised my elbow when it hit the wall. You’d never expect this in a thousand years. In Illinois, the state dance is the square dance. I stumbled into a square dance den where sweaty men and women were drinking hard cider and doing a suggestive movement called “do-si-do” and “Ladies In, Men Sashay” that mimics the movement of mating Whooping Cranes. This was not what I bargained for. I thought my trip would be joyful with wonderful sights to see. Probably, when I get to the Grand Canyon, it will be closed for repairs. Right now, I am staying in a reconstructed farm homestead in Nebraska. The proprietor took my car for “authenticity’s sake.” His son forced me to wear overhauls and a straw hat for “authenticity’s sake” and they took my cellphone for the same reason. I have to work 3 twelve-hour days in the fields before I can get my car, clothes and phone back. I feel like I’m in a sequel to “Deliverance” without the creepy banjo-playing kid.

After 3 days of bizarre weirdness I am back on the road again. At this point, I wouldn’t recommend a cross-country driving trip to anybody. I thought it was going to be a straight-up fun adventure. So far it hasn’t been, unless you count bad things as adventurous. Nevertheless, I’m pushing on. I bought a Ruger .357 in Nebraska where they have liberal gun laws. They even throw in a free box of ammunition. I learned to shoot guns when I was a Boy Scout, so I can handle the .357. If anybody screws with me in Wyoming, it is likely I’ll threaten to shoot them. After that, I’ll probably turn around and go back to New York. If I follow through with my threat, I can hide out on the Canadian border forever.

Damn, I wish it was different: puffy clouds, shining sun, interesting sites to see. But no, nowhere near it. I’ve taken an unexpected car ride into Hell. I expect to see Satan in the passenger seat of my car grinning like the poorly groomed hitch-hiker I picked up at the Wyoming border.

Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (rhetoric.byu.edu).

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Exouthenismos (ex-ou-then-is’-mos): An expression of contempt.

I hate you and and so should everybody else. My life was going so well until you came along and stole my heart and my baseball card collection. It took me 25years to put it together—25 years of riding America’s highways, byways, back roads, and dirt roads in search of cards. I spent nearly all of my annuity paying for the cards. It was my life’s work. People called me “Johnny Card” and they weren’t joking. My life was vested in cardboard rectangles with pictures of men in hats. I have enough bubblegum to give all the homeless people in North America a sweet treat.

And you—you, you, you—stole all my cards, not just a select few, but ALL of them. I thought you loved me. I welcomed you into my home. I cooked for you. I watched what you wanted to watch on TV. I am no fan of Julia Child reruns, or Cheers, or Wheel of Fortune, or Jeopardy, but I watched and didn’t complain. I should’ve been suspicious when you asked to see my collection before we’d ever talked about it.

I heard you were spotted in Las Vegas wearing an expensive fur coat. I hope somebody spray paints you and shoves the spray can down your throat. I hate you. My hopes for you are brutally painful. I could go into lurid detail, but I won’t, even though my therapist says it would do me good and help clear my head.

While I wait to hear about my baseball cards, I’ve started a new collection: seed packets from around the world. It is such a stupid thing to collect, nobody will want steal it. I’m not enjoying collecting seed packets, but maybe it’ll grow on me.

Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (rhetoric.byu.edu).

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Expeditio (ex-pe-di’-ti-o): After enumerating all possibilities by which something could have occurred, the speaker eliminates all but one (=apophasis). Although the Ad Herennium author lists expeditio as a figure, it is more properly considered a method of argument [and pattern of organization] (sometimes known as the “Method of Residues” when employed in refutation), and “Elimination Order” when employed to organize a speech. [The reference to ‘method’ hearkens back to the Ramist connection between organizational patterns of discourses and organizational pattern of arguments]).

I was looking at my butt in the mirror feeling angry that I had been given a butt the size of a beer keg. I don’t know who they are, but I feel justified in hating them. I’ve had my butt covered with tattoos to distract from its immensity. There’s a rocket ship blasting up my butt crack—it is green and yellow with a beautiful red and purple flame. What is super special is Elon Musk waving with a big grin out a porthole. The rocket is aimed at my tramp stamp which is an Uber cab. It’s there to remind my dates to find me a way home after we’re done with the evening’s activities. Then, I have a Smiley Face on each cheek. Each one is 3” in diameter and has a laughter chip implanted. If you pat my butt it laughs.

And this is what shocked me: there’s a small fresh tattoo of a pepperoni pizza on my lower left cheek. I had never seen it before and I do not know how it got there. I don’t even like pizza and it throws off my butt’s tattoo symmetry. I don’t think I would’ve commissioned such at thing, but maybe I did. Maybe I just don’t remember getting the tattoo, maybe I was drunk, maybe I was knocked unconscious, maybe I have multiple personalities. Bad memory, drunkenness and unconsciousness are out of the question. I have a photographic memory! I don’t drink. And I had no pain in my head recently from being slugged or fed sedatives. That leaves multiple personalities. I did find the remnants of a pepperoni pizza in the trash. There were also 6 pepperoni sausages under my pillow in my bedroom and 2 packages of mozzarella cheese in the bathroom medicine cabinet. Last, there were 3 packages of pizza dough hidden under a board in the living room. So, what do I do now? I guess I’ll get another pizza tattoo on my lower right cheek. Symmetry is important to me—I need balance on my butt.

Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (rhetoric.byu.edu). Bracketed text by Gorgias.

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Exuscitatio (ex-us-ci-ta’-ti-o): Stirring others by one’s own vehement feeling (sometimes by means of a rhetorical question, and often for the sake of exciting anger).

How many of you have had your underwear shrink? Mine claimed to be shrink proof on the package. I had total faith in their assertion. After all, they’re a big company with a pleasing name: “100% Cotton.” What could inspire more confidence than 100%? 100% of anything is all of it. I’ve trusted cotton since I’ve worn Levi’s as a toddler. They told you to buy them big because they would shrink. They were honest.

I don’t know about you, but my briefs have become a cotton postage stamp with 2 leg holes. When I put them on, it’s like I’m wearing Ken’s undies and Barbie is standing there laughing at me.

Underpants are the closest thing to you aside from your skin. Closer than your girlfriend. Closer than your mother. Closer than your boss! Do you want what’s closest to you chafing and painfully squeezing your private parts? Are you with me? Together we can make this right. Together we can get the underpants bosses to stop crushing our pride by making our underpants one size smaller, after they shrink, than they say on the package. What’s worse, these underpants are made in China by Communists. Are they trying make us sterile so there will be no soldiers when they invade us with their depraved Army, conquer us and make us slaves—probably working in an underpants factory to further their cause.

Again, are you with me? We must confiscate all of the 100% cotton underpants in the United States. We must burn them in the middle of Pennsylvania Avenue to show our President that these shrinking underpants are un-American and unacceptable. We can do this. The confiscation and transportation of Chinese shrinkys will become our life’s work. Nothing shall deter us as we harvest the 100% cotton underpants and bring them to the bonfire. We will not be duped by Chinese agents giving away free underpants at the mall. We will save America! Let’s go! Down with constricting underpants!

Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (rhetoric.byu.edu).

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Gnome (nome or no’-mee): One of several terms describing short, pithy sayings. Others include adage, apothegm, maxim, paroemia, proverb, and sententia.

“The handwriting’s on the wall.” Sayings are supposed to help you with their compact helpings of wisdom. I have never understood “the handwriting on the wall” thing. I’ve seen plenty of handwriting on the walls of men’s rooms—99% of it sexual— the rest fart jokes, racist insults, reputation attacks, love letters to Trump, and quotes from Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged. “Who is John Galt?” they ask. I could care less. I care more about the hangnail that’s wreaking havoc on my pinky.

Another possible meaning is that something you’ve done is public knowledge—everybody knows about it and there’s no place to hide—it’s a public wall that everybody walks past and everybody reads. It could say something like “Barbara is a dummy.” That’s it for Barbara: “the handwriting’s on the wall.” There are no public walls where I live, so the public wall idea would not apply to my town—we have to use restroom walls to besmirch and libel people we hardly know.

Another possible meaning of the saying is far-fetched and not very easy to believe, especially if you live in the 21st century like we do! What if “handwriting” is a metaphor for prophecy? Something “written” before it comes—something inevitable. I don’t know why it has to be on a wall—it could be on a piece of paper. My Grandpa used the saying on me: “Son, you’re going to prison, the handwriting’s on the wall.” I think the “handwriting” was all the bad things I’d done, from kidnapping dogs to selling stolen merchandise—blenders, tool sets, lawnmowers, etc.

Grandpa was right. The handwriting was on the wall. I served 2 years in state prison for “the transportation and sale of stolen goods.” Why did it take until now to “get” what Grandpa was trying to tell me? Well it’s like they say, “Actions speaker louder than walls.”

Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (rhetoric.byu.edu).

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Graecismus (gree-kis’-mus): Using Greek words, examples, or grammatical structures. Sometimes considered an affectation of erudition.

I was hit in the face by yet another enthymeme: “It’s late. You should go home.” I was getting tired of not having the missing premise made explicit. Why do I have to go home because it’s late? In this particular case, what’s the persuasive pull? Do I have to get up early in the morning? Are you just trying to get rid of me? Are you tired? All of the above? Or, are you just giving me a recurring dictate drawn from your bossy-boots topoi?

So: Now I am mad. Now I’m going home. I am going home because I’m mad. Want the missing premise? Anger induces people to separate, and there are probably two-hundred further reasons linked to that one. On that note, you could sling a sorites as wide as Oklahoma and project a towering ethos like Abraham Lincoln or Mother Theresa. Pathos would ooze from your project and you would probably win an award for a tome on something like “The Roots of Persuasive Home-Going Admonitions in Post-Modern North American Culture.”

Do you know what sarcasm is? I do.

Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (rhetoric.byu.edu).

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Hendiadys (hen-di’-a-dis): Expressing a single idea by two nouns [joined by a conjunction] instead of a noun and its qualifier. A method of amplification that adds force.

Ham and eggs: on a menu, in your mouth, soft yolks, crispy edges, maybe some home fries with lots ketchup. More delicious than my favorite candy—Good and Plenty, plenty good. Little pink and white candies, licorice, and looked like pills. They were advertised on 1950s TV in an 8-foot long box. I wanted a box like it so badly, but that was not to be. Instead, I would try and make my own giant Good and Plenty candy box. “This is nice sweet candy,” I thought as I went foraging for cardboard. My thoughts and licorice smells were my incentive.

I hung out by the appliance store and my hopes were fulfilled. A refrigerator box came flying off the loading dock and landed by my feet. I dragged the giant box home and went to work. I used all of my mom’s pink lipstick to write “Good and Plenty” on both sides of the box. Now the box had a perfume smell and my hands were stained “Perky Pink,” the color of Mom’s lipstick. Now, I had to fill the box with candy—a daunting task. I didn’t know what to do. So, I went and talked to Grandpa. He said, “if you want them candies bad enough, steal the money from your ma’s purse. Don’t beg her for it—we both know she hates being begged at. Just take it!” So I did—took and pocketed $78.00. I went and arrived at the candy store around 4.00 pm. I plunked my money down and told mister Floger that I wanted every Good & Plenty he had. He brought three cases of the candy out from the back room and set them on the floor. Luckily, I had thought to bring my red wagon. I loaded it up and pulled it home. When I got home, I was shocked to see my candy box burning in the fire pit—like trash! I went berserk and tried to choke my mother on Good & Plenty candies. Our neighbor called the police and I was hauled off to jail. I was tried as a juvenile and convicted of attempted manslaughter. My mother hasn’t given up on me and sends me a box of Good and Plenty (plenty good) every month.

Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (rhetoric.byu.edu). Bracketed text added by Gorgias.

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Heterogenium (he’-ter-o-gen-i-um): Avoiding an issue by changing the subject to something different. Sometimes considered a vice.

A: Where did you get that watch?

B: I’ve been at it all day. Watching birds. I saw seven species. The best was the pileated woodpecker. I don’t know what pileated means. I bet it is important. They are gigantic and they sound like a jackhammer when they’re banging on a tree. I love birds, except for pigeons.

Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (rhetoric.byu.edu)

An edition of the Daily Trope is available on Amazon under title The Book of Tropes.


Homoeopropophoron: Alliteration taken to an extreme where nearly every word in a sentence begins with the same consonant. Sometimes, simply a synonym for alliteration or paroemion [a stylistic vice].

Time tells tarnished truths and tepid tales; takes twisted treks, tired trips. Doubts diminish, dragging dreams down darkened drains. Determined demons delight, raising their fists and chanting “Damn you!” over and over. Memory manages many miscalculations, designing dilemmas, developing demonic domains—angelic in thought, diabolical in action.

Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (rhetoric.byu.edu).

Excerpts from the Daily Trope are available on Kindle under the title The Book of Tropes.


Homoioptoton (ho-mee-op-to’-ton): The repetition of similar case endings in adjacent words or in words in parallel position.

Note: Since this figure only works with inflected languages, it has often been conflated with homoioteleuton and (at least in English) has sometimes become equivalent to simple rhyme: “To no avail, I ate a snail.”

“The Brady Bunch” blared on YouTube while I ate my lunch—I had a hunch that Greg Brady’s latest invention was designed to give Alice some kind of relief from her vexing responsibilities. It is hand-held and battery-powered and makes a buzzing sound when it’s turned on. We find out near the end of the episode that it is a hand-held vacuum cleaner for sucking up crumbs and other things from under and between furniture cushions. This episode had put me to sleep—it was boring and it had me snoring. Suddenly, I woke myself up by the snarling sound I was making and I thought, “If that jerk Greg can invent something so can I.” I started to think—what doesn’t the world have that it needs? It would have to be simple. I would make it in the garage at my dad’s workbench. He always had four or five projects going, mainly because he never finished any of them. He’d been fixing the kitchen sink drain for two years and my mother had gotten used to putting a mixing bowl under it to catch the drippings. My father spent most of his home-time sitting in “his” chair looking at his laptop: an antique computer the size of a two-inch thick chessboard. He had to plug in an antenna to pick up wi-fi. It was pitiful. Then, I got an idea: I could make a device that would send an electric shock through Dad’s chair and get him up off his ass. He would thank me.

I found an old electric extension chord. I cut off the socket end exposing two copper wires. I took the license plate that Dad kept hanging on the wall—his old vanity plate “LETSMAMBO.” I ran a wire through each of the license plate’s top two screw holes— one on the right, one on the left. I was done. I didn’t know what to call my invention, maybe “Watts Up” would be a cool name, or maybe “Butt Jumper”? Anyway, I went into the living room and slid the wired up LETSMAMBO vanity plate under dad’s chair cushion. I would hide by the chair and plug it in when he sat down.

He came into the living room and sat in his chair. It’s like he didn’t care—another night in the chair. I shoved the plug into the outlet. My father screamed and all the house’s electricity shut down. Not only was my dad out of his chair, his chair was smoking, and so was the seat of dad’s pants, and he was squirming around on the floor, cursing. We called 911 and he was taken to the hospital to have his butt examined.

I thought, all great inventions move through trial and error, and reconsideration of basic assumptions, before they come to fruition. Dad threw me out of the house after I nearly fried his butt, but I’ve continued to develop and redevelop my invention. I have been using guinea pigs, which aren’t cheap. I’ve yet to kill one, but they are all a little singed. I wear a white lab coat with my name embroidered on it in red letters when I work at night. Like all great inventors, I suffer for my vision and sacrifice everything for my hope. I work as a ticket-stub tearer at the local movie theater. My meager earnings go into my dream. Luckily, my mom sends me cash to supplement my wages and keep me going. Now I know how Tesla and Eli Whitney felt.

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Definition and commentary courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (rhetoric.byu.edu).