Distinctio

Distinctio (dis-tinc’-ti-o): Eliminating ambiguity surrounding a word by explicitly specifying each of its distinct meanings.


I was wedlocked when I was 17, or should I say “married,” the common term for being wed. I think “wedlock” best describes the state of being married. “Lock” is the key—ha, ha. The key to the cage of marriage is a ruthless lawyer, who relishes the pain and suffering of your spouse and can transform it to your advantage in divorce court. If she uses cash, she’s stealing your money. If she walks your son to school, she’s abusing him, tiring him out and affecting his performance in school. If she cooks, she’s trying to poison you. And then, there’s the Big A—Adultery. The gold standard of marriage breakers.

I planned my wife’s unfaithfulness meticulously. I used a book I got at Barnes & Nobles as my guide. It was an instruction manual titled: “How to Make Her Look Unfaithful.” The plans were elaborate, but foolproof, especially with the “Lying Eye” video app. I videoed her naked walking across our bedroom after her nightly shower. She blew me a kiss. Then, when we got an Amazon delivery, I videoed her walking through the garage to take the package from the delivery man. I was excited. Soon I would be rid of her at no cost because of having been the victim of her immorality.

I went down in the basement to edit the video. I edited the garage video, cutting out everything but the package handoff, but leaving the background of the garage. Then I layered in her naked walk, editing out the bedroom background. It looked like she was meeting the delivery man naked in the garage! It was a triumph of incrimination. She was horrified when I showed it to her. She wanted to know where I got it from. I wouldn’t tell.

I filed for divorce the next day. Two weeks later I walked into the courtroom and nearly died. There were the delivery man, the woman who had sold me the instruction manual, and, on Zoom, the CEO of the company that sold me the “Lying Eyes” app. Needless to say I went down in flames. I got six months in jail for fraud, was fined $2,000 and had to pay court costs. The divorce was reheard. I lost everything.

Two years later, I was walking through the mall and I saw my former wife and the delivery man. I was shocked. She saw me and waved shyly. She was pushing a baby carriage.


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Distributio

Distributio (dis-tri-bu’-ti-o): (1) Assigning roles among or specifying the duties of a list of people, sometimes accompanied by a conclusion. (2) Sometimes this term is simply a synonym for diaeresis or merismus, which are more general figures involving division.


This is the same old crap. Nobody’s where they’re supposed to be. It happens every time. How do I know? I went looking for youse. You’re supposed to be where I expect you to be. I am the boss, remember? I give the orders. You follow the orders. Joey! What were you doing home watching “Planet of the Apes” on your laptop? How do I know? Your Ma told me. Peter! You were at the pool hall playing eight ball and drinking rum and Cokes. How do I know? Vinny told me. In fact, he played and won $100 from you. Dipshit. Stunad. Tony! Jesus Christ! Hanging out at the dog grooming parlor, so you can do a little “grooming” with Marie on her lunch break. She told me you were sniffing around like one of the dogs, and she would never do it with you you. She said you’re too ignorant. Card! Where the hell were you.? Don’t tell me you got stuck in traffic, or I’ll shoot you in the face. I don’t even want to hear your excuse. All I can say is my crew—you all—really blew it.

Guess what? Missing Don Flamingo’s 80th birthday is grounds for getting you whacked. I told you that’s what I thought would happen two days ago when I reminded you to show up. I met with him and he has agreed to let you live, on one condition: that you spend all the money you have on his birthday gift.—that you pool it together and go for broke. How much you got? I don’t have to ask, I know. Between you, it’s 4,000,000. So, what’re you gonna do?

What? You’re gonna build him a mausoleum in Sicily? Good. Pink granite. Gold-plated doorknobs and hinges. Bronze doors with carved grape vines and bunches of grapes. White marble interior. Stained glass windows with all his family members and his mistress with the light of God shining through. A 70” plasma screen TV showing continuous loops of “The Godfather” and “Goodfellas.” The crypts have gold-plated handles with serpentine fronts, each having two cherubim carved in them, each one blowing a trumpet heralding Columbus Day. The ceiling has a painting of young Don Flamingo touching the hand of God. There are two leather chairs in case visitors want to watch TV, and have an espresso and biscotti, which are provided fresh every day, forever.

Good job crew. The Cinghiale Family will go down in history for its unrivaled tribute to Don Flamingo’s pettiness and unforgivable insult to our integrity.

I write this note to Don Flamingo, which he will never read: “Missing your Birthday was wrong by my crew, but the retribution you exacted was worse. You have broken my crew, leaving them penniless with one thought in mind. Revenge.”


Postscript: Two days after the mausoleum was completed, Don Flamingo was laid to rest. He was whacked leaving his favorite restaurant, Patsy’s. Joey, Peter, Tony, and Card had finished the job. Now, they had to figure out how to get their $4,000,000 back. They decided kidnapping the late Don Flamingo’s great-grandson was the way to go. They headed to Ace Hardware to get a roll of duct tape and a pack of zip ties, singing “That’s Amore” like some kind of 60s pop group, driving the speed limit in their beautiful black vintage Coupe de Ville.


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

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Ecphonesis

Ecphonesis (ec-pho-nee’-sis): An emotional exclamation.


Me: Oh my God!!

God: What? What? This is a bad time. We’re on the edge of the apocalypse and I’m getting urgent prayers from all over your planet, not to mention a cacophony of “My God, Save me God, God help me, and even Goddamnit,” which violates one of my commandments. Idiots. You don’t earn salvation with vinegar.

Me: Oh God, PLEASE help me. Please. Please. Please. Please. Please,

God: BTW, did you try contacting my son? He’s been despondent, especially about the USA where the religion named after him has become the opposite of caritas, it’s foundational value. Love is nowhere in the air. In fact, it is nowhere.

Me: I called your son two days ago. His secretary told me he was busy spreading the Gospel message and wouldn’t be back until Tuesday. I waited and then called you. Thank-you for lending an ear when I yelled into the air.

God: Ok. I already know your problem. Tell it to me in your own words.

Me: Ok. I’m reading a book my girlfriend gave me titled Atheism Will Set You Free. It has shown me that a dependence on faith to underwrite key features of my life is crazy. I’ve been taught that everywhere that what is tangible, and therefore, knowable bears a truth, will set us free. In fact, it is possible that our conversation is a figment of my imagination. Am I talking to myself?

God: Yes, but it does not matter. Faith is operative all the time in your life. You don’t disparage making plans, encompassing a future that does not exist, that can only be conjured in belief. That’s all you can do, fully understanding that when the future manifests itself, what you believed was wrong. I’m like that. If you live with faith in me and my promise to you, you’re going to be happier than if you (ironically) don’t believe in me. It’s all a matter of belief, that’s what makes it special.

Me: Thanks God! Now I can tell my girlfriend she’s full of shit and then find a new girlfriend on the internet.

God: That’s a belief, or should I say hope, you’re vesting your future in!

Me: Ha ha! I can’t believe I’m doing this; sitting my couch writing a dialogue with God. Given my lack of theological knowledge, I must look like an idiot. All I can say is that the choice between being an atheist and a believer is not easy to make. Loosely, Pascal came to a pretty good place: if I believe in God and there’s no God, no big deal, but if I don’t believe in God, and God exists, big boo-boo. So he believed in God.

Oh well, as Ripley said, “Believe it or not.”


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

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Ecphonesis

Ecphonesis (ec-pho-nee’-sis): An emotional exclamation.


Me: Oh my God!!

God: What? What? This is a bad time. We’re on the edge of the apocalypse and I’m getting urgent prayers from all over your planet, not to mention a cacophony of “My God, Save me God, God help me, and even Goddamnit,” which violates one of my commandments. Idiots. You don’t earn salvation with vinegar.

Me: Oh God, PLEASE help me. Please. Please. Please. Please. Please,

God: BTW, did you try contacting my son? He’s been despondent, especially about the USA where the religion named after him has become the opposite of caritas, it’s foundational value. Love is nowhere in the air. In fact, it is nowhere.

Me: I called your son two days ago. His secretary told me he was busy spreading the Gospel message and wouldn’t be back until Tuesday. I waited and then called you. Thank-you for lending an ear when I yelled into the air.

God: Ok. I already know your problem. Tell it to me in your own words.

Me: Ok. I’m reading a book my girlfriend gave me titled Atheism Will Set You Free. It has shown me that a dependence on faith to underwrite key features of my life is crazy. I’ve been taught that everywhere that what is tangible, and therefore, knowable bears a truth, will set us free. In fact, it is possible that our conversation is a figment of my imagination. Am I talking to myself?

God: Yes, but it does not matter. Faith is operative all the time in your life. You don’t disparage making plans, encompassing a future that does not exist, that can only be conjured in belief. That’s all you can do, fully understanding that when the future manifests itself, what you believed was wrong. I’m like that. If you live with faith in me and my promise to you, you’re going to be happier than if you (ironically) don’t believe in me. It’s all a matter of belief, that’s what makes it special.

Me: Thanks God! Now I can tell my girlfriend she’s full of shit and then find a new girlfriend on the internet.

God: That’s a belief, or should I say hope, you’re vesting your future in!

Me: Ha ha! I can’t believe I’m doing this; sitting my couch writing a dialogue with God. Given my lack of theological knowledge, I must look like an idiot. All I can say is that the choice between being an atheist and a believer is not easy to make. Loosely, Pascal came to a pretty good place: if I believe in God and there’s no God, no big deal, but if I don’t believe in God, and God exists, big boo-boo. So he believed in God.

Oh well, as Ripley said, “Believe it or not.”


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

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Effictio

Effictio (ef-fik’-ti-o): A verbal depiction of someone’s body, often from head to toe.


It wasn’t my birthday, but I looked 75–almost 80, almost alive. I could walk. I could talk. My bodily functions still function, but slowly with difficulty. I still had all my hair—no receding hairline—a big white cloud on top of my head. When I get it cut, it’s like it’s snowing inside Supercuts. .

I was once a whopping 6’4”. I don’t know how or why, but now I’m 6’2”. Still pretty good, but I’m no longer a tower. Now, I’m like a shed with boobs. They jiggle. My tattoos are blurring. I have one on each forearm that I can’t read any more—one refers to the Army, the other is my personal motto: “Veritas pro se non loquitur” “Truth does not speak for itself.” Due to an injury sustained in the Army, my hearing just gets worse and worse every year. My answer to most questions is “What?” even though I’ve got state of the art hearing aids from the VA that I am grateful for.

Moving right along, I’m relatively wrinkle free— my face looks 35-40. I swear. I’m not exactly trim, but I’m still in pretty good shape and go for walks in the woods. Even though I have bright hazel eyes, that go between blue and green depending on what I wear, lately, they don’t see too well. I have double vision all the time—I have black-rimmed corrective glasses that help somewhat, but I can’t get around the mild vertigo induced by the double vision. It slows me down when I’m walking, and going up and down stairs. The topper is my dupuytren’s contracture—making what looks like a claw of my left hand.

You’d think I would be upset by my body’s aging, but many years ago when I was traveling in Peru, in a cave near Machu Picchu, I was shown a silver mirror that erases the effects of aging and reflects you as you were at 22. It was like a reverse Dorian Gray portrait. I visit it once a year. As long as I don’t see my true reflection during the intervening time, I experience myself as 22. Miraculously, my body functions like that of a 22-year-old, I have stamina, my vision is restored’ I can hear a pin drop, and my hand can be laid out flat. tomorrow, I’m headed out on my annual trek to the mirror.

I arrived in Lima early in the morning and took the tour bus to Machu Picchu. I started my hike to the cave containing the mirror. It was ten miles up a narrow trail. As I walked, I marveled at how the cave had remained hidden. I arrived at the cave.

My guide from previous years lay dead outside the cave’s entrance. He had started to mummify in the dry mountain air. I dragged him into the cave’s entrance, so his body wouldn’t draw unwanted attention. I went looking for the mirror and found it! I presented myself to it, and the 22-year-old me was reflected. I was relieved and started to leave the cave. Suddenly, there was a loud rumbling sound and a landslide blocked the way out of the cave. There was no cellphone reception. So, I got my journal out of my backpack, lit a candle, and started to write. If you’re reading this, you’ve found the mirror. Good luck.


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

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Ellipsis

Ellipsis (el-lip’-sis): Omission of a word or short phrase easily understood in context.


There was a lot that was left undone—I wasn’t over the rainbow, the rainbow was over me. That’s the way the cookie crumbles. If I could follow a train of thought, maybe I could get off at the right stop instead of . . . Oh well. The premonition is up ahead. Why do I spend my time considering what will be instead of vesting my interest in what is real, what is tangible, what is here, what has three dimensions, what I can eat for lunch, what I can kick?

I bought a crystal ball at a garage sale: It came with instructions: stare at it until you see something materialize behind the glass. So far, I had seen my hand and a dirty coffee mug sitting on my kitchen table. Then, I saw the face of somebody who looked vaguely like me. He had a lightbulb tattooed on his forehead and Yin Yangs tattooed on his eyelids. His mouth was sewn shut like a shrunken head. He was bouncing up and down and I could hear “Mph, Mph, Gaaa” coming out of the crystal ball. This was the most eventful thing that had ever happened in my life. I was terrified and elated. I said (being dramatic) “Oh yon demon of the ball, how can I help you?” He nodded yes, which did not answer my question. Then, he emphatically wiggled his lips back and forth. I understood immediately: he wanted me to liberate his lips, so he could talk to me and answer my questions about the future, and help me make some money! He tilted his head down and looked toward his sewn up lips. I touched the crystal ball and my hand went into it like it was water. I grabbed the stitches and pulled, like when I opened the bag of birdseed from Agway, and “zip,” the string came loose, and “zip” his lips were freed!

He said, “Let me make sure. You speak English, right?” “Right,” I said. He told me his name was Nick Samaras. I told him my name was Larry Bort, and that I worked for Amazon as a package packer, but I wanted to be a fortune teller, mainly my own fortune, but other people’s too. Nick told me what I had was not a fortunetelling crystal ball, but rather, it was a magical bowling ball. If I said “Let’s roll” to it, it would turn into a bowling ball that would ensure perfect games every time. In a way, it’s guaranteed winning was like telling the future.

What else could I do? I became a professional bowler and made a lot of money. I can’t say I made a fortune—the payouts for bowling tournaments are pretty skimpy. Me and Nick would talk every once-in-awhile. His life story is complicated, as you can imagine. He was born thousands of years ago in Athens, Greece. He was a wealthy goldsmith. He kidnapped a sorcerer’s daughter and married her. The sorcerer put the bowling ball spell on him, intending the ball to be a weapon dropped on people’s heads, along with hot tar, from ramparts.

Then, the worst thing happened. My nephew was staying with me while my sister went on a marriage retreat. I had left Nick on the coffee table on his stand, in his bowling ball guise. My nephew picked him up and put it on his head. My nephew’s head traded places with Nick’s head. I was screwed. Nick said “My God, I never knew.” The bowling ball was silent. I touched it, and said “let’s roll” and it cleared, and it was empty. No nephew. Nick wouldn’t shut up or stop eating. I bought us plane tickets to Athens, where I stupidly hoped that my Nick-headed nephew would figure something out. I was tired of hiding from my sister. As soon as our passports arrived, we took off. Nick disappeared as soon as we cleared passport control. I made the mistake of telling my story to the authorities. Now, I’m handcuffed to a bed waiting to hear what they’re going to do with me. My sister has threatened to have me extradited and arrested for kidnapping. Then, I thought I saw Nick and my nephew looking through the window of my room’s door.


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

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Enallage

Enallage (e-nal’-la-ge): The substitution of grammatically different but semantically equivalent constructions.


The lie he makes sound a truth. Got proof? Got anything? The solemnity of your idiocy begs laughter, if not contempt. I can’t figure out how you became the King of Smug. Your way through life has become “clean” belief—that’s belief with a microscopic “b.” It has no proof—no story to tell based in experience or reason, or both. It is just what you assert, moving ahead and doing damage to all who come within your orbit. You are a sort of evil magnet, pulling your associates in to feel the pain of misplaced trust, wasted affection, and betrayal as they anxiously squirm, attached to your power.

You have a decent reputation as somehow your sadism evades detection; evades attribution to you. How can this be? You are here. You are present, you are tangible. What’s your trick? I’ve asked you countless times. You spout aphorisms so distant from your character and interests that you make me laugh. “A true friend never gets in your way unless you happen to be going down.” That’s one of your favorites. You spend nearly all your time trying to convince people that they’re going down, so you can “get in the way,” which means to you “so you can profit from their problems.” You make people hurt without them knowing it’s you spreading the vicious rumors or setting them up to fall, and then rushing to the rescue to win their undying affection.

How did you become this way? When we were at school together you were kind and caring and full of love. I remember the injured bird we found and nursed back to health. Even though it was a dirty old pigeon, we made it our mascot until it flew away one day, restored. And your girlfriend Beatrice—I’m sure she rivaled Dante’s Beatrice and may have inspired you in the same way. So, I am in a nearly constant search for the turning point, when you went from noble human being to ignoble boar hog: snoffling your way through life, seeing people as living scraps spread about for your snout’s pleasure. No reason. No proof. Except, the hedonistic pleasure—pleasure for you alone, unshared, unsocial, a lonely vigil held over your senses, of getting what you want—without a ray of hope that it will profit your victims. At least you don’t kill them. Maybe what you do is worse. Seduction and betrayal—the old one-two—it is Satanic.

I think this may be the hundredth time I’ve told you to get help. You look angry and disgusted, glaring at me like you’d like to punch me in the nose, or worse. You sit there clutching your chair, drinking wine, obviously satisfied with the life you’ve made for yourself, a life alone and completely self-absorbed. Sometimes I think you’ve made a deal with Satan, but that can’t be. I don’t believe in all that nonsense.

Goodbye.

Postscript: Two days later the narrator was found flayed and dismembered and piled in a hog trough placed in his front yard.


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

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Enantiosis

Enantiosis (e-nan-ti-o’-sis): Using opposing or contrary descriptions together, typically in a somewhat paradoxical manner.


I’m a genius. I’m a loser. I invented an under-sink water cooler so you don’t have to let the water run before you get nice cool water. Just imagine—instant cold! More space in the refrigerator! You no longer need ice to make ice water. You’ll drink more water and be more healthy. I hooked the prototype up to my sink and it worked like charm. I was in the process of getting a patent. I was in line to be rich. Then, one night I heard banging around in my kitchen. I grabbed my .357 from beside my bed and crept downstairs. It was the Mario Brothers!

They had removed my “Fauca-cooler” from under my sink and were stuffing it in a big tool bag. I asked them what the “F” they were doing. Mario told me that my device wasn’t authorized. It would be destroyed and all traces of its existence would be removed. And Luigi said, “If you don’t like it, you’ll be removed too.” I instantly aimed my gun at Luigi: “You have broken into my house, you’re stealing my property and have threatened me. If you don’t leave now, I will shoot you—I might even kill you.” Luigi and Mario both laughed at me. Mario said: “My good man, have you forgotten that we’re animated characters who live in a video game?”

They looked real to me. Although they seemed slightly transparent if I looked hard. The insanity of the whole situation had taken a huge uptick. So, I aimed at Luigi’s head and pulled the trigger. The .357 was really loud in the kitchen. I could smell the burnt gun powder. Luigi was standing there with a hole in his head, unfazed. “You shot my brother, you asshole!” Mario yelled as he swung a pipe wrench at me. It knocked me unconscious.

I awoke in a cartoon sewer pipe. I had become a cartoon. I could kick and punch with my cockroach feet. My antennae squirted yellow polka dotted blue snot that would probably glue my adversaries to the ground, stopping them in their tracks when I showered them. Also, I discovered I was extremely fast and was very good at getting away from pursuers—from enemies. I had all the mushrooms I could eat. However, I wanted out! I wanted to go back to being a break-through inventor. I never should have shot Luigi. I felt like Dorothy in “The Wizard of Oz.”

Then I woke up again. I was in my bed. I realized immediately that I had had a “Reefer-mare.” My neighbor Daisy had given me an ounce of “Blip” for my birthday. It is rumored to be the most potent pot on the planet. I had smoked a giant 6” spliff and became beyond stoned—there were little men dancing on my bedroom ceiling with giant ants in red tutus, when I passed out. That’s my loser side—I can’t say no the reefer. Ever since I was 12 I’ve been huffing the stuff.

Anyway, my invention is still successfully producing cold water under my sink. I’m trying to get off the pot. I don’t want to squander my millions on hallucinations. I am in love with Daisy, but it is weird that she always wears the same yellow dress.


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

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Enigma

Enigma (e-nig’-ma): Obscuring one’s meaning by presenting it within a riddle or by means of metaphors that purposefully challenge the reader or hearer to understand.


I’m tall when I’m young and short when I’m old. What am I? I don’t know. I lost my book Why Riddles: Wrestling With Obscurity. I think I left it under my pillow. It’s the only place I haven’t looked. I’m sure I’ll find it when I go to bed tonight. If I do, I’ll text you the answer to the tall-short riddle. It might be like the “How many toes does a crayon have?” riddle. My quick answer is “none,” but that thwarts the riddle and displays an immature drive to kill that particular riddle. It thwarts the spirit of the riddle that has carried people beyond the vagaries of literalism, to the hallowed heights of metaphors, and similes and puns for millennia.

When I was in the Army, I knew a guy who worked in the message vault. He carried a .45 and picked up and delivered messages in his own Jeep. When he was working spoke only in puns or obscure pronouncements. I though he had gone crazy spending his time in the message vault when he wasn’t picking up or delivering messages. The vault was like a big bank vault with stacks of messages scattered around. I asked what he did with the stacked, undelivered, messages. He said: “The flight of the bluebird is aimless.” I could sort of understand him—maybe the bluebirds were the messages, flight was delivery. But aimless was pretty much beyond me—maybe it meant that the addressee was unknown, so they couldn’t be delivered. I asked him if I got it right and he said: “You are taking a tour without a compass.” Well, that was clear—I was not right and I was headed in the wrong direction. I asked him if I was right about being wrong. He said: “Apples and tomatoes can be red or yellow.”

My visit with my buddy was going south. I was headed down a dead end street. I was dancing in the dark. I was on a treadmill. I was running on a Hamster wheel. I’d been dealt an empty hand. The chain was off my bike. My shoe laces were tied together. My brain was in neutral.

I was frustrated, but he was my buddy, and I could still remember him before he was put in the vault. Maybe his purposeful obscurity was part of his training to keep from inadvertently disclosing top secret message content. Anyway, I visited him after the war. He was living in the psychiatric ward of his local VA hospital. They didn’t know what to do with him, so they kept him. He wasn’t dangerous, but he made people angry with his crooked talk. I sort of knew how he felt. My head was full of secrets too, but I didn’t care. I would blurt them out. As a consequence, a lot of people were afraid of me. Secrets are secrets for a reason.

I’m going off course. My GPS is smoking. My roadmap is blank. I am lost in space. My bulldozer is stalled. I am drowning in memories. But, I’m ok. When I think of Cinderella I am calmed. When I think of Porterhouse steak, I develop an appetite. When I think of dreams, I want to go to bed. When I write, I’m quite clear. When I talk, not so much. When I sing, I am an angel spreading light.


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

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Ennoia

Ennoia (en-no’-i-a): A kind of purposeful holding back of information that nevertheless hints at what is meant. A kind of circuitous speaking.


I know where the wild goose goes. If you invest now, you’ll end up in the Article Circle without the proper protective clothing. Your assets will be frozen, and you won’t be able to move them across the tundra to a bank, other than a snow bank.

Trust me—we’ve been investing together for the past 20 years and we’ve only screwed up once. Prudence was our watchword, and we amassed a fortune. $600 million. You want to invest $500 million in Twitter. Twitter is fast becoming an even bigger shit show than it was before. Permitting Donald Trump back online is like reviving smallpox because it spreads quickly. The dissemination of lies and conspiracy theories will will go viral. Soon, the cadre of dupes wearing their stupid MAGA hats will be calling for Biden’s impeachment and George Santos’ appointment to Speaker of the House after McCarthy is run over and killed in the Congressional parking garage by “a Leftist Democrat,” maybe Beau Biden or Hilary Clinton.

So, we have to agree on what we do with our capital. I say, investing in Twitter at this point is like stoking a fire with almost all of our cash, so we can rake through the ashes looking for our profits and find only losses. Do you remember our fist sizable investment? Cabbage Patch Dolls. They were hot. They were going somewhere. People had lost their minds and were paying hundreds of dollars per doll. We bought every Cabbage Patch Doll in existence. We stood to make millions. Then, the bottom fell out—we couldn’t even sell our inventory for a few cents on the dollar. Now, we have a warehouse that I’d like to burn down.

So, let’s put this behind us and look at some other prospects. I like this AI stuff. I would love to live in a world where art and literature are generated by computers. No more arrogant and self-absorbed artists and writers. We can help students do better on writing assignments too, even if they can’t read. That’s noble! Just think, plagiarism will be a thing of the past—poor writers will no longer risk expulsion for stealing other people’s words!

There’s an AI startup in Massachusetts called “Genie Lamp.” You rub their APP icon with your index finger and tell it what you want, either an image or text. It sends the result to your cellphone. It is like magic. Beats the hell out of embattled Twitter as an investment. I gave it a test run last week. I told it I wanted a story titled “The Unexpected Death of My Business Partner.” Do you want me to read it to you?


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

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Enthymeme

Enthymeme (en’-thy-meem): 1. The informal method [or figure] of reasoning typical of rhetorical discourse. The enthymeme is sometimes defined as a “truncated syllogism” since either the major or minor premise found in that more formal method of reasoning is left implied. The enthymeme typically occurs as a conclusion coupled with a reason. When several enthymemes are linked together, this becomes sorites. 2. A figure of speech which bases a conclusion on the truth of its contrary. [Depending on its grammatical structure and specific word choice, it may be chiasmus].


Me: It is 115 degrees outside. You better wear shorts to work, along with a T-shirt. The blue T-Rex t-shirt would be perfect! Given this climate stuff, we’re going the way of the dinosaurs, pretty soon we’ll all be crude oil or tar balls jostling together in a bubbling pit. If we lose our electricity, we’ll die. They’ll find you clutching a beer on the couch, shriveled up like a piece of dried fruit, like a fig with ants crawling all over you. And, oh, nobody will find you because they’ll be shriveled up on their couches too. Yup, it is the end of the world. We’re headed for extinction, Maybe before the end of the summer.

You: I can hardly be in the same room with you. You never stop. When we were kids it was the atom bomb. You refused to get under your desk during the school drills that were supposed to save us from the bomb. You would sit there saying “If the bomb comes here, the school will be leveled. If we survive that, we will all be turned to ashes cowering under our chairs.” Everybody started crying and tried to get out the door at once. There were injuries and our teacher, Miss Roper, was demoted to classroom aide.

Your hysterical harangues were dangerous back in the sixth grade, and now even more so, given the ubiquitous bullshit flying around—pushed by fake scientists so they can make money while scaring the holy hell out of average Americans and their children, like Joan and Bill’s who, by the grace of God go to a private school where climate change crap is not permitted to be taught, along with other evil brain poisoning ideas like Critical Race Theory. I don’t know what Critical Race Theory is, but it must be bad if it’s banned from “Himmerler Middle School” where my neighbor’s kids go. They’re not going to be fooled by the communists aiming to destroy America by destroying American values. So, why don’t you just can it and go on with your life, such as it is, filled fear and unfounded predictions. Go home and put some clothes on. Tightly-whiteys and sandals are so wrong, no matter how hot it is.

Me: it’s nice to see you’re running with the Lemmings toward the cliffs of denial. Does it feel good to be a part of the pack? All together. Eye to eye. Perfect harmony until death do you part. It is supposed to be 130 degrees tomorrow! I’m headed north to buy myself some time. If I’m going to die, at least I’ll be in a beautiful place. I mean, the sidewalks are starting to crack here in Manhattan and the streets are buckling. I can’t take a shower and I’m pooping in plastic bags and dropping them off behind trees and bushes in Central Park.

Uh oh. Hear that? It’s quiet. The electricity has gone out. No A/C. 130 degrees tomorrow. Let the looting begin! Let the home invasions begin! Let the City burn. Let the “normal” people who’ve ignored the climate change warnings for the past 20 years die without dignity in the coming conflagration. They willfully ignored the hard truth, opting for the soft comfort of lies because the lies aligned with their hopes and stilled their fears.

Goodbye. I’m headed to Alaska. I’m wearing my tighty whiteys. I hope my old VW Bug makes it. I’ll never forget driving it to Woodstock with you and Beth. Do you want to come with me now?


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

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Epanodos

Epanodos (e-pan’-o-dos): 1. Repeating the main terms of an argument in the course of presenting it. 2. Returning to the main theme after a digression. 3. Returning to and providing additional detail for items mentioned previously (often using parallelism).


I’m sorry I strayed off course there. When you’re talking about the good life, it is easy to lose your way in the labyrinth of delights that help make it possible, but are easy to get lost in: surfing on reveries toward a shoreless horizon, hanging ten, hanging on the wax, hanging a picture in my head that I can sleep on and . . .

Oh Jeez. I did it again. They used to call me tangent man in college—even then I couldn’t stay on point. It was pathological. I would be talking about one thing and a word, any word, would trigger a jump off the track, resulting in a train wreck of a conversation—from my favorite scotch (Johnny Walker Blue) to scotch tape and it’s remarkable ability to hold things together, and the amazing role it plays in packing, especially the wide . . .

Please forgive me for going off point again. We’re here to listen to what I have to say about the good life. The good life: Love everywhere: in public and private. Like the Beatles sang: “All you need is love. All you need is love. Love, love love. Love is all you need.” So, where do you go to find and give love? Bowling Alleys. The people who’re bowling alone. Pick one out and ask them to bowl with you. If you ask in a non-whiny voice, you’ll make a strike. This will be the beginning of a life fulfilling connection in the alley’s of life. There will be nothing to spare—every day you’ll roll 300s together. Your glitter-laced balls will reside in velvet-lined bowling bags, waiting for Friday’s roll, and two perfect scores. This is just one example of how the good life can be obtained. The key is to have a partner who you have at least one thing deeply in common with that induces respect and nurturing affection, like me and my plant growing in the window. It speaks to me with waving leaves and flower. I speak to it with water and fertilizer once a week. I have the plant for fifty years—longer than any of my wives, who taught me what the good life is not. Wife number one made me beg for dinner. Wife number two cut holes in my socks. Wife number three was pretty nice, but she made me wear yellow onesies. The non-treaded deer made me slip and fall down over and over. Thank God, they all cheated on me, so divorce was easy.

Well, thank-you for attending my lecture. The good life awaits you.


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

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Epanorthosis

Epanorthosis (ep-an-or-tho’-sis): Amending a first thought by altering it to make it stronger or more vehement.


Beaver: I have deeply negative feelings for you. Enough of this bullshit: I hate your guts. If murder was legal, I would murder you. I can’t believe what a foul bastard you’ve become. Ever since you started hanging out with Eddie Haskell again, you’ve turned into a hissing snake that scares children and winds around women, stealing their affection and emptying their purses. Maybe I should kill you.

Wally: Gee Beaver, where did you get all these lies about Eddie from? He’s kind and generous. He gives to charity—The Home For Off-Beat Men. It has been serving wayward men for ages—men who were non-conformists like George Wallace, or Henry Ford, or George Lincoln Rockwell. It put a roof over their heads and fed them when they were in danger.

Beaver: Can’t you see? The men you cited are bad to the bone. If this is Eddie’s idea of a charitable shelter, he’d probably give money to a cardboard box, filled with explosives. The things you do with Eddie make me sick, Wally, some day you will get caught and you’ll go to prison. Do you think it is legal to steal old lady’s purses, or kid’s bicycle’s, or to burglarize convenience stores? No! It is not legal! Eddie is a piece of shit. He’s taking you to jail. There’s a remote chance I may want to be close, as brothers again, if you cut off your connection to Eddie. I don’t want to rekindle out connection as your visitor in jail.

Wally: Beaver, you are so naive. I’ve been walking the edge with Eddie ever since we were little kids. I’ve always looked up to his ability to lie and cheat. Right now, we’re on the golden road to riches. As long as you keep your mouth shut, we’ll make it. We’re graduating to scams—scams that require intelligence and cleverness. Right now, we’re working on an adult webcam site. Mom has agreed to “perform” on the site to help us get up and running. Her cam-name is Misty Crab. We will have people pay to meet her off cam, but she’ll never show up. This is all perfectly legal, and Dad has approved, and with Mom’s help, we’re taking off like a rocket ship. We will be recruiting additional cam-girls at the community college. We’re plastering the place with flyers, and so far, we’ve recruited five cam-girls who start on Monday. What’s wrong with this baby brother?

Beaver: Gosh Wally, you and Eddie have got a plan that sounds legal and profitable. And with Mom’s approval, I’m in. Are you going to have male-cams too? If you are, I’d like to give it a try, but I’ll have to change my name from “Beaver.” Ha ha!

Wally: Ha ha! I’ll ask Eddie..


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

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Epergesis

Epergesis (e-per-gee’-sis): Interposing an apposition, often in order to clarify what has just been stated.


My brother Wilton, the one covered with tattoos who smells like baby shampoo, is coming to visit for three days. He’s a “vegetarian” in NYC with his friends but becomes a carnivore when he visits us. We have to buy pounds of meat to feed him, not to mention at least three bottles of medium expensive red wine from Australia. I think the only reason he comes is for the meat on our table. Porterhouse steak is not cheap.

The second night he was there, there was a knock on the door. I opened the door and Wilton’s girlfriend walked into the dining room. Wilton had a sizable piece of steak skewered on his fork, his mouth open, ready to shove it in. His girlfriend screamed and fell to the floor yelling “You beast! You carnivore! You flesh ripper! You murderer! You traitor.” She had brought a giant zucchini to share. Instead, she got up off the floor and started beating Wilton with it, bloodying his nose. All the while, Wilton begged her for forgiveness. She kept hitting him until she was too tired to swing the zucchini any more. She dropped it on the floor, turned, and called an Uber to take her to the train station.

. It should be clear, if Wilton’s love of meat was revealed, he would lose his job and be known among all the people he knew as a total hypocrite.

Wilton had to go back to NYC where he worked for a company that made organic snack foods. It positioned itself as a staunch ally of vegetarians, using Ghandi’s image on all its products. It’s “Nehru’s Spicy Chick Peas” was my favorite.

What follows, is gleaned from the police report:

First thing, when he got back to NYC, Wilton’s girlfriend texted him and told him to meet her at her apartment at 9:00 that night. He agreed. When he got there he pressed the intercom button and the entrance door clicked open. He went upstairs and knocked on the door. His girlfriend opened the door, and suddenly, two of his “friends” grabbed him under his arms. “Intervention!” everybody yelled—there were at least 5 people standing in the living room. There was a children’s swimming pool on the floor filled with a marinade made from liquified Carolina Reaper peppers, Habanero pepper juice, and tequila. “We are here to save your job, your romance, and your life. We are here to get you off of meat.” Wilton’s girlfriend gave a thumbs up and yelled “Let the weaning begin. Tear off his clothes, handcuff him, and put him in the pool.” In he went, face down—the burning concoction went into Wilton’s eyes, nose, ears, and mouth, and down his throat. He thought he was going to die, and he did.

They let his body marinade for three days in the “Intervention Sauce.” Then, they ate him, over the period of two weeks, cooking his butchered body piece by piece on the grill on the apartment’s balcony. They were caught when somebody accidentally dropped Wilton’s left butt cheek off the balcony. It hit a pedestrian and knocked him down. The butt cheek was covered by tattoos, so the pedestrian knew it was human meat. The most unusual tattoo on the butt was Wilton’s Social Security card. Wilton’s butt tattoo enabled the police to track him down. The tugging match over Wilton’s butt cheek made it clear that one of the parties was implicated in Wilton’s butchering.

The police were called to the disturbance over the butt cheek and rounded up the cannibals who had cleverly disguised themselves as radical vegetarians, and who had conspired together to eat Wilton. Wilton’s so-called “girlfriend” played a key role in his demise, surprising him, faking anger and then inviting him to a barbecue at her apartment, cynically knowing that Wilton was intended as the main course. As the investigation continued it was determined that the cannibal club—“The New York Ogres”— was responsible for the disappearance of five victims—men and women. They had dumped the bones in the Great Swamp in New Jersey.

Now, due to the “butt bomb” accidentally dropped off the balcony, they have the rest of their lives to vegetate in their cells at Rikers Island Jail. Already, given their fame as “The Manhattan Butt Bombers,” they’re trying to sell their hot pepper marinade on Etsy. They have made it into an alcohol-free condiment they’ve named “Killer Hot Sauce.” There’s also a cookbook being written titled: “Eat Your Neighbor.” I find this hard to believe, but I find Wilton’s death even more difficult to believe.

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

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Epenthesis

Epenthesis (e-pen’-thes-is): The addition of a letter, sound, or syllable to the middle of a word. A kind of metaplasm. Note: Epenthesis is sometimes employed in order to accommodate meter in verse; sometimes, to facilitate easier articulation of a word’s sound. It can, of course, be accidental, and a vice of speech.


Hi ya Ho! Down we go. Into the mine of dis-saster. Everyday we work away. We don’t whistle while we work. Most of us just cough. We have jobs though—worshipping at the altar of hourly pay. It is barely enough to feed my family, to clothe my family and put a roof over their heads. The baby—little Jimmy cries from hunger. The other two kids have learned to be quiet, although they are hungry too. My wife struggles with what she has—dividing and dividing the dried beans, and slices the fatback so thin you can see through it. The boys work at Cliff’s so they can get a discount on milk and turn their earnings over to me to help pay for gasoline, the cellphone, heating oil and firewood, and electricity. The boys also spend a lot of time fishing in the summer, and hunting in the fall and winter for deer and raccoon with our ancient blue tick hound, Alice. Every little bit helps. When you’re poor you’ve got to go beyond the grocery store to stay fed. Which reminds me, we have a big garden that feeds us well in summer and fall, and with jarred preserves all rear ‘round. We also harvest wild berries, mushrooms and greens—especially fiddlehead ferns and ramps. There are also abandoned apples trees that still yield a lot of apples. We’re not starving, but it could be better.

Yesterday something happened that made me doubt my sanity. We had busted out a new vein of ore, really deep under the ground—deeper than ever before in the history of the mine. I was in a hurry to see what we had. I got too far ahead of my fellow miners. I heard the voice of a little girl singing: “I want my mommy. I’m very cold. I wander in the dark., but I found the gold.” She stepped out of the shadow cast by my headlamp. Her white dress was immaculately clean. Her hair was tied in different colored ribbons. She looked like she was going to school, but she was nearly transparent—a shadow with color. I asked her who she was. She told me to shut up and go away and threw a large gold nugget at me. It hit me in the head and cut my forehead. I picked it up and put it in my pocket. The little girl disappeared and I could hear my colleagues nearby. I told them I had cut my head on a low spot I didn’t see coming in my haste to have a look around.

Taking found nuggets out of the mine was strictly prohibited. If I got caught, I would be immediately fired. At this point I didn’t care. I put the nugget in my underpants and went home. I didn’t get caught. I weighed the nugget—it weighed three ounces. I sliced off a little and headed to see the guy at the mall who bought gold. I got $200.00 for my slice. I went be back home and checked my nugget. The piece I had sliced off had grown back!

I was rich! We moved south from Alaska to Washington. We bought a small fruit farm and continue to live our lives modestly, forever grateful to the little girl in the mine.


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

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Epitrope

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.


Boy George sang of the Karma Chameleon, pouring his heart out over the instability it injected into Boy’s already flimsy relationships. “You come and go” was the refrain capturing his inconsolable sadness and frustration with this creature’s changing colors, with “colors” referring to affiliations, like a football jersey or a flag you might pledge allegiance to. I don’t have to tell you what that’s all about: chameleons, colors, inconsistency in affections. At once shallow and deep, feckless and faithful, cosmetic and natural.

But what about karma, as in “karma chameleon?” Karma: what goes around, comes around; you get what you give. Karma is like a rubber ball bouncing back at you off the wall of fate. Nice begets nice. Mean begets mean. Generous begets generous. Stingy begets stingy.

I tried an experiment with my non-Hindu Christian friends. I was really mean to three of them. I told one of them that they smelled like an elephant cage. She said: “I forgive you. You know not what you say.” I told her I knew what I was saying, and I meant it. I held my nose, and waved the other hand. She said “I forgive you your trespasses.” I thought, “Wait a minute. She’s a karma deflector, maybe it’s more complicated than I understand.” I was confused. So, I pushed my other friend down a flight of stairs. As they were loading him in the ambulance, he looked me directly in the eyes, smiled, and said “I forgive you brother.” I yelled “Karma thwarter” at him. He gave me the peace sign.

So far, as far as I could see, there was no negative consequence to doing evil to these people. Karma was null. My last friend, Ralph, might come through for me. I tied him to a chair and beat his face and head with a rubber hose. He said, “Forgive him father for he knows not what he does.” What? In all three cases nobody looked for revenge. They just wanted to forgive me. They were walking invitations to violence and humiliation. Were they Karma Chameleons? Did they take on the “color” of forgiveness as a temporary means of confusing their assailants while secretly planning their revenge? Were they so-called plaster saints? But it seemed on the surface, at least, that they were thwarting karma, and I was escaping retribution for what I had done. “Ha ha!” I thought—I had beat the rap. I went to bed with a shit-eating grin on my face.

I woke up smelling like an elephant cage. I could not wash off the smell. I got dressed and intended to go to the drugstore to get some kind of medicated soap. As I stepped out my door I realized my smell was karmic. Then, I fell down the stairs. As I was fishing for my cellphone to call 911, a masked person came out into the stairwell and started beating me in the face with a rubber hose. I pulled at his mask and saw the familiar face, albeit swollen and bruised, of my friend I had beaten to test my karma theory. “What about the forgiveness?” I sobbed through the blows. He said, “To err is human, to forgive is divine.”

I got out of the hospital today. I wish I had never heard of Boy George. Although “Do You Really Want to Hurt Me?” still appeals to me with its mysterious summoning of “really” to query the motive of his abuser. Is it possible to do something you “really” don’t want to do, as Boy seems to be asking?


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

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Epizeugma

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.


Going to the liquor store, library, and my daughter’s school play was an unusual sequence to say the least. Usually, I just went to the liquor store, bought the cheapest vodka in the universe, went home, cracked out some ice cubes, dropped them in my giant tumbler, covered them with vodka, threw in a couple of olives, and sat in my raggedy old chair and listened to rock classics on my blue tooth earbuds that I stole off somebody’s seat on the bus from Toledo. I loved Blue Oyster Cult and put “Burnin’ For You” on repeat until I passed out. My wife would wake me up when she went to pee around 3:00 a.m. She would prod me with a spatula until I woke up. Then, with my arm over her shoulder, she would lead me to bed. Once, I ended up on the front porch. It was cold, and I got a mild case of frostbite on my toes. My wife told me she couldn’t find me in my chair, so she figured I had gotten lost somewhere and she would find me “tomorrow.”

After the frostbite incident, I decided to just stay in my chair all night. I decided to start reading books. The TV was too loud, books were a perfect solution. So, after the liquor store, I started going to the library and checking out the night’s book. I needed something short so I could finish it between waking up and passing out again. I hit on children’s books as the perfect thing to read. I started with “Little Red Riding Hood.” Without going into detail, the story scared the shit out of me. I had to have two more vodkas to get back to sleep. And the story made me think of my own daughter. She had red hair, and we called her red. That night I decided, for the sake of my daughter, to clean up my act. Now, when I go to the liquor store, it’s to get Bloody Mary Mix—I make virgin Bloody Marys—no vodka. I go to the library to get a book to read to my daughter. I love mimicking the characters in the stories—like Billy Goat Gruff.

Tonight she’s playing a nondescript role in her school play. She plays a fruit-monger with a basket of apples. She walks across the stage once yelling “Apples for sale!” That’s the sum total of her role. She thinks it is great. She’s so cute. She’s our little star.

If I hadn’t stopped drinking, I’d probably be dead. “Little Red Riding Hood” saved my life. Next, I’m going to get a job.


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

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Epizeuxis

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


“Dive, dive, dive!” That’s what we yelled out the car windows as we rode past the shacks people lived in on the poor side of town. We thought it was really funny to make fun of poor people’s homes: it was a triple play: “dive” like they yelled on submarines, “dive” a low class establishment where immoral things happen, “dive” faking being knocked out in a boxing match—here “taking a dive” signifies corruption and maybe faking an insurance claim. These shack-dwellers are all corrupt—too lazy to work hard for a living, they run cons and steal. They are all in gangs and they shoot at each other all hours of the day and night. I tried to make friends with some shackys. They called me a narc and chased me off their turf.

How did they know I was a narc? I thought I blended in. I wore lots of gold chains and a racoon fur coat, and really expensive Demi-boots from Italy. I had watched a lot of crime shows on TV. My favorite was “Nick Craven: Undercover Soldier of Fortune Detective Rebel.” Mr. Craven was like a god to me. He killed an average of ten bad guys in every episode. He carried a Swiss Army machine-gun pistol. It had so many functions! It even had a built in vacuum cleaner to keep the seats and floor of his police cruiser clean! It also had a windshield ice scraper concealed in the pistol grip. The trigger guard excreted hand sanitizer. The gun bristled with knife blades that could be summoned by saying the secret code word (cheese). The blades were all over the map. From a skinny-bladed death-dealing dagger to a paring knife.

I had modeled myself after the best, but for some reason it didn’t work. I am going to get a red hat with a mirrored hat band and also have a couple of gold teeth installed in the front of my mouth. My sister says I’m a bigoted asshole and that I would do much more for humanity working at a Speedy Lube or Cliff’s. Maybe that’s true, but I’m going to give it another try as soon as I get my teeth capped.

Well, I got beaten to a pulp and they stole my hat, my tooth caps and my raccoon coat. I applied for a job at Cliff’s today. Now I understand that my attempt at going undercover failed because of poor clothing choices that made me stick out like a sore thumb. As it was, it was a parody of a stereotype wrapped in a death wish. My sister was right. I am better off at Cliff’s. But tonight, me and the gang are going “dive-yelling.” It feels good to be back on top again. “Dive, dive, dive you dirty losers!”

Postscript: The residents of Shanty Town built a barricade across their main street and soaked it with gasoline. When the down-yellers hit it with their car, the residents torched it, burning the down-yellers to a screaming crisp. Since the “accident,” Community Relations have improved. You know the old saying: “Sometimes you have to kill a car load of troublemakers to build a bridge.”

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

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Epicrisis

Epicrisis (e-pi-cri’-sis): When a speaker quotes a certain passage and makes comment upon it.

Related figures: anamenesis–calling to memory past matters. More specifically, citing a past author from memory–and chreia (from the Greek chreiodes, “useful”) . . . “a brief reminiscence referring to some person in a pithy form for the purpose of edification.” It takes the form of an anecdotethat reports either a saying, an edifying action, or both.


“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way.” Charles Dickens

This passage from “A Tale of Two Cities” reminds me of the first time I took acid, seeing the inextricable link between opposites, always existing begging for our allegiance to one, but never both at the same time. We live as victims of a dialectically opposed opposed calculus—in the throes of ‘either or’ as Kierkegaard wrote. We are set up by opposition, the foundation of choice. The choice must be made when we are faced with the dictum that something can’t be and not be it’s opposite at the same time under the same circumstances. Being “the best of times and the worst of times” can be at different times and places, under different circumstances, and perhaps, framed such that they appear best and worst simultaneously, but this not possible for consciousness to perceive—in succession, yes, but not at once while simultaneously discriminating between them. In a way, the perception of opposites takes turns, or they may synthesize into a new whole.

I had a golf club that I had inherited from my uncle. It was beautiful— it’s leather wrapped grip, straight tight grained hickory shaft, and a hand forged iron head. In it’s time, it was the best that money could buy. Now, it was eclipsed by every golf club on the market. Still, I used it. I played all nine holes with it. I was torn between my uncle’s legacy and the new model golf clubs that enabled greater accuracy and distance. I had become a laughing stock among my golf playing peers. It was painful, but my uncle’s club wouldn’t let me go. I didn’t know what to do. My heart was breaking. I wanted to play better. I wanted to honor my uncle’s legacy. I was torn.

Then, somebody stole my golf club. We found out that it was among the first golf clubs ever made, and it was worth at least $1,000,000. They caught the crook—one of my golf playing “friends.” The club was returned. I decided the best way to honor my uncle’s legacy was to sell the club so it would be displayed somewhere for everybody to see—perhaps at the PGA museum.

I’m not sure how this relates to a “A Tale of Two Cities” opening lines. I was lucky. If not, I would’ve been the main character in “A Tale of Endless Bogies.” If the club had not been stolen and returned, I never would have realized it’s value. Good came of bad. A sequence of opposites we all hope for.


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

Epilogus

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


I’ll tell you where we’re headed here. No, I better not. It is too frightening to imagine! It makes Freddy Kruger look like a angel floating over a field of blooming wildflowers waving in a gentle summer breeze. He would be wearing a freshly laundered striped polo shirt. He would be singing the theme song from “Brady Buch” in a beautiful soft tenor voice, clutching a bouquet in his stainless steel knife-blade fingers, with tears of joy streaming from his sensitive deep blue eyes.

This is what we might call contrast—the Freddie portrait is the exact opposite of where we’re headed. Where’s that? We’re headed to a face-to-face tax audit with the IRS at the regional office in Buffalo, NY. I’ve never been through one before, but I’ve heard it is like having hemorrhoids in your mouth, or combing your hair with barbed wire; or being doused in motor oil, wrapped newspaper and set on fire with a stick match.

I had to rent a Ryder truck for all my tax records, and as I was driving to Buffalo, I started having second thoughts about some of the deductions I had taken. For example, I wrote off sleeping every night as an education expense. I’ve always learned a lot from my dreams. I figured my sleep was worth $200.00 per hour, given what being awake is worth. In my business it would be $2,000 per hour. I sell ginseng supplements and and bidets on the internet. I travel to China every couple of weeks to check the facilities and engender goodwill toward my suppliers. It is a shame that my travel receipts were flushed down the toilet by my maid, and I have been unable to recall how I got to China, or where my passport is. Most of the paper in my truck is blank. I was warehousing it in California and the print was washed away by the rain. I generously pay my Secretary $14,000.00 per week. Every week she insists on giving me back $13,000.00 so I won’t fire her for “not playing along with the scam.” I don’t know what she’s talking about—she’s just a wonderful, generous employee. Then, there’s the pooping. I poop once a day, during business hours. I figure the time I spend on the toilet costs me $200.00 per day. That comes right off my profits, and deserves to be written off as a business expense.

There’s more, but suffice to say I’m looking at a fine, seizure of assets, and prison time—ONLY if I can’t make my case, and, let’s face it, I can’t. I feel Ike driving this truck into Lake Erie and renting a boat to Canada. I could fly to Cuba an reincarnate my business in Havana. To hell with the IRS. I have an escape and evasion plan!

Postscript: This man had a plan, but it didn’t work. He drove off a cliff into Lake Erie. The Ryder truck sank to the bottom before the man could unbuckle his seat belt. He drowned and left his wife and 6 children to fend for themselves.

The Lesson: don’t drive a Ryder truck off a cliff. Don’t cheat the IRS.


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

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Epimone

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


You: Give me a grilled cheese sandwich. I want a grilled cheese sandwich. Fromage on toast. Now! What do I have to do to get a grilled cheese sandwhich around here? What? Do you have something against grilled cheese, or me, or both? Ok, I give up. What about peanut butter and jelly, or tuna, or bologna, or liverwurst, or what? What the hell is going on here?

Me: Your rudeness has limited your sandwich choices to “None of the Above.” I can smear some tuna on your hand if you like. Or, some peanut butter and jelly on a paper towel. If you want something on bread, that would be horseradish, fish sauce, or red pepper flakes. Oh, I can also make you wasabi on waxed paper—a favorite with many of the rude people who eat here.

You: Ok then. Can I get a goddamn bagel with cream cheese?

Me: When you curse a food item, it becomes immediately unavailable.

You: Ok, wise ass. That’s it. To Hell with your whole luncheonette—what a stupid name anyway—Manna—it sounds like Nana with an “M.” Ha ha! I tried to have lunch at Nana—ha ha. I curse you. Go to hell.

Me: You should not have done that—you have aroused the anger of the Spirit overseeing and protecting the Manna food franchise.

You: You are so full of . . . argh!

A slab of lox flew out of the showcase and hit him in the face knocking him down. Then, he was bombed by pickled herring. Soaked with herring juice, he crawled out the door, where he was met by a band of feral cats who knocked him unconscious, and dragged him into the alley alongside Manna and ate him.

This is a gruesome story, but it could have been worse. Hmm. Come to think of it, being eaten by a band of feral cats is about as bad as it gets. The malcontent’s body was found the next day. The cats had picked him clean, like vultures.

Clearly, the Manna franchise takes care of it’s own. It is mentioned as far back as the Bible, when it consisted of traveling wagons that would catch food falling from the sky and distribute it to people wandering in the desert.


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

Buy a print edition of The Daily Trope! The print edition is entitled The Book of Tropes and is available on Amazon for $9.99. There is also a Kindle edition available for $5.99.

Epiplexis

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].


Who do you think you are? What do you think you’re doing? What gives you the right? How many times do I have to tell you? Don’t you get it? What’s the matter with you? What’s wrong with you? What breed of pig are you?

This is how my days began. Even though it wasn’t expected, I answered every question to the best of my ability: Q: Who do you think you are? A: A firebrand. Q: What do you think you’re doing? A: Eating my breakfast. Q: what gives you the right? A: The Constitution of the United States of America. Q: How many times do I have to tell you? A: As many as you like. Q: Don’t you get it? A: No. Q: What’s the matter with you? A: I lost my sheep and I don’t know where to find them. Q: What’s wrong with you? A: That’s the same as the previous question. I lost my sheep. Q: What breed of pig are you? A: I’m not a pig, but I’ll play along. Hampshire.

When my father ran away from home the daily interrogation did not cease. If anything, it intensified. Now, my mother would ask for advice: “What do you think we could do to find and kill your father? Should we shoot him, stab him, or drown him? Do you think they would catch me if I killed him? How much does a decent handgun cost? How much is airfare to Costa Rico? Do you think I would get alimony if I divorced him? Should I find a rich boyfriend?

I didn’t answer any of the dad-related questions. I didn’t want to be tagged as a co-conspirator. If Mom was going to do what she was going to do, she had to do it herself. I was a little worried about my younger brother Barney though. He had started drinking heavily when he was 12. His favorite drink was scotch and Coke. He always had one or two with breakfast when we were in middle school. One time he urinated in his locker. I asked him once why he drank so much and he told me it made the funny feeling in his brain go away. He had been run over by a motorcycle when he was 11, and suffered a pretty bad head injury. He got a huge insurance settlement and is set for life financially. It’s a shame that he drags one foot and has to drink to kill the pain in his head. He would make a perfect patsy for Mom’s murder plot. He already had a handgun, so he was halfway there!

I had decided to join the Army for three years to get away from it all. I wanted to be a truck driver, but they put me in the infantry. My job was to kill—with a bayonet, a rifle, or a hand grenade. I thought about the irony of leaving home to get away from all the talk of killing, only to end up in the Army where my job is killing. But in the Army, killing’s legal and you can get a medal! I couldn’t wait! Then I found out that enemy soldiers shoot back. I guess murder victims shoot back too, but far less than enemy soldiers. Oh well, I guessed I would give it a try.

So, I just heard my father was found in a ditch with a bullet in his head. Barney and Mom had both been arrested on suspicion of murdering Dad. Barney blamed it in Mom—how she kept asking him questions, got him all confused, put the gun in his hand and drove him to the motel where Dad was staying. After Barney shot him they dragged him to the car and threw him in the trunk, then, they drove to the outskirts of town and dumped him in a ditch. The up side of the whole thing was I got one month’s leave from the Army to “settle my affairs” on the home front. It was great having the whole house to myself. I wore a bathrobe all the time and even had a scotch and coke.


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

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Epistrophe

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


Time goes to the past and the future. Investment rides on the past and the future. Life is a waiting room between the past and the future. Then, there’s the present—where everything happens, but is instantly transferred to the past—a mountain of what was looming over the present, and accordingly affecting the the future. Time consciousness is consciousness. Unceasing from birth to death, until you can’t remember anymore: lost in the hum of now with no hint of the future—locked into something incomprehensible to the outside world. Without memory I can’t imagine taking the next step as I summon the last step as a guide to what’s next.

Somebody said “Time is a thief.” What does it steal? It steals your youth—maybe the most precious time of all. In a way youth lasts from birth until 40 years old. But, it peaks from 17-30. If you’re healthy, every bodily function is firing on all eight cylinders. You’re a purring Cheetah. You’re the warmth of the sun. You’re the 20 mile hike up a mountain peak. You’re in love, and making love almost non-stop—in the day, the night, the woods, on the couch, in the car, on a blanket—every way: standing up, laying down, on all fours, bending over, on your side, sitting. It’s complicated, but it epitomizes mutual pleasure, and in the mutuality of it all you discover the key to life: togetherness. It does not have to be sexual. It can be friendship, family, team play, partnership and more. If you’re not lonely when you’re alone, there’s something wrong with you.

But then, there’s timing, or, Kairos. The right time. The opportune moment. There’s a Biblical passage that points out that there is a time (a Kairos) for everything you can imagine, and often in opposition: a time to make war and a time to make peace, a time to live and a time to die, etc. You name it, there’s a time for it. There are no universals here: something may be true, and hence, everywhere the same. But, there’s a specific time to apply it. It may take wisdom to find the fitting truth, not just a truth, to guide a particular decision. That is, knowing truth is only a partial guide to apt decision making. While truth is timeless, it takes on its value in time, often in a clash with multiple other truths. And, the truth surely does not speak for itself: people speak on behalf of truth, and lies too.

So, whether it’s analog or digital, time inundates human existence. The better we understand time, the better we know what it means to be human. It is boundless, but at the same time it projects the horizons of our lives. It is the Alpha and the Omega. Or better yet, the Timex and the Rolex of human existence.


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

Buy a print edition of The Daily Trope! The print edition is entitled The Book of Tropes and is available on Amazon for $9.99. There is also a Kindle edition available for $5.99.

Epitasis

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.]


I was on my way to Barty’s Ark, the wildest bar in the Tri-state area. That’s saying something—New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania. Three states populated by crazy people. There’s a shooting every night at Barty’s and a couple of pole dancer kidnappings. These guys think that because these girls are totally naked they can take them. It’s biker gangs that do the kidnapping, especially the “Swamp Trompers” from Green Village, NJ, “Satan’s Dancers” from New York, NY and the “Conventions” from Philadelphia, PA. The girls are never harmed. They aren’t mistreated in any way. They come back to Barty’s wearing expensive designer clothes. I guess, what you should call what the gangs do “recreational abduction.” It gets Barty mad to be down at least three dancers every night. But what can he do? Especially since he’s not interested in losing his business, and committing “suicide.”

I have been hired by the “Tri-State Commission for the Study of Corruption, Crime, and Catastrophes.” I’ve been hanging out at “Barty’s” for two months running my undercover operation. I’m under cover as a 65-year-old lech. It’s easy for me to affect this identity because I am a 65-year-old lech. I didn’t want this assignment to ever end. Sitting on my spinning stool night after night, watching the nude dancers and befriending violent psychopaths, was nearly my idea of the perfect assignment. If only the bikers would go away. But they wouldn’t.

I grew my hair long and pulled it into a ponytail. I got a couple of fake tattoos. On my left shoulder I had Freddie Kruger with his hand-blades dripping blood. On my right shoulder I had a fake tattoo saying “1/6.” The tattoo is captioned “Let Freedom Ring.” My tattoos create a strong positive impression when I show them to the bikers. When they ask me what I do, I tell them I’m a mercenary & I’m home for a few weeks resting up before I go back to Ukraine. Works like a charm! I carry three concealed pistols: 1. One Glock on the shoulder, 2. Two Astra Cubs (one on each ankle). I also carry a 9” OTF switchblade, a box cutter, a blackjack, knuckles and an edge-sharpened credit card—buy you dinner? Slit your throat? Also, I had a load of cash—$200,000. It was almost to heavy to carry.

I won’t need any of this stuff—it’s a quiet assignment. Well, maybe I’ll need the money. A thirty-year-old dancer named “Spotify” has fallen in love with me. I told her I’m 45 and I love her too. I don’t know what I’m going to do with her. We haven’t been intimate yet. We’re waiting until we leave and start a life together. I haven’t seen my wife in 30 years. A divorce should be easy.

So, my assignment ended. Spotify and I took off in my Maserati for Morristown, NJ where her mother lives. She says she has to pick up some clothing and “belongings,” and say “Hi and Bye to her Mom. So, we finally get there. I have to pee really bad, so I run in the door fervently asking where the bathroom is. As I’m running past Spotify’s Mom, I realize that she’s my wife from 30 years ago, that Spotify’s my daughter, and that this is really insane. So, I peed, ran back out of the house, jumped in my Maserati, and drove away as fast as I could. “Just think?” I thought in terror as I hit 110 MPH. “Shit!” was all I could say.

I’ve started a new assignment. We’re looking at the son of a high profile, wealthy, public figure. It is alleged that he has a vast and illicit network of nefarious dealers in black market pink ballet slippers. That’s all I can say there. The second, tandem case, involves lumberjacks. They’ve been doing unfathomable and uncalled for things with their wood chips. I can’t talk any further about this.


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

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Epitheton

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.)


Godzilla was coming. He didn’t breathe fire. He didn’t have scales. He didn’t have a tail. He didn’t have a window-shaking roar. He didn’t have claws. Well, what did he have? He had size, bulk, breadth—he was BIG. 7’9” tall, 520lbs., size 18 shoe, size 60 pants, XXXXXXXXL shirt. This guy was big & he lived next door. He liked to come over for a beer and a chat. He had broken 3 chairs, so I bought one on line from “Jolly Giants” a company specializing in products for big people.

Godzilla likes being called Godzilla. It felt weird calling him that. His real name was Larry, but he says it doesn’t “fit” him. Ha ha! He shops regularly at “Jolly Giants.” The latest thing he purchased was quite expensive. It was a car. Jolly Giants refers to its cars jokingly as “Big Wheels.” The cars are custom designed for big people. They have special heavy-duty shock absorbers, big doors and a high roof. The most interesting accommodation is inside the car. It only has a front seat, pushed all the way into where the back seat would usually be. The steering wheel is in the center of the dash board along with the instrument panel and foot pedals. It has leather seats, halogen lights, and moisture-activated wipers. Of course, the cup holder is gigantic. Controls for radio, door locks, windows and cruise control are located on the steering wheel.

Godzilla has recently gotten a girlfriend. She can’t weigh more that 100 pounds. Godzilla hauls her around like a sack of potatoes under his arm. That can’t be too comfortable for her, not to mention the looks she gets as Godzilla carts her around the mall. Once, some guy yelled “Go baby!” at her and she was unfazed. Maybe it’s like riding a camel. I talked to Godzilla about it and he told me she couldn’t keep up with him, even at his slowest speed. That’s why he carry’s her. That makes sense to me.

I can hear him coming up the walk. “Hi Godzilla! Hi Flo!” “Hi!” they say to me. Godzilla drops Flo on the couch, and sits in his giant chair. “Want a snack and a beer?” I ask. Godzilla say yes and Flo says no. I get Godzilla a beer—five cans of PBR poured in a fishbowl and a “Dino-Sized” five-pound bag of chips that are for large parties, but suffice for Godzilla’s snack food needs. Godzilla works as a bouncer at “Holy Pole,” a topless joint on the edge of town. He told me proudly of a “bounce” he made last Saturday. “There was this guy bugging one of our servers, sticking his hand down her pants to give her a tip. She raised the alarm and I made the scene. I picked the guy up by the head with one hand, swung him back and forth like a pendulum, and then let him go spinning like a cartwheel out the door where he needed an ambulance to take him home. I was so happy I could do that for our server.”

Godzilla and Flo left. I couldn’t help but think that Godzilla’s going to get busted for manslaughter sooner or later. I’ll probably be his lawyer.


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

Buy a print edition of The Daily Trope! The print edition is entitled The Book of Tropes and is available on Amazon for $9.99. There is an additional edition available on Kindle for $5.99. Kindle