Dicaeologia (di-kay-o-lo’-gi-a): Admitting what’s charged against one, but excusing it by necessity.

A: Did you take my mother’s ashes off the fireplace mantle?

B: Yes, but I was forced to do it by our house cleaner. He refused to “dust the dead” and told me if I didn’t get the ashes out of the house immediately and forever he would quit right on the spot. I panicked. I had no choice.  I picked up the urn, ran out to the garage and put your mother’s ashes on the shelf alongside the mole repellent. I know your mother would like that.  She was so fond of furry little critters. Remember the time Spotty brought home the little wriggly bleeding vole when your mom was visiting from . . .

A: You call that an excuse? It sounds more like the beginning of an episode of “American Horror Story.” What are you going to tell me next, that you’re going to enjoy choking on the bag of used kitty litter out on the back porch?

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

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