Hysteron Proteron


Hysteron Proteron (his’-ter-on pro’-ter-on): Disorder of time. (What should be first, isn’t.)

The applause shook the building. I was on my way to my final performance of “Rigatoni.” Why am I hearing applause? Why am I in a building?

I’m not. I’m riding in a limo. Time is going forward and backward. I am a child. I am a baby. I am a teenager. I am warping full speed toward the end of my career. In 45 minutes I’ll be tossing the pasta for last time–smooth marinara sauce, spicy sausage, sumptuous cheese–stringy, sticky–the applause! Oh the applause. I haven’t done anything–the applause comes after, not before my performance of “Rigatoni.” Why am I hearing applause?

I’m watching the Weather Channel. I’m lost. How did I get here: I got out of the car. I got in the car. I took off my pajamas. I got in bed. I woke up. Oh, I know: it’s my birthday. Give me a drink and I’ll perform “Rigatoni.”

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

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