Chiasmus


Chiasmus (ki-az’-mus): 1. Repetition of ideas in inverted order.  2. Repetition of grammatical structures in inverted order (not to be mistaken with antimetabole, in which identical words are repeated and inverted).

I gave my life to my stamp collecting club. To my stamp collecting club I gave my life! My life dammnit!  Sitting for hours with a magnifying glass. Traveling great distances to meet with buyers and sellers. And then!

I am dumpster diving with my daughter on a hot June afternoon. We’re at the local college where the students have just left for the academic year. Each dorm has its own dumpster and the students toss a lot of good stuff–lamps, ball gowns, candy, even a wristwatch! But this year is special. My daughter retrieves what looks like a scrapbook. Whoa! Its a stamp collection. I page through it. All but one stamp is garbage–no value, as rare as the air we breathe. The one stamp that’s not total crap is almost a one-of-a-kind stamp: a stamp commemorating the invention of the yo-yo in 1210 BCE by Zeus Phallusidides, a Greek baklava merchant living in Sparta and supplying the Spartan government with tons of baklava for the naked army and also local peasants. He invented the yo-yo to distract his customers while his co-conspiritor Calliope Thermidor picked the customers’ purses.

Now, I had the stamp! It was worth at least $1,000,000.00. Climbing out of the dumpster, I tripped and fell in a puddle. I put my hand out to stop the fall and the stamp fell in the puddle. The puddle turned red–my hand was bleeding. We looked for the stamp for two hours, siphoning all the water from the puddle. No stamp. All we could find was a soggy fragment of baklava inscribed with a yo-yo.

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

The Daily Trope is available on Amazon in paperback under the title of The Book of Tropes for $9.95. It is also available in Kindle format for $5.99.

 

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