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 am sick of mowing my lawn, but my lawn keeps growing. I was going to play Corn Hole with my daughter yesterday, but we couldn’t find it buried in the grass. So, we decided to play badminton instead, but the long grass slowed us down and we couldn’t get to the birdie in time to hit it. So, we gave up on father daughter play time and went our separate ways. I paid bills. My daughter applied for jobs on the internet. I thought, pretty soon the tall grass will make it hard to get out the front door and we will be living in Hay Fever Hotel.
Something must be done. But what?
1. Burn the grass; 2. Get a herd of goats to eat the grass; 3. Plow up the grass and replace it with gravel; 4. Move to the grassless city; 5. Hire my neighbor Mow to deal with my grass.
Let’s take these proposals one at a time and see if one rises to the top.
1. Burn the grass: no, no, no. My house will be surrounded by flaming grass and will probably catch fire and burn down; 2. Get a heard of goats to eat the grass: no. Goats smell bad, make lots of “baaa” noise, and butt people (looking at a lawsuit here); 3. Plow up the grass and replace it with gravel: no, no. Weeds grow out of gravel and look like hell. Also, vandals can throw fistfuls of gravel at my house, breaking windows and denting its aluminum siding; 4. Move to the grassless city: no. The up side of city living is no yard maintenance. The down side is that it’s the city: honking horns, crime, and way expensive. As a WalMart floor manager, I could never afford it. In fact, I would probably have to quit my job and start all over again, just because of my unruly lawn; 5. Hire my neighbor Mow to deal with my grass: Jackpot! Mow is a professional lawn mower. His nickname is short for his profession and he’s only 100 feet away. He mows his yard every day at 5 pm, even in the rain! His grass is as short as a golf course putting green—weedless too. His mower is what I call a “lawn limo.” It goes 30 miles per hour, steers with levers, has two cup holders, and a glass-pack rumble muffler. However, there’s a major stumbling block to securing Mow’s mowing services. I call it the “Hot Tub Misunderstanding.” Mow calls it “My Neighbor’s Death Wish.” Mow’s been divorced since the incident occurred 3 years ago. He has a hot young girlfriend now and seems a lot happier since he divorced Marge. So, I’m going to risk my life, go next door, and ring his doorbell. It would be cowardly to just text him. Maybe I’ll get to meet Mow’s new babe Melinda and have a beer or two with her. No matter what, I’ve got to get Mow on board or soon it will look like I’m living in a hay field. Which reminds me, I could just get a farmer to mow my yard, bale it up, and drive it away. But given all that hiring Mow has to offer, I’m going to give him (and Melinda) a shot.
Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (rhetoric.byu.edu). Bracketed text by Gorgias.
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