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).
Did I love my new shoes because they were so comfortable, or were my new shoes so comfortable because I loved them? They cost $600.00. They had better be comfortable, or is “they’re so comfortable” my line in the face of inquiries about my ridiculously expensive shoes? I tried everything to make them comfortable. I had to have a rationale for spending $600 on shoes.
Truth be told, no matter what I did I couldn’t make them comfortable like my other shoes. I used creams, sprays, rubber insoles, and saddle soap. I marched around my living room for hours trying to break them in. I wore thick socks.
I loved my shoes, but they didn’t love me. They actually became more uncomfortable, giving me a blisters on both heels. The shoes were making me crazy—reversing my life’s priorities and making me into a serial liar. Initially, I loved my shoes because they were expensive and would be a status symbol. I didn’t even consider their comfort until I wore them to work, and they hurt. Stupid me. My desire for a ready “comfort” rationale avoiding their status signification, and their ridiculous price, got in the way of truth—they became “comfortable” because it sounded better than $600.00 and a status boost as rationales for owning them. I wanted to seem innocent of status mongering. I wanted to represent their appeal to me as comfort, not class. “Class” would seem accidental—it was “really” about comfort.
I’m donating the torture shoes to Good Will where they’ll probably sell for $5.00 or less. This whole thing has taught me a lesson: You can’t make shoes be what they are not by saying that they are what they’re not. This lesson probably extends beyond shoes, most likely to relationships.
Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (rhetoric.byu.edu). Bracketed text added by Gorgias.
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