Apothegm (a’-po-th-e-gem): One of several terms describing short, pithy sayings. Others include adage, gnome, maxim, paroemia, proverb, and sententia.

“If you can’t choo choo don’t call yourself a train.” Uncle Wizzer.

That’s what I’m telling you, and like any words of wisdom, they’re perfectly clear. Crystal clear, in fact. My uncle Wizzer taught this saying to me when I was eight years old. He’d gotten his nickname because he could run faster than anybody in Broken Hole Montana where I grew up. He was my mama’s brother and he never walked.

I’ll never forget the time I saw him running out of Best Buy with a flat screen TV. Ten people were chasing him and yelling. I couldn’t hear what they were yelling as Uncle Wizzer whizzed past me. Maybe I should’ve tried to tackle him, but as far as I was concerned, I told the police, “whoever he was” I thought he was probably in a hurry to get home and watch his new TV. Based on what I told them, the police decided I wasn’t an accessory. Also, “the perpetrator” wore a Goofy mask in the store and nobody could identify him. He tore it off when he came running out of the Best Buy entrance. That’s how I knew who he was. Also, he yelled “choo choo” as he ran past me.

The CCTV outside Best Buy caught Uncle Wizzer with his mask off. It was just a matter of time before the police caught up with him. Two days before he was arrested, he stopped by the house with a big rectangular package. I instantly knew it was the stolen TV. Uncle Wizzer handed it to me. We didn’t have cable TV, but I didn’t care because we had one broadcast channel from Billings. Every time I watched Captain Kangaroo, and Mister Green Jeans would say something wise, I would think of Uncle Wizzer and very quietly say “choo choo” to myself.

I couldn’t run as fast as Uncle Wizzer, but I could steal things, and I did.

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

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