Apophasis (a-pof’-a-sis): The rejection of several reasons why a thing should or should not be done and affirming a single one, considered most valid.

Should I burn down my house?

1. My neighbors will feel sorry for me: Ha ha! They hate me.

2. The flames will be beautiful to look at and smell like a campfire: sounds wimpy.

3. The ugly living room couch will finally be history: good reason, but not good enough, and it might survive given federal regulations requiring furniture to be fireproofed.

4. I’ll be on the TV news and the internet too: only if I get caught! Bad!

5. I will collect the insurance money: yeah, bingo—collect the insurance money! I’ll move to Costa Rica—no extradition!

I’m headed to the garage to get the gas can. Damn! It’s empty and I don’t have any lighters, or even matches. Now, I’ll have to go to Cliff’s, get some wooden matches and fill my gas can. Hmm, while I’m there I might as well get some scratch-off Take Five lotto tickets, and a pizza, a couple of Diet Cokes, some windshield washer, toilet paper, sunglasses, deodorant, gum, and a pair of socks.

You know, burning down my house may not be a good idea. Even if I collect the insurance money, I will probably get caught, go to jail, and not be able to shop at Cliff’s any more. That would be hell. So, I’m going thumbs down on the arson thing and I’m headed to Cliff’s to do a little shopping. I wonder what color socks I should get?

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

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