Daily Archives: December 20, 2021

Antenantiosis

Antenantiosis (an’-ten-an’-ti-os’-is): See litotes. (Deliberate understatement, especially when expressing a thought by denying its opposite. The Ad Herennium author suggests litotes as a means of expressing modesty [downplaying one’s accomplishments] in order to gain the audience’s favor [establishing ethos]).


I am completely undeserving of this award. I’ve never done anything remotely close to the award’s intention. When I walked barefoot across Afghanistan, I wasn’t thinking about awards. I was thinking about saving my sorry ass from the Taliban who had stolen my shoes. They walked along with me, poking me with sticks and yelling at me through bullhorns. They did that for three days and turned around and left me as we approached an oasis controlled by coalition forces. They kept my shoes. The Americans thought I was hilarious. A Special Forces guy told me I was nearly “defeeted.” The medic bandaged me up. Suddenly we were under attack. The Americans jumped into their SUVs. One of them tried to carry me, but he was wounded in the leg and dropped me. I was stuck. And guess what? The attackers were the same Taliban who had stolen my shoes. Anyway, they let me go because I would die anyway. But I didn’t. I was picked up by a small Afghan circus troupe. They sold elixir as part of their act: Kabul Kaboom. It is a mixture of opium, juniper bark, rose petals, currants and the “No Name” ingredient, which was very special. The troupe made me work for my keep. Since my feet were a mess, they made work the “Hoister Chair.” They would hoist me into the air and then drop me on a pile of camel dung to the great delight of the audience who paid to watch. One night after being dropped into the dung nine or ten times, I took a swig of Kabul Kaboom which I had resisted doing up until then because I thought it might kill me. My feet healed the second I took the jug away from my lips. It was 2.00am, but I started walking anyway. By bare feet had turned into some kind of leather—I could walk across broken glass and feel no pain.

After walking for 3 weeks, I arrived in Kabul. I couldn’t get a ride along the way because the Kabul Kaboom had made my feet stink. I’d get into a car and everybody would start coughing and yelling, and I’d get shoved out the door. I’ve since gotten the stink under control, or I wouldn’t be here today to partake of your generosity and humbly accept this year’s Pedistench Award.


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

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