Tmesis


Tmesis (tmee’-sis): Interjecting a word or phrase between parts of a compound word or between syllables of a word.


I’m from New-friggin-Jersey— and Bruce and Frank and Thomas light bulb Edison too. I was the back-flash-lash: if you didn’t respect me, bang on your head. Growing up, the first word I learned was “con.” The first words of wisdom I learned were from the tattoo-covered guy down the street: “If you can’t do the time, don’t do the crime.”

OK—I’m kidding. I did grow up in New Jersey, and it was great, sure, there was a bit of crime here and there, but there was so much more. What about the shore? Seaside Heights—the boardwalk and the beach, the rickety rides like the Wild Mouse and the Tilt-A-Whirl. The Wild Mouse was the scariest ride I ever went on—it made you feel like you were going to derail—it had runners under the tracks to hold it on the tracks, but every once in awhile they’d break and the mouse-car would fly into the Atlantic Ocean. Nobody was ever killed as far as I can remember. When my daughter was around 8 they had a version of the Wild Mouse at the New York State Fair. She begged to go on it. I capitulated after telling her ten or fifteen times the ride was the scariest ever. We took the ride. We got off and my daughter couldn’t talk for ten minutes.

The Tilt-A-Whirl is a big circular thing with a wall, like big jar lid. Everybody gets strapped to the wall. It starts rotating, faster and faster until there’s enough centrifugal force to tilt it to a ninety-degree angle to the ground. my most memorable experience on the Tilt-A-Whirl was getting hit in the face by a shoe that had flown off the person across from me. Luckily, it wasn’t boot.

Anyway, growing up in New Jersey was great. I even went through Army basic training there; at Ft. Dix during the Vietnam War. I had my first legal drink at Ft. Dix—watered down beer. No matter how much I drank, I couldn’t get drunk. I missed the liquor store back home where they never checked ID. Missing a “liberal” liquor store is a Jersey Boy’s version of homesickness. So to help me and my fellow trainees cope, I set up a little import business. I had a “friend” in New Egypt, about 5 miles from the Fort. But hey, that’s another story.


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

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