Distributio (dis-tri-bu’-ti-o): (1) Assigning roles among or specifying the duties of a list of people, sometimes accompanied by a conclusion. (2) Sometimes this term is simply a synonym for diaeresis or merismus, which are more general figures involving division.

We’re a family! We are not a collection of individuals, but we are a living breathing lump of pulsing flesh genetically related with matching DNA. You’ve each taken a role or two to keep this a family: a father, a mother (Mom), a daughter, and a son. As father, I am in charge of everything. For example, I fill the car’s gas tank, I work at Big Larry’s Lullaby Landfill tossing metal items into a pile and throwing glass containers in the grinder. I mow the lawn and take care of home maintenance—plumbing, electricity, paint, and the garden. Eddy, you’re in charge of picking up all the crap that gets strewn around the house each week, feeding the cat and your 12 hamsters, and training them to do interesting things at birthday parties and other social events. Also, you run the dice game in the basement, keeping it honest and making sure we get our cut for the house. I’ve seen the Police Chief a number of times down on his knees rolling the bones with one hand a holding a wad of cash with the other. You’re doing a great job, Eddy! Cathy, you’re in charge of picking out programs to watch on TV. I’ve started calling you “Streaming Cathy.” You really know how pick them. The documentary we watched about the family who secretly lives in the basement of a Russian psychiatric hospital was incredible. I didn’t understand why they did it, but in the end it turned out they were crazy. You also do a great job of making us exercise on Saturdays. I never knew that there was something called Trumpercise until you showed us. We stand behind our personal lecterns vigorously waving our arms and saying whatever comes into our heads. I love yelling “Cinnamon buns are communist” and “Build the wall.” You also do a good job of taking care of your brother. He still can’t tie his own shoes, but I know you’re working on it. Now that he can tell time, we can count on him showing up when he’s supposed to. No more being two days late for dinner. And Mom—the list of things you do stretches to the moon: laundry, cooking, washing dishes, vacuuming, making beds, cleaning Verbal’s litter box, tucking me in and singing me a lullaby every night, doing it once a month, and making our kids feel confident by complimenting them all the time, no matter what they do. The way you mop the kitchen floor binds me to you forever. The smell of the suds, the squeak of the mop, the way you wiggle and grunt, and squeeze out the dirty water makes me feel like a kid again, before we were married and we were on the night crew cleaning offices all over the city.

We are a family. Like the veins on a leaf, we are all attached to the same stem. Someday you kids will leave, but me and Mom will carry on, visiting frequently, staying for weeks at a time and interfering with your lives.

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

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