Chiasmus


Chiasmus (ki-az’-mus): 1. Repetition of ideas in inverted order. 2. Repetition of grammatical structures in inverted order (not to be mistaken with antimetabole, in which identical words are repeated and inverted).


At sunrise drinking strong hot coffee, at sunset he stalks the internet. He can’t stop clicking, looking for a trace of somebody to love—spending his wages in chat rooms, every one a dead end. When his money runs out, his time runs out and he is closed out of the room. Where should he go? What should he do? “Unhappiness anywhere is a threat to happiness everywhere,” he thought he thought as he looked out his window, down to the busy street. He had a sudden revelation. When he was a kid he listened to a radio program called “Big Joe’s Happiness Exchange.” He could start a blog and he would call it “Big Joe’s Happiness Exchange II” as a tribute. The only rules: nothing sexual, no death threats. People would message their wants in the comments box and he would organize them and keep people on track, making them happy.


He got the blog set up and waited. And waited, and waited. no messages except spam—life insurance, car insurance, gadgets for lonely people, ED remedies, US Army recruitment blurbs, security cams, Bitcoins. Blah, blah, blah. He got really mad and called the web host’s service number. A woman answered the phone with a sweet musical voice. Before he knew it, they were having a pleasant and lively conversation about climate change and how much they both liked Beer Nuts. Although she could get fired for doing it, she made a date with him. They were going to meet at a nice restaurant the next evening at 7:30. As she walked toward the table where he was waiting, he was elated. She was beautiful—totally beautiful. He shook her hand and they sat down at their table. He asked her if she was married. She said “Yes” and that her husband was waiting outside in the parking lot in their car. He looked at the floor, motioned to the waiter, and ordered a double vodka. His life was so screwed up. He grabbed the steak knife that was beside his plate and violently stuck it in the table. He asked her what the hell she was up to. She told him her husband comes along on her dates to make sure everything’s on the up and up. He pulled the steak knife out of the table and pointed it at her heart. He told her he was going home, and to say “Hi” to her nutcase husband.


Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (rhetoric.byu.edu). Bracketed text added by Gorgias.

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