Catacosmesis (kat-a-kos-mees’-is): Ordering words from greatest to least in dignity, or in correct order of time.

I woke up. I laid there for awhile thinking about my first wife and all the bills I had to pay. I finally got up, peed, headed to the kitchen and made coffee—rich powerful coffee. It woke me up and made me poop. Coffee’s the most amazing beverage in the pantheon of drinkables. I’ve been drinking it since I was 17 when my Uncle Randolph showed me the way. I had been kicked out of school and my parents made me work with Uncle Randolph restoring my Grandma’s roof.

I poured my cereal into my Bozo the Clown bowl I’d had since I was six. This week I was eating Maple Puffs—they have a picture of a maple tree on the box and the inscription: “No trees were killed in making this delicious natural cereal.” I always wondered what was killed—truck drivers delivering Maple Puffs in Alaska? I dumped in the milk—“Nature’s Life.” It tasted good, so I kept buying it. It had a picture of a stampede of milk cows on the carton with fire blowing out of their nostrils, some with milking aparatus still hooked to their udders. So, I finished breakfast and headed for the shower, but first, I pooped. As usual it stunk, so I sprayed air freshener and turned on the exhaust fan.

My shower was my favorite part of the day—hot water blasting me in the face and butt like a cloudburst in Death Valley, where I’m guessing the rain is hot. Next, I turn off shower, dry off, put on deodorant, comb hair, brush teeth, shave, put on my new aftershave: Night Pecker. I didn’t care if it was intended for night: I was always ready for action anywhere, all the time, and that included work.

I got dressed. I was sharp. I was still cool with the clothes after forty years. I pulled on my black Haines underpants and socks and turtleneck-T. Today, I’m wearing my denim suit—baggy with giant bell bottoms two feet wide and high-heeled Frye cowboy boots—considered a valuable antique in some circles.

Time to go to work at Fred’s Zero Sum Games, where I’d been employed ever since I can remember. Instead of emphasizing winning, our games emphasize losing. So, I get in my car, a rusted and dented red Corvair. I turn the key to get the car started and get going to work. Nothing happens. It’s probably the squirrels again. I walk around to the back of the car and lift the hood. There’s a nest of mice under the hood. I get the lug wrench out of the trunk so I can beat the baby mice to death, but I change my mind. I go inside and get my cat Clarabell. I throw him under the hood and he turns and hisses at me. The mother mouse shows up and rubs noses with Clarabell. Together, mouse and cat carry the babies away from the car and into my tool shed. I look under the hood and see the spark plug wire that had become dislodged. I popped it back on the spark plug, got in the car, started it, and drove off to work. As I pulled in the parking lot, I wondered how many other alliances Clarabell had made. One day, when I was home from work sick, a bear came to the back door.

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Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (

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