Aschematiston: The use of plain, unadorned or unornamented language. Or, the unskilled use of figurative language. A vice. [Outside of any particular context of use or sense of its motive, it may be difficult to determine what’s “plain, unadorned or unornamented language.” The same is true of the “unskilled use of figurative language.”]

I am an amateur organic chemist. I boil random things, cut them up and look at them on dishes or in cups from my mother’s China set. I also practice experiments in behavior modification. My last b-mod study was to use carefully metered electric shocks to train a duck to bark like a dog. The experiment almost succeeded as far as the duck developed a taste for dog biscuits, but barking was not going to happen. The duck survived the experiment. Now, it staggers and falls down when it walks and can’t do “ducks in a row” any more. He has been, what I call “deflocked.”

My “Mummy” stands in the corner watching me. When she died in the living room upstairs, I dragged her into the kitchen, took her apart and dried her out in the oven. Then, I put her back together and dressed her in her favorite red blouse, Campbell tartan skirt and my favorite apron, with the inscription: “I’d be a vegetarian if bacon grew on trees.” Every time I look at her standing there, I have to laugh. If Mom wasn’t a mummy, she’d laugh too, but if she laughed now, she would crack.

Today, I am trying to get one of my lab rats to moonwalk like Michael Jackson. I put him on my rat treadmill, and he keeps flying off the back and hitting the wall, and landing on the floor. I am thinking about making a papier-mâché moon, and then letting the lab rat walk on it. I’m not sure, but I think walking on a papier-mâché moon would constitute a moon walk. But, maybe I should try a different kind of animal—maybe a black bear or a box turtle. In the meantime I’ll set the slightly injured lab rat free down by the town dump. He’s nearly blind from hitting the basement wall so many times, but who knows, he may find somebody to love down at the dump and start a family. I sincerely hope he does not catch rabies, or some sort of social disease, from his rat-bride.

Paper and Kindle versions of The Daily Trope are available at Amazon under the title The Book of Tropes.

Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” ( Bracketed text added by Gorgias.

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