Antitheton


Antitheton (an-tith’-e-ton): A proof or composition constructed of contraries. Antitheton is closely related to and sometimes confused with the figure of speech that juxtaposes opposing terms, antithesis. However, it is more properly considered a figure of thought (=Topic of Invention: Contraries [a topic of invention in which one considers opposite or incompatible things that are of the same kind (if they are of different kinds, the topic of similarity / difference is more appropriate). Because contraries occur in pairs and exclude one another, they are useful in arguments because one can establish one’s case indirectly, proving one’s own assertion by discrediting the contrary]).


My credit card is like a license plate on a Brinks Truck headed to the bank with a load of cash. Yours is like a dirty little doormat at the entryway of the Dollar Store by your dreary little apartment. They’re both credit cards, but there are some differences: I pay my bill on time, you don’t. I stay under my limit, you don’t, I don’t take cash advances, but you do—paying 16% interest, and wasting the cash on bulk-bin Gummy Bears, impractical shoes, blenders, and other stupid crap that, for some reason, you want to pay cash for, and, you don’t need.

The big difference here is taking responsibility: I am prudent, you are either stupid or reckless, or both. Let’s go with prudent vs. reckless: I was home drinking decaf black tea and watching the musical “Cats” on Amazon Prime while you were out drinking shots and beer at Ogles, bun-scanning every guy who came through the door, and buying drinks for everybody at the bar. Your best friend Renee told me this. I’m paying her $50 per day to keep an eye on you and report back to me. The reports have been shocking. Having sex in the trunk of a Cadillac? Anyway, let’s compare: my life is a smooth-running machine, yours has a broken crankshaft and is leaking oil all over the place. I handle my money like a fiscal surgeon. You handle yours like a cruel butcher. I pay my bills to the tune of an atomic clock. You pay yours to the tune of Cuckoo clock. The contrasts between us go for miles, but the clincher is happiness. The way I handle my credit enables me to be happy. The way you handle your credit makes you miserable. If you change the way you handle your credit, and be more like me, it’s likely you will be happier.

We’ll start here: give me your credit card. Let it cool off for awhile.

I went home and booted up her account. The password was easy to crack: her blood type and her birthday. What I saw shocked me! A $110,000 bill had been paid two days ago by a wire transfer made by Eddy Papa owner of the Papa Eddy’s Pizza franchise with over 200 locations in New Jersey, and Caroline’s big brother too.

I felt like such a jerk. Caroline knew her brother would cover her and was having one hell of a good time. While I sat at home eating canned chicken noodle soup with crushed saltines, she was running wild without any consequences, up until now. Now, I was the consequence, and I was going to ask her to buy us a sailboat so we could sail away—maybe to a marina in Jersey City or Cape May, and have some pizza. Pepperoni for me please!


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

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

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