Antisthecon


Antisthecon (an-tis’-the-con): Substitution of one sound, syllable, or letter for another within a word. A kind of metaplasm: the general term for changes to word spelling.


I was going snackelling under the Caribbean Sea. You ask: What the hell is that? It is probably the most stupid immature thing I’ve ever done. I was 35 years old. Starting to get a few gray hairs, and softening up, as time took its toll on my muscles. I wore reading glasses and had quit smoking my cherished Cohibas. Yet, here I was wading into the beautiful clear turquoise-blue Caribbean, like I had around 15 years ago, on spring break with my buddies Edward and Phil and Joanne. We invented a game to play when we went snorkeling—we cut up carrots from the hotel’s salad bar into little pieces. We’d put the pieces into baggies and take them under water. Then, once we got into the middle of a school of fish, we’d put a piece of carrot between our lips and the fish would swim up to our faces and grab the carrots—we named this game “snackelling.” Now, I had returned to the Bahamas on a business trip, meeting with hoteliers to discuss their restaurant equipment needs—that’s what I did—I sold ovens, dishwashers, prep tables and everything else needed to properly equip a hotel kitchen. Feeling like I was drifting into middle age, I decided to do a reprise of snackelling. I picked up a carrot at the breakfast buffet, diced it up, and dumped the pieces into a baggie I got from the chef. I headed to the dock, and hired a guide with a little motorboat. When we got about 100 yards offshore, I put on fins and mask, bit down on the snorkel’s mouthpiece, jumped out of the boat, and headed down. I swam directly into a school of Surgeon Fish. I put a piece of carrot between my lips. Suddenly, the whole school of fish disappeared. I looked up and there was a Barracuda headed straight for my face. I froze in terror and the Barracuda bit my nose off. Bleeding profusely from my nose, I swam as fast as I could to the surface where my guide was waiting. I kept kicking the Barracuda away, and finally climbed into the boat. Sticking pieces of carrot into what was left of my nose, I was able to slow the bleeding. We headed for the emergency room where my nose was stitched together with some pieces missing that were temporarily replaced with pieces of foam rubber cut by the surgeon from a shower mat. Since then, I’ve had nose replacement surgery, opting for the “Klinger.” The Klinger is named for a character on M.A.S.H., a TV show that ran in the 70s and 80s. My Klinger is memorable and prompts people to ask about my ethnicity, something my original “Scottish” nose never did. Even with the new nose, I can’t forget what happened to me. Every time I hear somebody say, “The nose knows,” I think to myself, “My nose was eaten by a fish.”


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

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