Amphibologia (am’-fi-bo-lo’-gi-a): Ambiguity of grammatical structure, often occasioned by mispunctuation. [A vice of ambiguity.]

I ate a dog for lunch. Then, I went for a ride on the ferris wheel. I always ate a dog at the amusement park. I liked my dogs boiled—the smell was delicious. With chopped onions a doggy was the perfect ‘day out’ meal. I didn’t like the big dogs they sold at one of the stands—too plump and sometimes not warm enough in the middle. You could always count on a little dog to be delicious—boiled to perfection and tender as cake. Sometimes I would eat two dogs! They’d be on my paper plate side by side, steaming their delightful vapor. When I saw I had them side by side—more than one on the plate—I jokingly called them a “litter.” My mother hit me when I said that—She yelled “Show some respect idiot boy!” I hit my mother back and we stared wrestling in the dirt. She always beat me, but I wasn’t going to let it happen this time. I yelled “Stop in the name of love” and Mother yelled “Pervert” and hit me on the head with a metal folding chair. That did it. I got her on the ground and stuck a leftover Fourth of July firecracker in her ear—if she didn’t like what I said, she could listen to a ringing sound instead. Mother kept moving her head around and I couldn’t get the firecracker lit. I left it in her ear as a reminder and we stood up. I was shaken so I took a big hit off my vape pen. Mother said she wanted to try it too. She took too big of a hit and started choking like she was going to die. I stood there in shocked amazement as she choked up a $100 gambling chip. I yelled, “Oh my God Mother!” and picked up the chip and held it up and looked at it. It was from Caesars in Vegas. Mother explained, “Your father and I were at a professional convention he was attending with his fellow lampshade collectors. He was opposed to gambling and made me promise not to gamble while we were there, but I couldn’t resist. I hit the craps table. I was standing there ready to place my bet when I saw your father coming toward me. I turned my back and swallowed the chip. It’s been stuck in my throat for ten years, constricting my esophagus. It helped me maintain my weight, so I made no effort to have it removed. Now you, my stupid-ass son, have caused it to become dislodged.” She hit me. I hit her back and, as usual, we wrestled to the ground. The firecracker was still in her ear. This time, I got it lit. When it went off, her hairspray-saturated hair caught fire and she ran down the midway where a man dumped a Super-Titanic fruit drink on her head and extinguished the blaze. Surprisingly, her hair looked better singed. The damage was minimal, so I ordered another ‘litter’ of little doggies and waited for them to boil.

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

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