Thaumasmus (thau-mas’-mus): To marvel at something rather than to state it in a matter of fact way.

I had a real problem with envy. No matter what it was, I envied it. No matter what it was, I’d stand there with a frown on my face and say “Wow, that is sooo amazing, I want it. It will change my life.” My father mistakenly called my problem “greed.” He’d say “You’re a greedy little bastard, but at least you’re my little bastard.” It gave me great solace knowing that his figurative ownership of me helped soften his disappointment and disrespect. My Priest, Father Trinity, called it covetousness. He told me not to covet my neighbor’s house or wife. It had never occurred to me before he mentioned it. But, I vowed that when I got a little older, I would covet Mrs. Ringer, my next door neighbor. She always smiled at me when I peered over the fence at her when she was hanging out laundry. My high school gym teacher told me “There’s no I in envy.” He was completely wrong, but he used the “There’s no I in . . .” saying for everything. Once he said “There’s no I in dump truck.” It was true, but nobody understood the point he was trying to make.

So, I had this nagging pain in the pit of my stomach all the time. It was like I was constantly competing in a game that I couldn’t win. In the “enveysphere“ you never win, instead, you want. When the envy switch is turned on, you can’t or don’t have what you envy. For material possessions, if you obtain them, the envy may may fade away—your new Maserati, yacht, or Rolex may bring you peace. Nevertheless, one incentive to push hard through life, is to get rich and be envied, but, envy-inducing tokens are nearly endless—from underpants to undersea adventures, they add up to nothing. My problem is endless: I don’t care what you have. As long as I don’t have it, I envy it. The worst has to do with my looks: I am a godsend to my plastic surgeon. I’ve had my body adjusted and readjusted so many times, you wouldn’t recognize me from 10 years ago. I’ve even had things undone; my fat lips for example. I had them drained and they’ve yet to return to “normal.” My hair has been dyed so many colors that it has become an “unknown” color and it is being studied by Sherwin Williams technicians as a possible new hue for their paint palette. They’re considering calling it “Wall of Mystery.” It’ll be used to paint garage interiors or closets.

So, now I’m dying of envy. I used to say that as a metaphor that I never really thought about. But, now I am dying of envy. At some point, last year, I started envying dead people. I started going to funerals as a hobby. The deceased seemed to have it made, especially the ones reduced to portable urns. Since envying the dead has induced me to follow the dead, I feel like every day I’m more conscious of being closer to death, which, without the consciousness, is true of us all anyway. The problem is I can’t ask an urn of ashes, “How’s it going in there?” Unlike, asking “How’s your new condo?” with an answer returned by its owner, dead people don’t answer. But anyway, I’m still dying of envy. If it was cancer or COVID, it would be a different story. But for now, no matter how indiscernible or incremental, I am dying of envy because I envy the dead.

Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (

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