Personification


Personification: Reference to abstractions or inanimate objects as though they had human qualities or abilities. The English term for prosopopeia (pro-so-po-pe’-i-a) or ethopoeia (e-tho-po’-ia): the description and portrayal of a character (natural propensities, manners and affections, etc.).


My bed was yelling at me: “Climb in! Get in here! It’s half past 2:00am.” Couldn’t my bed see? I was duct taped to the rocking chair. I had no idea how I got there. How could this happen in my own bedroom? Was I drugged and dragged? I thought I was because I had a sort of fogginess that does not come from lack of sleep. Then, my wife walked into the room. “You were doing it again, sleep walking without your pajama bottoms and trying to get in my bed. You were persistent, so I gave you a shot of fentanyl in your neck. You went into an immediate stupor. Our neighbor Ed, who is a terrific guy, helped me drag you and tape you to the chair. I know it seems drastic, but I’m off the pill, I don’t want any kids, and abortion’s illegal here in Indiana.” “So’s fentanyl,” I said. Just then, Ed walked into the room. He wearing black bikini briefs and black flip-flops. His outfit cried “I was having sex with your wife.” But that didn’t square with what she had just told me about being off the pill.

I was afraid to confront him because of the rumors about his past. He had a giant scorpion tattooed on his chest, and a big black rat on his left shoulder. It had a cartoon bubble that said “I’ll eat your face.” People said he had served in the Russian mercenaries, and was thrown out for playing “flaying games” with captured Ukrainian soldiers. In short, Ed was one wicked hombre. I asked them to untape me and help me out of the chair. My wife laughed: “The chair’s your new home wimpy pants. Ed and I have planned a crime spree that will extend across the Southeast, ending in Florida. we’re leaving you here to starve.” This was crazy. My wife used to be a kind, loving, loyal person. I knew she knew I would eventually free myself. Something stunk.

While they were getting ready to do their criminal deeds (I guess, loading firearms, mapping out escape routes, studying McDonalds’ floor plans and drive-in savings and loans), I struggled to free myself. I had briefly worked as a part-time contortionist when I was in college, performing at birthday parties. So, I had a few moves that might get me free. I tried the “Jelly Man” first—where you go totally out of joint and do the “Squirmarola” to get free—like a blob of jello on a mission. The duct tape adhesive poses a special challenge, but you can do the “Spot Sweat” and moisten the adhesive with bodily excretions. Once moistened, the tape slides open, and you slide free. It worked!

I got dressed and quietly went down the stairs. There they were. I expected them to be doing their version or the squirmarola on the couch. But they weren’t. Ed had dressed as a Catholic priest and was dribbling oil on my wife’s head. She was yelling “Hosanna” and holding her hands together in an attitude of prayer. This was so bizarre that I thought I was hallucinating, but I wasn’t. It was real. I was hiding behind the corner of the stairway wall, so they didn’t see me. When Ed was done “anointing” my wife, they embraced, rocked back and forth, and sang Elvis Presley’s “Hound Dog.” Ed sang the entire song in falsetto. Then, they howled and went “Yip! Yip!” and crawled around the living room floor on all fours, sniffing it like they were on the trail of something. After two circuits, Ed put my wife in a Great Dane-sized dog crate and dragged it out the front door. I watched as he loaded the crate into his van, and they drove away.

I was glad they were gone. There was indeed a crime spree reported in the Southeast. Their first target was a savings and loan in Alabama. They had escaped with over $200,000! Then, it was reported they were apprehended in Florida robbing a Sunglasses Hut. I was glad. Finally, they’re going to get what they deserve.

That night, I couldn’t sleep. There was a really bad smell coming from the basement. I wracked my brain and remembered that it could be Frieda the missing middle school teacher! I went down in the basement and there was Frieda curled up on a tarp on the basement floor, dead. Now that Ed and my wife were on the lam, I immediately reported the body to the police. They added Frieda’s murder to Ed and my wife’s litany of criminal offenses. It was the right thing to do.

I had liked Frieda a lot. We were close, but not close enough. She resisted my affectionate advances. I said to her decaying body “I’m sorry I had to send you away with a crowbar to the back of your head, dear Frieda.” Suddenly, there was pounding on the front door. It was the police. It was a ruse! Ed and my wife were working together with the police. They had discovered Frieda’s corpse when they were playing Dungeons and Flyswatters in the basement. The basement was bugged. The police heard everything.

I’m in prison and Ed and my wife are still going at it. She’s pregnant and we’re in the process of getting a divorce. I found out that the rumors about Al were untrue. He had served as a pastry chef at NATO Headquarters in Brussels. He was never in trouble. He never hurt anybody, he just had poor taste in tattoos.


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

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