Periphrasis (per-if’-ra-sis): The substitution of a descriptive word or phrase for a proper name (a species of circumlocution); or, conversely, the use of a proper name as a shorthand to stand for qualities associated with it. (Circumlocutions are rhetorically useful as euphemisms, as a method of amplification, or to hint at something without stating it.)
I acted like a child—varying from 1-3. I had “Kid’s Disease” a very rare condition causing the subject to want to be coddled, showered with toys, watch cartoon reruns on TV; and eat jars of strained peas, applesauce, and minced poultry, and drink sippy cups full of milk, and boxes of pear juice. My mother was no Doctor Spock, or she would’ve whipped me into shape years ago. The giant playpen and high chair must’ve set her back thousands. The adult-sized custom-made Polartec onesies must’ve set her back a few thousand too. I could go on—the car seat, the crib, the sandbox, the potty, etc.
But I didn’t care. I had gained fame from a newspaper article about me. Subsequently, I was interviewed on a couple of blogs and appeared on “Screwed Up People,” a daytime TV show with a huge audience. I was known in the media as “Baby Big-Rig,” due to my size—it also sounded good with my first name, Billy. “Billy Baby Big-Rig throws toy, Billy Baby Big-Rig punches cat, Billy Baby Big-Rig Slashes Pram With Box-Cutter.” Yes, I was becoming dangerous. I tried to stab my nanny with a crayon, I left toys on the stairs hoping my mother would trip and fall down them. I hoarded my pear juice and dumped it in the kitchen drawers. Despite my “Baby” guise, I could walk when I wanted to. I could even drive—roaring along the freeway in my mother’s Subaru in my red onesie, headed for Larry’s Bar. I would steal money from the “cookie jar” and go to Larry’s for a good time. Maybe the best part was my grand entrance in my red onesie suit. Everybody cheered and lit their cigarette lighters and held them up high. Then I would get drunk and hit the Karaoke stage. I would perform the Ronetes “Be My Baby” and “Baby Love” by the Supremes. Larry’s went wild—they threw baby pacifiers at me and chanted “Baby Big-Rig, Baby Big-Rig.” It was exhilarating. Somehow, I needed to make this into a money-making enterprise.
So, I got a manager. For 20% Red Salter would do publicity, book venues, handle the books and merchandising, and take care of my baby needs. Already, our Baby Big-Rig onesies were sweeping the world of fashion as we franchised them to major labels, including Chanel. People were buying our giant cribs with the special “Lulabye and Good Night” mattress—guaranteed to “make you sleep like a baby.” I learned pole dancing. My “pole” was a giant baby bottle with special handgrips I could hold onto when I hit the pole. I also hired a back-up group of nanny’s called the “Ba-Ba’s” whose cordless microphones were baby bottles.
I started punching people for no reason. The lawsuits were mounting up. Mr. Salter had disappeared. I still had $5,000,000 stashed in a private account. I was fixed for life. But I needed an outlet for my increasingly violent tendencies. So, I quit the music business and became a professional wrestler. My wrestling name was “Baby Boom.” I was an ass-kicking menace. Wearing my red onesie, I’d dive into the ring and crawl around like a baby, and then, stand and capture my opponent in my classic “Goo-Goo” headlock, burning his neck with the sleeve of my Polartec onesie. The crowd would chant “Baby Boom, Baby Boom” and I would throw him to the mat and sit on his face with my onesie-covered “footies” pinning his shoulders. I made a few million more wrestling.
One day, I woke up and didn’t want to be a baby any more. I was 29 and I was rich. I put on a pair of blue jeans, a Baby Bam-Bam t-shirt, and a pair of Nike trainers. That was it, I wasn’t a baby any more. I picked up a box of pear juice and headed out the door.
Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (rhetoric.byu.edu).
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