Periergia (pe-ri-er’-gi-a): Overuse of words or figures of speech. As such, it may simply be considered synonymous with macrologia. However, as Puttenham’s term suggests, periergia may differ from simple superfluity in that the language appears over-labored.
He told me he had given the gift that keeps on giving. Given his character, my first thought was the clap. “What the hell is wrong with you?” I asked. He answered, “What’s wrong with giving your kid a $500 savings bond on their birthday. He’ll be able to collect in ten years. I guess that’s when it stops giving. It’s like a gold mine tunneled into the future, or a dog digging a hole in the back yard to bury a bone, or a duck flying south, or migrating caribou, or a stink bug on your window in early Fall, or a. . .” “Shut up! I get it!” I yelled. I still thought he gave somebody the clap, it’s the kind of thing he would do on his son’s birthday. My thoughts were disgusting me. I decided to go home.
I opened the front door and walked into drearyland. The curtains were drawn. It smelled like stale cigarette smoke. The living room had a couch with a worn floral pattern. There was an old flat screen TV, a tray table and a poster of the Troggs singing “Wild Thing.” at a concert somewhere. The kitchen and bedroom were done up in swimming pool furniture that my mother had given me after they had their pool filled in—after the tragedy. Grandpa’s pet muskrat had been sucked into the pool skimmer and drowned. Nobody knew how this could possibly happen. Musky had been in the pool 100s of times, and he would actually have to stick his head into the skimmer to drown. And that’s what the pet psychic told us after she laid her hand on Musky’s dead body. Musky had committed suicide. The psychic told us she couldn’t get a clear reading. The best she could do was feeling the constant bickering between grandpa, mom, and dad that probably drove Musky crazy. He couldn’t take it any more. Who would’ve thought that a muskrat could be so deeply affected by their roommates?
Thinking about my “gifts that keep giving” conversation, I started thinking about savings bonds again. What kind of legacy would I leave? Currently, it would be nothing, or next to nothing. Then I remembered that my mother had stored some boxes in my basement. Among the goodies, there was a strongbox with my great grandfather’s name on it. I rummaged around and found it over in a corner by the furnace. It was about the size of a shoebox and it was locked. It said “Beware! Do not ever open this strongbox” with a crude skull and crossbones drawn on the lid. Mother had told me that it contained a $500 savings bond that great grandfather had bought after the war. It was probably worth thousands now. But what about the warning on the strongbox’s lid? How bad could the consequences be? It was just an old rusting strongbox.
I smashed open the strongbox, and there was the $500 savings bond, but there was also a dark-blue beetle inside too. It skittered up my arm and burrowed into my ear. Subsequently, I lost my hearing in my left ear. It has affected my balance too, and I feel a soft tickling behind my left eye. The savings bond was counterfeit. Obviously, great grandfather was swindled.
I have been to the doctor three times and he can’t find anything wrong with me, and he won’t even verify my hearing loss. He told me “It’s all in your head.” Yeah, right. I never should have opened the strongbox. I stumble around and the constant feeling behind my eye makes me angry and irritable. I can’t work. I can’t play. I can’t even carry on a conversation without yelling. When my friends ask me “What’s bugging you?” I yell, “Nothing! It’s all in my head. Ask my Goddamn doctor, he’ll tell you!” Then I heard a voice in my head “Calm down Stew. I am reframing your brain. Soon you will become a world-famous poet, adored by all who hear or read your awords. So, have no fear, your healing is nearly done. Just listen to me, the dark-blue beetle, not Stew the useless idiot. Your poet name will be Codeine Jones. Take a break now, I’ll get back to you later. We’re almost there.”
I headed home to turn on the gas.
Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (rhetoric.byu.edu).
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