Paregmenon


Paregmenon (pa-reg’-men-on): A general term for the repetition of a word or its cognates in a short sentence. Often, but not always, polyptoton.


“Hurry, hurry, I have to go!” Damn, it was my wife. There I was sitting on our one and only toilet. Relaxed. Reading the latest issue of Popular Mechanics. I had hit on an article about drilling for oil in my own back yard. But now, I slammed the magazine shut, cleaned my butt, flushed, and opened the door. My wife almost knocked me down heading for the toilet yelling “Get the “F” out of my way, goddamnit!” She has a copy of People Magazine in her hand. Soon I’d be hearing about all the useless bullshit that goes on in Hollyworld—perverts getting divorced, new celebrity hair styles—a total waste of paper.

After living four years in our tiny two-bedroom house, with two people and one bathroom, I decided it was time for a change. It was crazy, but I was going to have a toilet installed in every room in the house—bedrooms, kitchen, living room. nobody would ever have to wait again, and nobody would be kicked off the toilet again in the middle of a literary moment. I needed to find a professional toilet installer to do the job.

I settled on “Royal Flush,” an upscale toilet installation service, owned and operated by Michael Drainoli. We went to high school together. He was big and strong, and a bully. He was disciplined for sticking weaker kids’ heads in the boys room toilet, and also, blowing up toilets with cherry bombs. When he graduated, he still 432 hours of detention left. As a condition of his graduation, he had to agree to serve out his time. It took him a little over a year, but he did it. The day he finished, “in celebration” he tried to stick the Principal’s head in a toilet. The Principal’s Secretary called 911 and Michael was arrested and convicted of assault. He was sentenced to two years probation, with community service, cleaning toilets in the Town Park, and other public buildings’ restrooms. That’s when he started “Royal Flush.” With his criminal record affecting his ability to get a job, and his experience with toilets, Michael started his own toilet installation, restoration, and maintenance business.

Now, he was preparing to install four stand-alone toilets in my house. They will not be cloistered in closets, making poopy-time a lonely vigil. No more locking the bathroom door out of fear—of being afraid of toilet-interruptus. And, from the outside, tentatively twisting the door knob, knocking, and calling out, and fearfully opening the bathroom door, dreading what may be going on behind it. No! There would be none of this in my house: you’ll just sit there with your pants down in the middle of the room, with nobody paying attention while you pee or make a plop, and if it so happens, some loud saxophone sounds with your butt.

Michael hauled four glistening white porcelain “ponies” into the living room. They were sleek and low-profile and very European. He had talked me into the bidet attachment, so toilet paper was a thing of the past. It was time to drill the inaugural hole in the living room floor and tie in water and sewer lines. He had a six-inch gasoline-powered auger. He pulled chord twice and it started. I said over the din, “How about there?” and pointed at the floor by the heating duct. He gave me the thumbs up, walked across the room, and started drilling.

Suddenly there was a loud explosion. Michael had hit the gas line. He was rolling around on the floor in flames and rolled over the spinning auger. It dug into him and got tangled in his shirt. Then, one of the toilets embedded in the ceiling by the blast came loose and landed on his head. I ran out of the house, singed pretty blandly. My beard, eyebrows, and hair were gone. Michael was killed by the falling toilet. I collected fire insurance and I’m building a three-bedroom house with three bathrooms lined up side-by-side upstairs, and one downstairs.

Sometimes I think about Micheal’s death by falling toilet, and quietly laugh.


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

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