Exergasia


Exergasia (ex-er-ga’-si-a): Repetition of the same idea, changing either its words, its delivery, or the general treatment it is given. A method for amplification, variation, and explanation. As such, exergasia compares to the progymnasmata exercises (rudimentary exercises intended to prepare students of rhetoric for the creation and performance of complete practice orations).


Time to go Christmas shopping! It’s always fun buying Christmas gifts for people you love, and more or less tolerable for people you could give a damn less about, like the mail carrier, my cousin Lavern, or my friend from high school who works at MacDonald’s—a total loser, but I don’t want him spitting on my burger patty. It is a real challenge choosing gifts for people you think you’re obliged to buy gifts for—that you are coerced in some social way to give gifts to—that there are unpleasant consequences involved in not giving gifts to. It involves some kind of extortion, mainly because you get nothing in return except US mail, an appeased cousin and a spit free burger at MacDonalds. Merry Christmas.

So, I went on line. First, I Googled “gifts for US Mail carriers.” Google told me it was illegal to give gifts to federal employees. So, I tried Canadian mail carriers. Boom! Jackpot! There it was: a collapsible snow shovel! But wait, bear spray! I bought my mail carrier two cans of “Crying Ursine Bear Spray.” I’ll wrap them and put them in my mailbox on Christmas Eve. I think that might be illegal, but I don’t care. Next, I Googled “gifts for looser cousin who swears a lot.” 100s of hits came up, but one caught my attention. It was a kit for making signs to use to beg for money on the street. It comes with fifty clever messages and 100 more are available for a “low cost” on their internet site. One of my favorites was “GIMME 5 DOLLARS.” It is straightforward. I didn’t get this one: “Homeless! Need Credit Card!” Anyway, my gift may help lift Lavern out of her ditch. If I gave her no gift, she would throw rocks at my house again on New Year Day. She’s a tough customer. Then there was Giles. He’s been working at MacDonals ever since he graduated from high school in 2015. We were friends in high school, but we’ve drifted apart since I’ve made something of myself and he hasn’t, and for some reason he blames his failed life on me. Maybe it was the college scholarship we competed for. I won it, but didn’t really need it. As a consequence of losing, he couldn’t afford to go to college, and in his mind, it was my fault. So, I Googled “What gift do you give a man in a dead end job who blames you for being there?” I got fewer hits than the other two searches, but there was one that stuck out: Very expensive tile cleaner that Giles could use on his day to clean the rest rooms at MacDonalds. The tile cleaner comes with a special “absorbent” washable rag that “helps fights streaking.” By using Shinhonian, he may get a promotion or pay raise for extra good work, and, I’ll be relieved of worry about eating spitty burgers.

So, I finished shopping for my challenging gift recipients in 20 minutes. I hope the gifts get me off the hook again for another year. Now, it is time to shop for people I pretty much care about. First up, my girlfriend. Asking Goggle: “What gift do you get for somebody you are stuck with because of promises you made, her violent brother, and her allergies that require you to rub her back with terrible-smelling medicated cream twice a day?” Google referred me to Duck Duck Go for answers to my query. Unfortunately, I can’t tell you what I bought for her, but I can give you a hint: Hisssss.

Merry Christmas!


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

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