Dehortatio (de-hor-ta’-ti-o): Dissuasion.

Me: “You’ve got to stop with the cannolis. You make me eat two every day at fork point. I know you’d never kill me, but the look on your face says you might. Just because you found out your great-great grandfather was Sicilian there’s really no reason to pump out cannolis every day and make your husband, aka me, eat two every day. The first ones were delicious, and they still are, but they’re making me fat. I’m starting to look pregnant. I’ve got a cannoli bump and it isn’t funny. Don’t worry, I’m not going to give birth to a cannoli.”

“I’m all stopped up too. I haven’t pooped right for two weeks, even though I’m taking Miralax every night and setting off a toilet bowl explosion in the morning, I long for the old non-laxative mornings—I can hardly remember. For my sake, can you quit with the cannolis?”

“Wait! I have an idea! There’s a woman who just opened a store front offering seances! Let’s if we can summon your great great grandfather and ask him what to do.

Wife: “Sure stupido! I’d try anything if you’d just shut up and eat your cannolis.”

We arrived at Madam Stoli’s Friend of the Dead around 9.00 pm. We were ready to get a yes or no from Vincenzo, my wife’s great great grandfather. We gave madam Stoli the required $200 cash and the lights went out. We heard accordion music moving around the room. We were scared half to death. Madam Stoli asked “Are you Vincenzo?” The music got louder, clearly, a yes. Then Madam Stoli set things up: “Vincenzo, your great great granddaughter is here (the music rose). Since she found she is of Sicilian heritage, she started making cannolis and making her husband eat two per day.” The music’s volume dropped substantially, clearly signifying disapproval. “How about 1 every two months?” my wife asked. The volume of the music increased, with added exuberance, clearly signifying strong approval. I felt so relieved!

As we left Madam Stoli’s, I slipped her a hundred-dollar bill and thanked her. Our ruse had worked. I told her I thought the accordion was a brilliant touch, and asked how she did it.

Madam Stoli told me: “I don’t have an accordion or an accordion player, or even a recording of accordion music. Tonight, Vincenzo was here, and he was very helpful.”

Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (

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