Apocope (a-pok’-o-pe): Omitting a letter or syllable at the end of a word. A kind of metaplasm.

It was 1969 and I was goin’ to the go-go. I was drivin’ all the way to New York City from Beetroot, Iowa. I could’ve gone surfin’ USA, but I didn’t know how swim, and surfing required a degree of athleticism which I was lacking. I failed gym class in my senior year of high school because I couldn’t climb a rope hanging from the ceiling. I lost my grip, fell to the hardwood floor and broke my wrist in three places. My gym teacher was suspended for a month because he hadn’t put a mat under the rope.

While we were waiting for the ambulance, he stood there and blew his gym teacher whistle at me. I think he would have rather kicked me, or dragged me to the edge of the gym floor and left me there so he could continue the rope-climbing tests, or maybe go outside for a couple a’ smokes, until things calmed down and the ambulance left. His motto was “Do as I say, not as I do.” He was a hypocrite, but there was something about the motto that was redeeming. However, it also had a scary dimension. Once, he said to me “Burn in Hell you little bastard” I had popped out and we lost an important intramural baseball game. I didn’t know how to burn in hell, so I asked him. He told me to just keep doin’ what I was doin’ and I’d get there soon enough. It was the best talk we ever had.

I exited the Holland tunnel and headed uptown to the go-go. I parked in a garage that cost $200.00 for four hours. I got out of my car. New York smelled dirty and I had a 10-block walk to th’ go-go. When I got there, I looked through the window and saw some pretty girls go-going in cages above the dance floor. I paid the $100.00 cover charge and went inside. It smelled like beer, whiskey, and sweat. I was visibly excited. A cute girl was looking at me and nodding her head to the music.

“The Peppermint Twist” started playing and I asked her if she wanted to dance. She said, “Sure baby, but I’ll need a Singapore Sling first.” I got one for her and she sat down, hardly sipping it at all. “Peppermint Twist” was coming to an end, so I ran out on the dance floor to do some solo twistin’, like cool guys do. But, somebody had spilled a drink on the floor. I slipped and crash-landed. I had just gotten a pair of Beatle Boots, wore them to the go-go, and little did I know, they had slippery soles. My Nehru jacket was destroyed and the chain on my PEACE medallion broke. But the worst thing that happened was I broke my wrist again, and was waiting for the ambulance. But maybe even worse: when I fell, the girl I was supposed to be dancing with, ran over to me, pulled my wallet out of my back pocket a took off out the door, leaving me with nothing—no cash, no I.D., no credit card, no cat picture. Nothing.

Now, I was walking the streets of NYC after being rejected by The Salvation Army and several other shelters for appearing to be “solvent.” I had a dirty styrofoam cup and was trying to raise enough money to bail out my car. Then one day, I ran into the girl who had stolen my wallet. She told me how bad she felt, reached into her purse and, pulled out my wallet. I was saved! until I looked inside my wallet. It was empty. She had spent my cash and maxed out my credit card. She invited me to stay with her until I got back on my feet. That was four years ago. I do the cooking, keep the place clean, and take care of our baby. She works at the go-go. For now, this is a happy ending.

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

Paperback and Kindle editions of The Daily Trope are available on Amazon under the title The Book of Tropes.

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