Antanagoge (an’-ta-na’-go-gee): Putting a positive spin on something that is nevertheless acknowledged to be negative or difficult.

Life is hard. But it’s life. It is better than death. At least that’s what I think sitting here in my big comfy chair with my remote control in one hand and a martini in the other and a full pack of Marlboro 27s on the end table waiting to be smoked. So, what’s hard about this? I’ll tell you: eventually, I’ll have to pull a “Hungry Wolf” TV dinner out of the freezer, read the microwave instructions, and put the damn thing in the microwave. Inevitably, part of the crust is still frozen when I pull it out. So, I have to shove it in for another minute. Then, the unfrozen part gets burned. What a pain in the ass! There’s just so much about making dinner that’s a pain in the ass—that makes it harder than hell just to eat. There’s a lot of other things too.

I have to drag my garbage cans to the street. Why the hell don’t the garbage haulers drive down my driveway and pick my garbage cans up? Same with my mail—up the driveway I go to get it. What the hell is the mail slot on my door for? Jehovah’s Witnesses” pamphlets? I know I’m going to hell—I don’t need a reminder from them. Then, there’s my job.

It’s not very much better than death. I am a professional birthday clown. My stage name Jabber Warble. I wear a baggy red and green striped costume, a blonde wig, and a big red nose. I don’t wear giant shoes. I think they are ridiculous.

I specialize in balloon tricks—winding up hot dog shaped balloons into animals. I specialize in 8-10 year olds: smelly little imps. I do mostly Dachshunds. I bark with a German accent and the kids love it. My most challenging balloon twist is the hot dog on a bun. It takes two balloons. Often the hotdog won’t fit in the bun laying down, so I have to ad lib. For example, I stick the hot dog in the bun at a perpendicular angle and make it fit. I tell the kids it’s a sail boat, but some of the mothers have told me it reminds them of something else that we could talk about after everybody goes home and their husband and kid have gone to the movies or somewhere else. It is really hard saying “No.” But, I need to maintain my spotless reputation. Once, a mother followed me home. She walked in the door and dropped her raincoat on the floor. She was naked underneath. She came toward insisting that I bark with the German accent. I strained my vocal chords barking. It was scary, and that’s what makes my job hell.

Anyway, life is hard, but it beats the hell out of death, or a coma. What do you do in coma? You lay there surrounded by beeping hospital equipment and tubes in your arms monitoring your descent into death, or incremental return to being awake. I think it’s pretty bad to be in that situation, even if you come back to life. It is like trying to do your income taxes on April 14th with no computer, calculator, pencil, or forms, filing for an extension the next day, and buying a plane ticket to someplace you’ve never heard of, like Belarus.

Remember: life is hard, but it could be worse. No matter how hard it gets, just be glad you’re not dead yet.

Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (

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

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