Amphibologia (am’-fi-bo-lo’-gi-a): Ambiguity of grammatical structure, often occasioned by mispunctuation. [A vice of ambiguity.]
The boy bit into his grandmother’s finger. Her fingers were the best! After this one there would only be three left. He loved sprinkling powdered sugar on her fingers. Grandma didn’t like it, she thought it ruined their taste— “Too damn sweet,” she’d say.
After grandma died, there were no more fingers. As the boy grew older, he vowed to have his own fingers to eat. To pursue that goal, he became a pastry chef. He came up with a perfect replica of his grandma’s fingers. People loved his grandma’s fingers. They were in Gourmet Magazine and the food sections of newspapers around the country. Headlines read “Give me the finger!” “I’ll lift a finger!” “No need to cross these fingers!” There were hundreds more kudos coming from every direction. So, he decided to produce “Grandma’s Fingers” commercially. Each box would contain 10 fingers. They would have powdered sugar on them and would filled with the secret red filling.
“Grandma’s Fingers” flew off supermarket shelves and were ordered by the thousands from Amazon. Meanwhile, his jealous sister found a plastic bag in her brother’s freezer. Inside was one of grandma’s fingers—the kind with a knuckle and a finger nail. “No wonder Grandma was buried wearing gloves!” she exclaimed The police were called in to investigate. Her brother said he had no idea what was going on. He loved his grandma. His jealous sister, on the other hand, had tried once to push grandma down the basement stairs and one time had loosened a wheel on her wheelchair and let her roll down the driveway. The wheel stayed on.
The police discovered a homeless man had recently checked into the emergency room with a chopped-off finger. When questioned, he described the woman who had paid him $50.00 for his finger, and who had chopped it off with a meat cleaver. It was the jealous sister. She was tried and convicted and sentenced to five years for “Depriving a person of a digit.” Ironically, she has been assigned to the prison bakery.
Her brother, on the other hand, has been fighting in court for permission to have grandma’s finger freeze dried so he can have it mounted and hung on his office wall.
Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (rhetoric.byu.edu). Bracketed text added by Gorgias.
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