Tapinosis (ta-pi-no’-sis): Giving a name to something which diminishes it in importance.
“My little man” my Grandma said as I walked through the living room to get another beer from the kitchen. Every time my Grandma called called me her “little man,” I could barely keep from flipping over her BarcaLounger. This might sound mean, but I was 24, 5’10”’ and 220 lbs. I wasn’t exactly a big man, but I was not little either. Grandma was stuck in 20 years ago when I could bounce up and down, drooling on her lap. She could move around pretty good back then. We could play horsey, hop scotch and marbles. Now Grandma’s ankles were as big as waste paper baskets, her eyesight was very poor (sometimes she would mistake me for her generation’s celebrities—like Red Skelton), and her joints sounded like loose floorboards when she stood up. Given her infirmities, I could’ve been more charitable when she called me her “little man.” But, I was only 5’10” tall. I was acutely aware of my height. “Little man” really got to me.
I wore elevator shoes and they jacked me up one inch—making me “almost” six feet tall. But, I felt like a pretender. Once, I went to the beach and kept my shoes on, until, at my date Betty’s insistence, I took them off. “You shrunk!” she said, laughing. I told her to stop and she just laughed harder, standing there with her hands on her hips. I hurled the bottle of sun tan lotion at her. It hit her between the eyes and knocked he out cold. I sat there for a couple of minutes. She was still out cold. I put my elevator shoes on her feet to teach her a lesson and then ran away down the beach. Later that night, there was a knock at the door. As I went though the living room to answer the door, my Grandma said “My little man.” I wanted to stop and strangle Grandma, but I had to answer the door.
It was Betty. She had a big red mark on her forehead where the sun tan lotion bottle had hit her. She had the bottle in her hand and hurled it at me. It missed me and hit Grandma who moaned and went into cardiac arrest. She died right there in her BarcaLounger. After we called the police to report the accident, I told Betty how grateful I was that she had killed my Grandma, even though it seemed weird. I begged her to forgive me for acting like a nut case at the beach. I begged her to give me another chance and go on another date. She said “yes” and we kissed alongside the BarcaLounger as the sound of sirens heralded the arrival of the police.
Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (rhetoric.byu.edu).
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