Cataphasis (kat-af’-a-sis): A kind of paralipsis in which one explicitly affirms the negative qualities that one then passes over.
Lars: I am making a rowboat in my garage. I never built one before. I have no plans. I don’t know how to row a boat. There’s no place to launch it for 300 miles.
You know my name is Lars Stockholm. I am descended from Vikings. When I die I want to go to Valhalla in a burning boat. I want to wear a Viking hat with cow horns on it, a shaggy fur suit and carry this wooden sword and metal garbage can lid to shield me from danger, although I will be dead and it won’t matter. Nevertheless, it pays to plan ahead—there might be danger lurking in the afterlife, especially for people of Viking heritage. Maybe I should just wear a nice suit and have a traditional burial, or be cremated, like my uncle Sven. No! I’m going full Viking. I don’t care what terror I meet with. Heimdall will protect me. I am sure of it. Why have a protector god if he does not protect you? Haha!
Me: Are you working on a deadline with your boat? That’s a joke. Anyway, you’ve done some stupid things in your life, but this tops them all. It is against the law to launch burning boat. The fine is $10,000 and 2 years in jail for the illegal disposal of human remains. One thing you can do, is have your boat doused with gasoline, launch in your in your back yard in-ground pool, and throw a match on it. Poof! Your body’s in flames. Your friends can observe from your comfy pool furniture—drinking wine and beer—two preferred Viking beverages. When it’s done, the pool can filled in by a bulldozer and a pile of dirt. Your loved ones can plant grass and put up a marker.
Lars: Wow! You are still the genius! Now, I almost can’t wait to die. I think with such and plan, the gods and goddesses will smile on me and sanctify my grave. You can’t be too careful about these things.
Lars was 58 when all this happened. He lived to be 108. He had moved three times since his burning boat in the pool idea took shape. He died in Arizona, near the desert, one of the driest places in the USA. Lars’s funeral took place in his backyard. The lawn sprinklers had been left running for seven hours. In a body bag, Lars was laid in the giant puddle that had formed. The Minister finished his eulogy and Lars was transported to the cemetery. A full bathtub had been prepared for him in his gravesite. As he was lowered into the tub, it would simulate being buried at sea. A lid was dropped onto the tub, dirt was pushed on top of it, and Lars had his Viking burial.
By now, I was no kid. I was of Scottish heritage. I couldn’t bear the idea of bagpipes at my funeral. Haggis hurling I could support—my great-grandfather was a national champion hurler. My plan was shaping up.
Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (rhetoric.byu.edu)
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