Category Archives: hysteron proteron

Hysteron Proteron

Hysteron Proteron (his’-ter-on pro’-ter-on): Disorder of time. (What should be first, isn’t.)


I put on my shoes. I put on my pants. I put on clean underwear and I dried the floor and mopped it. It was 10.00 am. Then, it was 6.00 am. Then it was 9.00 am. Then, I had supper followed by throwing my hat at my dog Hogan. I don’t know why things go this way—sequences out of sequence, an inability to follow steps or experience time like everybody else. I am the subject of cruel ridicule. If I could put my underpants on first instead of last, I would. But I can’t. No matter how many times I say it to myself: today they go on first, they don’t. When I’m in my room naked and I go to reach for them and pull them over my naked butt, I start to shake all over—so much so that I can’t get my foot in the leg hole. It’s like I’m haunted by an evil spirit whose main goal in haunting me is making me wear my underpants over my pants. One time, I actually saw him. He was wearing his underpants over his pants, had really messy hair and two left hands. He snapped his underpants’ waistband and said “Fruit of the Loom” in a scratchy voice. It scared me. I tried to run away, but he grabbed my underpants from behind and gave me an atomic wedgy. He hoisted me two feet off the floor with one hand. He looked a little bit like my uncle Mel who had passed away 6 months before I was attacked by the wedgy monster. Was it Uncle Mel? He was a joker and I could see him doling out wedgys, but from the afterlife to his own nephew? As mystifying as it all was, everything was about change.

On top of the wedgy monster, there is the warping of time. I will get up at 8.00 am for work, but before I can take a shower it gets dark—moon out, stars twinkling. So, I go back to bed. I look at my clock and it says 12.00 am. I pull back my bedroom curtain and it’s broad daylight outside. So, it’s 12.00 pm. Time for lunch, not bed. I go downstairs and there’s dinner on the table. Mashed potatoes and roasted chicken. My mother admonishes me for wearing my bathrobe to dinner. Then, everybody disappears and it’s 2.00 am and I’m drinking a glass of water from the kitchen sink. Then I see the wedgy monster leaning against the refrigerator. “I don’t see your underpants, boy” he says in a low growling voice. I am terrified. I throw my glass of water at him and it hits him between the eyes. He howls, goes up in flames and turns into a small pile of ashes on the kitchen floor.

It’s over! I rush upstairs to put on my underpants first. I pull a pair from my dresser and stick my feet through the leg holes. I get tangled up, hopping, I trip and fall out my open bedroom window. The reconstituted wedgy monster grabs my twisted underpants before I hit the ground. I am saved. The wedgy monster says: “You’re a good boy. Your Uncle Mel tells me you’re his favorite. That means a lot to me. Mel is one of our top wedgy men and dos not mince words. So, I ‘m letting you go. The order of things will return to normal. Goodbye.”


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

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Hysteron Proteron

Hysteron Proteron (his’-ter-on pro’-ter-on): Disorder of time. (What should be first, isn’t.)


“Go! Get ready! Set!” Uncle Harvey yelled. Set what? Go where? Get Ready? Was it a riddle? It was very mixed up. Maybe it was because it was Labor Day and my wife’s family was drunkenly gathered “out at Camp” by the lake. In addition to eating gallons of “special” baked beans (laced with rum and mustard) crystallized “Sugar Bumps,” and a lot of meat—hamburgers, hot dogs, bratwurst, sausage patties, and kielbasa from the grill—every year they went crazy and pushed somebody into the lake to “cleanse” Camp and create a little extra entertainment. Nobody had drowned yet, but odds were that it would eventually happen. That’s why in the past couple of years only elderly family members had been pushed in, due to their existing proximity to death, and the family wager that they’d all die pretty soon anyway.

Now I got it with Harvey’s fractured countdown! He was trying to disorient the elders, catch them off guard, and push one of them in the lake! Too bad it didn’t work. Grampy picked up a rock and threw it at Harvey, missing him and shattering one of Camp’s storm windows. My brother-in-law, a former college football star, ran toward Grampy, tackling him and dragging him to the lake’s edge. Then, he and Harvey hoisted Grampy up, swung him back and forth a couple of times, and threw him into the lake—all in good order, 1, 2, 3. Unfortunately, there was a 4 that should’ve been a 1. They should’ve paid attention to the notorious giant catfish hanging out under the dock: Blimpy. Every Labor Day a few pounds of spoiled ground beef and a gallon of pig’s blood were thrown under the dock to appease him. Blimpy was known to snatch the occasional kitten or puppy off the dock, but he never attacked a person in the water. Was Grampy going to be the first? The meat and blood had been forgotten this year. Danger lurked.

As Blimpy headed for Grampy, we all dashed into the water, splashing and yelling. Blimpy got the message and retreated back under the dock. Grampy’s pacemaker started to malfunction, so we carried him back to camp, gave him a double Bloody Mary, and put him in the most comfortable lawn chair to dry out in the sun.

Everybody agreed: this was the best Labor Day family gathering ever! Well, everybody but Grampy—he wasn’t all that enthusiastic about the family’s consensus. Given that he almost died, we could understand, although Aunt Kay did call him a spoilsport, and Uncle Lowell told him all he had to do was “punch the damn fish in the nose, and it probably would’ve died.”


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

Buy a print edition of The Daily Trope! The print edition is entitled The Book of Tropes and is available on Amazon for $9.99. There is also a Kindle edition available for $5.99.

Hysteron Proteron

Hysteron Proteron (his’-ter-on pro’-ter-on): Disorder of time. (What should be first, isn’t.)

I went to bed and put my clothes on. The sun was just coming up, so I knew it was time for lunch. I took off my clothes, went into the kitchen, and put the bologna away.  I saw a small monkey sitting on my couch wearing orange lipstick on his mouth. I pulled up my my pants and sat on the toilet. That’s when I remembered I had taken acid. I stood up and my legs looked like something from a poultry farm, all covered with feathers. I had the urge to cluck but made a quiet peeping sound. Suddenly the haze started to clear. I looked in the mirror and to my surprise I had a tattoo of a chainsaw on my cheek. When I tried to count, I could only count backward. I went down in the basement and found a dark corner to keep me awake and ride out this psychedelic  nightmare.

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

Buy a print edition of The Daily Trope! The print edition is entitled The Book of Tropes and is available on Amazon for $9.99. There is also a Kindle edition available for $5.99.

Hysteron Proteron

Hysteron Proteron (his’-ter-on pro’-ter-on): Disorder of time. (What should be first, isn’t.)

I woke up before I had gone to sleep.  You may think “Waking up” before sleeping is a metaphor–it isn’t. Ever since I started reading “Gone with the Explanation: Your Life is an Ass-Backward Mess” my life has gone awry–I am full before I eat, I wear my pajamas to work, I walk backwards to the park where I hold onto my dog’s ball–I can only catch it & that only happens once because I only have one chance to throw it to little velcro. Poor little Velcro.

Tonight, I begin my dinner with desert and end by putting my napkin in my lap and taking a sip of water.

I never knew a cheap paperback could have such an affect on a person’s life. I should’ve left it in the bin where I found it. I’m reading it back to front. I don’t understanding any of it, but soon I will be free from its diabolical grasp–5 pages to go! Pray for me!

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

Buy a print edition of The Daily Trope! The print edition is entitled The Book of Tropes and is available on Amazon for $9.99. There is also a Kindle edition available for $5.99.

Hysteron Proteron

Hysteron Proteron (his’-ter-on pro’-ter-on): Disorder of time. (What should be first, isn’t.)

The applause shook the building. I was on my way to my final performance of “Rigatoni.” Why am I hearing applause? Why am I in a building?

I’m not. I’m riding in a limo. Time is going forward and backward. I am a child. I am a baby. I am a teenager. I am warping full speed toward the end of my career. In 45 minutes I’ll be tossing the pasta for last time–smooth marinara sauce, spicy sausage, sumptuous cheese–stringy, sticky–the applause! Oh the applause. I haven’t done anything–the applause comes after, not before my performance of “Rigatoni.” Why am I hearing applause?

I’m watching the Weather Channel. I’m lost. How did I get here: I got out of the car. I got in the car. I took off my pajamas. I got in bed. I woke up. Oh, I know: it’s my birthday. Give me a drink and I’ll perform “Rigatoni.”

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

Hysteron Proteron

Hysteron Proteron (his’-ter-on pro’-ter-on): Disorder of time. (What should be first, isn’t.)

Tears were coming out of my eyes. I pushed the onion into the kitchen sink.  I bought it at the grocery store. I chopped it. I peeled it. It cost 49 cents. I came home. I parked the car in front of the supermarket. I started the car. I went inside. I needed a cup of coffee. I couldn’t get out of the car.

Everything was out of focus–my hand, my knee, my watch, my life.

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

Hysteron Proteron

Hysteron Proteron (his’-ter-on pro’-ter-on): Disorder of time. (What should be first, isn’t.)

The car smashed into the tree. It skidded off the road. He fell asleep at the wheel. He was killed instantly. He told his wife not to wait up for him–that he’d be home before sunrise.

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