Metalepsis (me-ta-lep’-sis): Reference to something by means of another thing that is remotely related to it, either through a farfetched causal relationship, or through an implied intermediate substitution of terms. Often used for comic effect through its preposterous exaggeration. A metonymical substitution of one word for another which is itself figurative.
Mike Melrose: Do you leave your chewing gum on the hood of your car overnight? How about on your wife’s forehead? How about your i-Pad screen? How about between your toes? I know you think you know where I’m headed here. Ok, the diversion’s not working. I know why I’m here. The bars give it away, and it’s true—there are men in white coats everywhere. I know it was a struggle getting me here—especially wrestling the garden rake out of my hands and hog-tying me with zip-ties. But after the orderly hooked me up, and the electric current coursed through my brain this morning, and the Thorazine this afternoon, I am calm and docile, if not sane. Turn on your recorder and get out your notepad. I want to tell you the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
My life was completely normal. I supervised an animal shelter called “Four-Legged Fugitives.” The shelter’s name was self-explanatory: we didn’t take birds, snakes, kangaroos, fish, frogs, toads, or rabbits—just dogs, cats, rodents, and turtles. I loved my job. Animals were frequently abandoned on our doorstep in travel cages. We also found a few wandering the streets of Jersey City. Once, we found a turtle coming out of a bar. They had put him up on the bar and fed him some Jack Daniels from a shot glass. It wasn’t funny at all. The poor turtle had gotten one of his legs stuck in his shell. We took him to the shelter and he slept it off, and his leg came unstuck the next morning. Then, there was the Chihuahua/Pit Bull mix. He was the most viscous, incorrigible, monstrous dog I ever met. He was brought into the shelter on a Hannibal Lector Transport Device. He was the first dog I ever saw wearing a hockey mask. He had chewed off and eaten his owner’s index finger. His name was “Down!” One day a family—parents and a little boy—came into the shelter looking for a dog. The little boy ran to Down!’s cage. And there was Down! Laying on his back, tail wagging, as if he’d never eaten a finger. The family took Down! home, and we read in the paper how Down! had saved the family from would’ve been a fatal apartment fire. He woke up the family by chewing on the father’s index finger and growling loudly.
Now, we come to the crux of the matter: the cat. One day a beautiful cat showed up on our doorstep. It was shiny, sleek, and black, with white hind paws. He was wearing what turned out to be a turquoise-studded collar. The was no name tag. I looked him up on Google and found out he was a Siberian Forest Cat. His feet were huge, like snowshoes for walking in snow. His eyes were bright yellow, and his bushy tail would stick straight up in the air. I adopted him and brought him home in his crate. I bought cases of “Ten-Thousand Tuna Treats” and “Fancy Feast.” Of course, I got him kitty litter, and a kitty litter box. We were off to a great start. Then one night while we’re lying in bed, he looked at me and said: “I want to be a stand up comic.” He said, “if you don’t go along with this, I’ll scratch out your eyeball, and they’ll call you one-eyed Jack.” My name Jack, so the joke was pretty funny. Now I k new what to name him: Mr. Ed, after the talking TV horse. I was disappointed when Mr. Ed stole Steve Martin’s cat routine: catastrophe, catamaran, Catalina, Catalogue, Catfish, etc. I told him he was a thief and he lashed out at me, hissing, scratching, spraying. He was on my face and, as you can see he made my forehead into hamburger. I pulled him off my face and threw him at the wall, I thought I had killed him. The neighbors reported the ruckus, the police came, and here I am.
Doctor: Mr. Melrose, your story differs significantly from Mr. Ed’s. First, “Mr. Ed” is a six-year-old boy that you abducted from the park—he isn’t a cat, and his name is Ted. There is nothing wrong with your forehead. Your cat fixation and the vividness and persistence of your hallucinations are deeply disturbing and we’ll work on that while you’re here in the New Jersey State Casa Pazzo. In the meantime, the police are charging you with false imprisonment, assault and battery, attempted murder, and torture by force feeding Ted “Fancy Feast Pig Liver Slurry.”
Either you’re lying or totally crazy, or both.
Mr. Melrose: Goddamn cat.
Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (rhetoric.byu.edu).
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