Adianoeta

Adianoeta: An expression that, in addition to an obvious meaning, carries a second, subtle meaning (often at variance with the ostensible meaning).


I really liked my job. It was an adventure in living. It was 1970. I had landed in New Orleans—in the Vieux Carre—broke and half insane. All I owned in the world was my BSA Thunderbolt motorcycle, my Levi’s, a Brady Bunch T-shirt, motorcycle boots, leather jacket, leather gloves and a helmet. I had a wallet—it held my motorcycle’s registration, my New Jersey driver’s license, and proof of insurance. I had been in the US for six months after returning from Vietnam after being discharged from the Army. My term of service in the war was fun. I was stationed in Saigon, living in my own room in a US government-owned hotel, and having no clear-cut military responsibilities. I had my own Jeep and spent my time chasing whores, smoking weed, drinking Ba Mươi Ba beer and Japanese scotch, and sightseeing. These pursuits were hard to stop when I returned to the US. I had drifted to the Vieux Carre because I had heard it was free flowing—a site of depravity akin to a war zone. I thought I would be able to find a job and melt into the morass. I looked and looked for a job. Luckily, in the meantime, I had found a woman to keep me afloat. She was a waitress, was 22 and had a heart of gold. I specialized in waitresses as my life preservers. I never truly loved any of them, but I was grateful for their help and affection—putting a roof over my head, feeding me, loving me when I showed up, and sadly, crying when I left.

Finally, I landed a job. I was hired as a male “underpants dancer” at Molly’s Magnum 25, a bar that closed for only one hour and drew a crowd considered the most raucous in the Vieux Carre. I was clueless about underpants dancing, and when I showed up for work the first night, I hadn’t bothered to watch a show yet. I asked Molly what I was supposed to do. She said “Stand there and make a humping movement with your hips—speed up and slow down with the music, and every once-in-while make a heavy thrust and turn around and wiggle your ass. Also, always keep a blank look on your face.” Ok! I was ready! For ten bucks an hour and tips, I would’ve run over a baby carriage.

I went to my “dressing” room, took off all my clothes, and pulled on my black spandex panties. I stepped out on the tiny stage elevated about one foot from the floor with no railing or any kind of barrier between me and the audience, who were packed shoulder to shoulder, and almost all women. They were all holding drinks and were yelling things at me like “bounce that weiner baby” or “ass, ass, ass.” It was inspiring! The music started and I started humping. The song was Sam the Sham and the Pharaohs’ “Wooly Bully,” and it was perfect—the women were pushing toward the stage and shoving crumpled-up money into my underpants. When my panties’ crotch was full, I reached in and emptied the bills into a bucket I had on stage. I was having the time of my life when suddenly I saw my mother pushing through the crowd, coming toward me waving a ten-dollar bill in her outstretched hand. “Son” she yelled over the din, “I’m so proud of you!” She handed me the money and smiled. At that, my hip thruster went dead for a second. I wanted to hit her with my money bucket, but, I still wanted to talk to mom and ask her why she had left us with our father, “King Lout”—the drunken idiot who fed us cornflakes and sour milk for dinner and made us beg for money on a street corner in downtown Jersey City. Mom had abandoned us when I was six. I had no fond memories, but I still remembered what she looked like.

Yelling over the music we agreed to meet at the Ruby Slipper at 5:30 for breakfast. She didn’t show up. She never showed up. I carried my bucket full of money back to my waitress’s apartment. She was glad to see me. I showed her my underpants dance and we laughed and we looked into each other’s eyes. Two huge Palmetto bugs skittered up the wall. We laughed again, and holding hands, we headed to the bedroom.


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

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Adnominatio

Adnominatio (ad-no-mi-na’-ti-o): 1. A synonym for paronomasia[punning]. 2. A synonym for polyptoton. 3. Assigning to a proper name its literal or homophonic meaning.


My great-great grandfather, Rezbo Clocker, played ice hockey on ice left over from the Ice Age. Ha ha! Just kidding. My great grandmother used to say he was born wearing hockey skates with a hockey stick in his hands. I was only six, but I knew where babies came from. I would just think every time it was said, how much the skates must have hurt Rezbo’s mother. I would nearly cry. Then, I found out it meant he was born to play hockey, not wearing the equipment. It was a great relief, and relieved, I started saying it myself. It made me feel grown up, like swearing. And back then, a hockey stick and a pair of hockey skates was all you had—safety was almost a swear word among the players.

Rezbo played hockey all his life. He lived in a part of Canada where it was winter nearly year-round. He played for the Northwest Territories Assassins. Their logo was crossed hockey sticks with spear points, dripping blood. By today’s standards this logo would not be allowed. In fact, in 1970, the Assassins changed their name to the Wildflowers and replaced the pointed hockey sticks with hockey stick vases filled with assorted brightly colored wildflowers.

As a goalie with no protection, Rezbo’s front teeth were always in jeopardy. Nevertheless, his signature move was to catch incoming pucks with his front teeth. The fans loved it and he would end many games with bleeding gums and a bloodstained jersey. He had had his knocked out teeth replaced with dentures numerous times when he got a brilliant idea. He would become a spokesperson for a mail oder false teeth manufacturer in Yellowknife. He made millions touting their product on the radio, broadcasting from hockey games around Canada.

He was getting old, but he desperately wanted to keep playing hockey—icing his knees did’t work any more and he did not want to become addicted to pain medication. The team captain, Loki, told him about a Finnish Sámi, who was a Shaman who held sway over ice and snow as agents for healing the body. The shaman’s name was Magnus, and he was very, very old. Rezbo flew to Finland, and through an interpreter, told Magnus what he wanted. Magnus nodded his agreement and told Rezbo to strip naked and sit on the rock in the middle of the floor. Then, Magnus held up his hands and started yelling at Rezbo. Rezbo started shaking, looking cross-eyed, and turning ice-cold. Magnus clutched his own chest, cried out, and, in the middle of the spell, died of a heart attack. The spell went awry, and Rezbo was turned into a hockey puck. The former Rezbo was bagged and shipped back home to Canada. Every once in awhile I take Rezbo to the pond out back and give him a little workout on the ice with my friend Jasper. Sometimes, I think I hear him laughing when I smash him across the ice. As a hockey puck, his immortality is assured. As long as there are Clockers, Rezbo’s zip-loc shipping bag will shelter him on our mantle, specially painted the color of freshly Zabonied ice.


Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (rhetoric.byu.edu). Bracketed text added by Gorgias.

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Adynaton

Adynaton (a-dyn’-a-ton): A declaration of impossibility, usually in terms of an exaggerated comparison. Sometimes, the expression of the impossibility of expression.


Dear Diary 9/1/22:

I was walking in the woods adjacent to my house. I went for a walk on the trails every day. I was getting old and thought I needed exercise to add a few years to my life. It was early September and I had wandered off the trail looking for mushrooms—usually oyster mushrooms because they were easy to identify. Suddenly I heard a tiny muffled voice. It sounded like it was coming out of the ground—it was a woman’s voice crying “Help me! Help me! Please!” I looked around and there was a beautifully colored ceramic urn laying underneath a small rotting tree that had fallen down years ago. The little voice was coming from the urn! I was astonished and frightened, but I lifted the tree and kicked the urn out from under it. “Unscrew the lid” the voice said. I did. Out crawled a woman about six inches tall. She had midnight black hair, gentle brown eyes, an open smile, wore a red silk dress, and had the kind of body I lusted after when I was in high school. I didn’t care if she was the size of a Barbie Doll. She was beautiful. My fear melted away and I yelled “This can’t be! Holy shit, I’ve won the lotto—this is like flying to the moon in a Cadillac! Marry me!” She touched my big toe sticking out of my sandal. I started to shrink and she started to grow. When I stopped shrinking, she grabbed me by my shirt collar and shoved me in the urn, and quickly screwed on the lid. I was terror stricken. I begged her to let me out. She said, “As long as you are sealed in The Magic Urn you will not age, you will not need to relieve yourself, you will not need food and water, and you will not need air. When liberated you will remain whole.” She said her name was Anya and that her husband Rudra had fallen in love with an imp from South Jersey named Boopsie, and Boopsie had cast the “Shrinker Spell” on Anya so Boopsie and Rudra could run off together. “I must find them and reverse the spell.” I could hear the leaves rustle as she hurried away.


I was totally dejected until I remembered my cellphone and wondered if it’s shrunken version would work. I called my daughter Madeleine who was visiting for a week from her job in NYC. Her mother had left us a few years earlier and Madeleine had developed the grit to handle anything. The phone connected! I told her to use the find my phone app and she would find me in a ceramic urn in the woods by our house. She was skeptical, but soon I heard her feet swishing through the leaves. She picked up the urn, unscrewed it’s lid, and looked inside. I told her not to touch me, and to put down the jar. Madeleine took it all in stride.

As soon as my tiny feet hit the ground there was a bright flash of red light and the smell of cedar shavings all around us. It was Anya! She touched my forehead and I started to grow, and she didn’t shrink! She put a surgical glove on her hand and opened the mesh bag she was carrying and pulled out a little flailing man, shoved him into the urn, and screwed on the lid. “Meet Rudra,” she said “I found him and Boopsie in a small suburban town in New Jersey. I forced Boopsie to shrink him by threatening to hit her in the face with a cricket bat. As soon as she shrunk my husband, I made her disappear forever with this Thai vanishing monkey dust I bought in Newark.” I was impressed and in love. Anya and I have been living together for 6 years. We keep her husband in a linen closet in our home’s media room. We enjoy listening to him whine and beg in his sealed urn each night before Anya and I watch “Murdoch Mysteries” and eat dinner.


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

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Aetiologia

Aetiologia (ae-ti-o-log’-i-a): A figure of reasoning by which one attributes a cause for a statement or claim made, often as a simple relative clause of explanation.


Ever since I was 11 I’ve done everything I can to stop being crazy, because I had done a lot of crazy things. When I was 12, I put lighter fluid on my hand and lit it. I put it out in a bucket of water and decided that I would light it on fire again the next day when I was on the school bus. I could wave goodbye to Mom out the bus window with a flaming hand. So, I lit my hand. The lighter fluid had dripped down my shirt sleeve and started my shirt on fire. The bus driver heard all the kids screaming “Joey’s on fire” and ran to the back of the bus, and put me out with the bus’s fire extinguisher. I wasn’t badly burned, but I was suspended from school for one week for “distracting the bus driver.” I was also put into counseling with Dr. Brander. We would sit there for ten minutes and she’d suddenly ask “Do you want to light yourself on fire?” I would aways say “Yes” and squirm around in my chair. She would say “Hmmm” and write something down on her notepad. After another ten minutes, she would ask if I wet my bed. I would say “No, but sometimes I wet my sister’s bed right before dinner.” Dr. Brander would say “Hmmm” and write something on her notepad. One day she asked me if I wanted to torture the mailman and crush his skull with a sledge hammer. That was crazy, and I said so. Dr. Brander smiled and had me meet for 2 hours, on her orders, with the mailman to affirm to his satisfaction that I would never torture and kill him. Me and the mailman thought it was really funny, but he was being paid to meet with me, so he did it. While we were sitting there, he told me how infuriated he would become when he had to redeliver a letter marked “Return to Sender.” He never told me why it made him so mad, but sometimes he would pull letters out of his mail pouch that he hadn’t delivered yet, and tear them into little pieces while he would say “Return to asshole.” I didn’t know what an “asshole” was. He said “It’s the place your poop comes out.” I said “Oh, but how can you call a whole person an asshole?” He said, “Shut up you little asshole. Ask Dr. Brander.” I was eventually cleared by Dr. Brander and returned to school. Her advice was “Get a grip Joey.” When I got back to school, everybody called me “Pyro” and the older students held up their lit cigarette lighters and everybody applauded and cheered. It made me happy, like I was a celebrity.

There are countless additional episodes I could cite. For example, when I was 16, I threw a rock at the back window of my father’s car. It was a hot day and the window exploded outward, scattering glass all over the driveway. I called what I did an “experiment” to make it sound scientific. My father tied me to a tree in our back yard and said he was going to crash the car into me as punishment. Dad gunned the engine of his 1952 Dodge, popped the clutch and came roaring at me. At the last minute he swerved around the tree, but he smashed into the side of our garage, putting a hole in it and totaling his Dodge. This was pre-seatbelts, so his face hit the windshield and looked like a giant raw hamburger as he ran around the yard yelling “You little asshole. Come back here.” I was tied to a tree! He must’ve been delirious. Mom untied me and I went inside and hid under my bed. Dad had back problems and had trouble bending over, so ‘under the bed’ was a safe haven.

For a number of years now, my life has smoothed out. There are modern-day drugs that keep me under control. I think Dr. Brander and all the others who tried, and who were sincere, can’t beat drugs to wipe out the weirdness. The only time I have a problem now, is when I forget to take my drugs. I get manic without them. Last time I forgot, I drove from Syracuse, NY to Jackson Hole, WY with the goal of killing a couple of Buffalo, and joining the Arapaho Tribe. When I got there, I thought I was ordering a pizza, but I called home by accident and talked to my wife. She sent my drugs via FEDEX. I took them and returned to normal. Now, I have my own business where I use the skill I learned during my brief sojourn at Upstate Hospital. I knit bowling ball bags, steering wheel covers, litter box scoops, and doo rags. Some day, I hope to knit a statue of Jodie Foster.


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

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Affirmatio

Affirmatio (af’-fir-ma’-ti-o): A general figure of emphasis that describes when one states something as though it had been in dispute or in answer to a question, though it has not been.


I had been living out in the boonies, on a rural road, with no neighbors, for 9 years. I had had my home built on 20 acres of former farmland, surrounded on 2 sides by woods. I planted apple trees, had a pool put in, and dug a fire pit way down in back where I’d sit and watch fireflies on warm summer nights. I was retired and had plenty to do—keeping busy, instead of sitting on my ass all day like a lot of retirees do.

I woke up that morning thinking about my chainsaw and how I needed to sharpen it’s chain, when I heard what sounded like heavy equipment working nearby. I went outside and saw a bulldozer flattening the surface of a rectangular section of the field adjacent to my property. I yelled “What’s up?” The guy operating the bulldozer yelled back “You’ve got a neighbor.” Damn! There was a tractor trailer parked by the road with “Old School Log Cabin Homes” painted by hand in huge red letters with “Wake Up America” in smaller letters below. I thought of burning down my house, collecting the insurance, and moving far away. But, my curiosity got the best of me. Two weeks later my new neighbor moved in. His name was Jubilee Johnson. He wore buckskins and two Colt revolvers. When I first saw him he yelled “Yeah. I’m a little crazy, so what?” I guessed he could read my mind. He asked me to help him put up yard sign. It was gigantic and said “I LOVE TUMP.” I didn’t try to correct him. I was afraid he might shoot me. He invited me in for a tour and a drink. His cabin was one room with a dirt floor, no electricity, parchment paper over the windows, a pump in the sink draining directly into the ground outside, a bear skin duvet, a wood stove, and assault rifles hanging on all the walls. We had a drink of his “home brew” that made my eyes water and ears ring for a couple of minutes. We had three drinks and Jubilee started crying. He told me to go home and I stumbled out the door.

My doorbell rang around 2.00 am. I opened my door and Jubilee was standing on the porch in a red union suit, barefoot, with a cowboy hat in his hand. He took a deep breath, stood up as tall as could, and said in a quiet voice: “I want to be a liberal again.”

How could this be? Again? He told me how he used to be a game show host for a quiz show called “Imperiled,” a spin off of “Jeopardy” that airs on “Truth General,” a new cable network founded by a cabal of cranks affiliated with “1950,” a survivalist group with roots in the Cold War Era. Jubilee told me how he was mind controlled by the show’s Key Grip, Milton Nixon, and lost his way. I invited him in and made us some Sleepy Time Tea. “Remember? This is what liberals drink.” I reminded him. He nodded his head, took a sip and spit it out. I said, “To get back to where you came from you must read Noam Chomsky, The Second Sex, Watership Down, and, Be Here Now, then, take 2 hits of LSD.” Jubilee was gone the next day. Two months later I received notice that he had deeded his property to me. I had his cabin demolished and planted his 20 acres in hemp.


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

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See video reading on YouTube: Johnnie Anaphora

Aganactesis

Aganactesis (ag’-an-ak-tee’-sis): An exclamation proceeding from deep indignation.


My name is Daan Bakksteen. My Dutch ancestors were among the first people to settle New Netherland. They were granted land outside New Amsterdam, NY—on an Iroquois trade route that was fast becoming a colonist highway and would eventually become Route 20–running coast to coast. They were charged by the Dutch government with building a roadhouse for “rest and relaxation” of travelers. Accordingly, they employed Iroquois craftsmen, at a huge sum of money, to build the overnight dwelling place for weary travelers. They named the roadhouse “Slaap Huis” which means “Sleep House” in English.

Here I am, hundreds of years later and “Slaap Huis” is headed toward the dumpster. It has become a go-to place where bondage aficionados congregate, thinking that “Slaap” is a coded reference to one of their favorite sexual practices. But, something was going to happen at Slaap Huis that would change it’s future forever:

All the revelers had checked out. I was cleaning their rooms and retrieving the fur-covered handcuffs, rope, and executioners’ masks we rented to our patrons. I pulled back a bedspread, and holy shit! There was an enormous bedbug infestation in full swing on the sheet underneath. For starters, I ran and got my can of Raid. I popped off the cap and aimed the can at the little bastards. I yelled “You’re going to kill my motel once and for all you disgusting vermin.” “No we’re not.” “What?” I yelled. A bedbug was talking! “We will save you. We have a plan.” I dropped the Raid can on the floor and sat on the bed next to the Bedbug Chief who was doing the talking, with a Dutch accent. “Our ancestors came to this place with your ancestors. We are the last of the extremely rare “Pratende Bedwants,” or in English, Talking Bedbugs. Throughout history we have engaged in “pillow talk,” wisely counseling powerful people in exchange for a few droplets of blood. For example, Lincoln’s “Gettysburg Address” owes it’s “Four score and seven years ago” to Anouk Visser, a female bedbug with the soul of an angel and literary gifts that she is revered for.

Our band of the Pratende Bedwants has always inhabited local farmhouses, whore houses, and hotels in town here—never Slaap Huis. In hard times your ancestors would help us by allowing us to feed on their livestock, and we survived. We are eternally grateful and want to help you. The new motel down the road, ‘Lulabye Motel,’ is stealing all your business with it’s swimming pool, microwave ovens, coin-operated bed vibrators, refrigerators, and satellite TV free in every room. Not only that, Lulabye is undercutting your rates by half.” “F-ing hell,” I yelled “Let’s go! What’s the goddamn plan?” “We climb up your pant leg and hitch a ride to the Lulabye Motel. When we get there, you introduce yourself and ask for a tour. The gloating owner, Moe Bass, will agree. As we tour the motel, my brothers and sisters will drop out of your pant leg, seeding the place with bedbugs and ruining his business.” “Brilliant!” I yelled. We decided to do it the next morning.

I was ready to go. The bedbugs scrambled up my pant leg and off we went. Everything went according to plan. No matter how many times Mr. Bass tried to exterminate the bedbugs, he failed. They would disappear and return after the exterminator left, after I warned them, and then, gave them the all clear. Lulabye Motel went to hell in a hand basket. One night, it burned to the ground. Mr. Bass was arrested and convicted of torching it for the insurance, and all our confederate bedbugs escaped, smelling smoke and scrambling out an open window. Now, me and The Bedbug Chief are planning a traveling bedbug troupe, performing “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Wolfe” at state fairs. It is a challenge, but The Bedbug Chief is up to it—he audited acting classes at Yale and lived in Archie’s Bunker’s chair on the set of “All in the Family” for two years.

I never say “That bugs me” any more. The talking bedbugs restored my dignity and saved my life. God bless them.


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

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Allegory

Allegory (al’-le-go-ry): A sustained metaphor continued through whole sentences or even through a whole discourse.


The chicken thigh will lay there drawing flies, and finally, squirming maggots emerge that you will try to name: Dasher, Prancer, Vixen, Sponge Bob, Queen Elizabeth and 30-40 more little word compasses pointing the way toward endearment. But the maggots become flies and swarm around your head as if they knew you tried to rewrite their identities as shit eating, garbage munching, pestilence purveying, window pooping, skin crawling pests. When it is pity that motivates the naming of maggots with endearing words, love is debased and all affection is tossed off a cliff—a bag of garbage leaking disillusionment when it hits the rocks below—when the bag splits and strews its error-laden contents.

We do not have to understand this in order to understand it. But still, you may misunderstand it due to its apparent incoherence and distance from your shriveled sensibilities. Imagine you are a maggot. Your whole purpose is to become a fly. To go from totally disgusting, to less totally disgusting as you transform through time, squirming around and chewing on a rotting chicken thigh leaning at the bottom of a half-full dumpster. The dumpster is your birthplace, your home town. It’s where you went to school, it’s where you learned how to drive, and count on your fingers. You fell in love with your next-door maggot. You got married, turned into flies and searched for the good life—moving, moving, moving: one week living on a piece of “solid” dog shit, one week on a “newly remodeled” road-kill squirrel, 2 days on a “fixer-upper” Garden Snake chopped into pieces by a lawnmower. Moving. Moving. Moving, until you finally settle into a “palatial” cow manure pile and begin thinking about starting a family. But, one evening your fly-wife is terminated by an electric swatter—she lies in flames and smokes on the barn floor, by a workbench, somewhere in New York: all for landing on the rim of an open can of Diet Coke. Now you know what I’m talking about! Now you can grip the rope of my discourse and pull yourself up to a higher place! And where is that “higher” place? It’s over there. Crane your neck. Look up at your back porch light and watch the moths.


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

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Alleotheta

Alleotheta (al-le-o-the’-ta): Substitution of one case, gender, mood, number, tense, or person for another. Synonymous with enallage. [Some rhetoricians claim that alleotheta is a] general category that includes antiptosis [(a type of enallage in which one grammatical case is substituted for another)] and all forms of enallage [(the substitution of grammatically different but semantically equivalent constructions)].


I could be selling live butterflies last month. Who knows how that would work out? I don’t know because I wasn’t there. That is, I wasn’t at Bkekleville Farmer’s Market. I was banned for life for selling organic magic mushrooms grown on my little farm called “Little Farm” located on the outskirts of town. The other vendors and townspeople bought all the ‘shrooms I had and most of them brewed up a little tea and gulped it down. When I saw Mr. Compree run by naked with a carrot sticking out of his butt, I knew I was in trouble. But that was just the beginning. Mr. Riley had brought his tractor down for kids to climb on and have their pictures taken. Now, Mr. Riley was doing donuts with his tractor in the middle of the town square with a chicken on his head held in place with a bungee chord. Ms. Gangel, who sold goat’s milk ice cream, was trying to juggle 3 one-pint containers of vanilla “Big Meh” while she listened to something on her earbuds. Some villagers had some psychedelic tea too. One man was prancing in circles with his balled-up fists moving around under his T-shirt and saying “Look! They’re alive! They may be turtles!” I think the only guys not high were me and the Amish farmers from Pennsylvania who packed up a left when things started to get weird. The 60-something grandmother playing acoustic guitar in the square’s gazebo stood up, kicked off her Crocs and started singing Blue Oyster Cult’s “I’m burn’in for you” to the shy guy who was at least 20 years younger than her and sold organic honey near the gazebo. Blushing, he made it to the stage, squirted honey on her neck and started to lick it off. There was a group of around ten people standing silently in a circle with their arms stretched out toward the sky. It reminded me of Woodstock, but it wasn’t Woodstock. It was the Bkekleville Farmer’s Market and I had turned it into a hallucinating fracas—an ensemble of space rangers floating through the Shroomasphere. Thank God nobody was hurt and I wasn’t arrested (the Chief of police was too embarrassed to press charges), but I had to plow under my mushrooms (even though they would keep coming back), and get a haircut. I want to be readmitted to the Farmer’s Market. In anticipation, I’ve planted two acres of tomatoes, Bella Donna, and yellow squash.


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

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Alitteration

Alliteration (al-lit’-er-a’-tion): Repetition of the same letter or sound within nearby words. Most often, repeated initial consonants. Taken to an extreme alliteration becomes the stylistic vice of paroemion where nearly every word in a sentence begins with the same consonant.


“Those are some pretty big boobs,” I said to the woman in line behind me at the grocery store. This was surely a mad moment—psychosis had struck me down at Hannaford and I was ready be beaten up up and run over in the parking lot. What I had done was say out loud what I was thinking, which can be fatal. There was the man in South Carolina who was shot dead for saying “Shove it” to a State Trooper when the State trooper pulled him over and asked to see his proof of insurance, driver license, and vehicle registration. The Trooper shot the man 11 times and then radioed his friends to take a few shots at him after he was dead. If the man hadn’t said “shove it,” he probably would’ve only been handcuffed, tasered, and kicked a couple of times. Or what about the woman who said “I love you” out loud to her boyfriend? After she said it to him, she regretted it forever. After they got married her husband would ask her to do terrible things. She said “No,” but he told her back: “You told me you loved me.” She was stuck by guilt, and went ahead. She was eventually imprisoned for robbing a Cliffs of 12 cartons of Marlboro 27s because her husband told her to, and she felt obligated because she had told him she loved him.

Anyway, there I was in Hannaford waiting for the axe to fall. Everybody in line was silent and looking at me, and the checker was standing there with her mouth hanging open and a can of pineapple chunks in her hand. Time had frozen and I was scared. The woman said, “We need to talk. Come outside.” Now, I was terrified, but I made myself do it, certain I was going to be physically hurt somehow. She pulled me behind the grocery store, behind a smelly dumpster. She said, “Stand over there” and lifted her sweatshirt to reveal her hairy chest and bra with two grapefruits stuffed where her breasts should’ve been. “I’ve been pilfering 2 grapefruits per week from Hannaford ever since I moved here from Buffalo five years ago. I wear a bra so I can conceal the grapefruits in its empty cups. Please don’t squeal on me.” He held out a grapefruit. I took it and promised not to tell.

On my way home I thought about the kinds of things I could stuff in my shirt if I wanted to be a grocery-lifter. I considered all the spherical fruits and vegetables as fair game. I experimented at home with additional foods and different concealment locations. Wearing a maternity smock, I tried a frozen turkey, but it was too heavy and kept falling to the floor. The same thing happened with a ham and a bag of oranges.

My girlfriend came over to dinner about a week later. I was wearing my new grapefruit bra, as an experiment to see what she might blurt out. She said nothing, and neither did I. She didn’t spend the night, and that was unusual. I got a text from her around 2:00 am. It said: “I know those were grapefruits—I could smell them. If you must wear grapefruit boobs, it is ok with me. I love you.” She said it! She said it! I love you! Finally she said it! I texted her, “I love you too!” Now, grapefruits would have a special place in our lives. But I thought, “Will she still she love me if I don’t wear my grapefruits?”


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

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Allusion

Allusion (ə-ˈlü-zhən):[1] A reference/representation of/to a well-known person, place, event, literary work, or work of art . . . “a brief reference, explicit or indirect, to a person, place or event, or to another literary work or passage”. It is left to the reader or hearer to make the connection . . . ; an overt allusion is a misnomer for what is simply a reference.[2]


It was like WWII and Woodstock—like Audie Murphy and Jimi Hendrix rolled into one. It was like Polartec and Marino, a Chevy and a lawnmower, a talking Raven and a Great White Whale, a Schwinn and a skateboard—I could go on and on. There’s a gap. There’s conflict. There’s the impending end. There’s being alone—all alone like “Mr. Lonely.”

But I can’t stop making similes, like a baker making scones, like a poet writing tomes, like Geppetto. I didn’t pay attention to your complaints. I was like a rock, like cement, like a dry sponge. Finally, when you hit me on the butt with a rolled up newspaper, I tried to wean myself of my irritating habit, like taking a shower to wash away the dirt, like withdrawal from heroin, like moving from Georgia to New York. But it didn’t work.

Now, you’re looking for a ticket to ride: like a cowboy waving his hat and heading into the sunset, like Napoleon’s retreat from Russia, like Sherman’s March to the sea. I wish I could stop, like a car with functioning brakes, like a plugged-up drain, like Sisyphus on a vacation break.

Two weeks later . . .

Hi! I went through Glenn Campbell Desimilification Therapy. It is a 2 week program promising to ‘clear’ you of a desire and willingness to incessantly promulgate similes. Accordingly, no more similes for me! Here’s the key: When I feel a simile coming, I yell “Howdy” and, if necessary, I say to myself “I can hear you singing in the wires” and clap my hands three times. It looks a little odd, but it works. Glenn Campbell developed the simile clearing method after Tanya Tucker castigated him for excessive ‘similizing’ in the Glenn Campbell Show’s opening monologue. So, in lieu of the monologue, he started yelling Howdy, singing “Wichita Lineman” and briefly applauding his own performance. Similizing fans all over America discovered that Campbell’s strategy worked for them too, and that a single line from “Whichita Lineman” worked just as well as singing the entire song.

So honey, I’m cured! Without you, I’m like a dog without bone—damn—Howdy, I hear you singing in the wires, clap, clap, clap. There! All straightened out. You know, I need you more than want you, and I want you for all time. I’m not from Wichita and I can’t climb a telephone pole, but you can climb into my lap.


1. Phonetic transcription courtesy of Miriam-Webster’s On-Line Dictionaryhttp://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/allusion <3/6/08>.

2. Definition courtesy of Wikipediahttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Allusion <3/6/08>.

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Amphibologia

Amphibologia (am’-fi-bo-lo’-gi-a): Ambiguity of grammatical structure, often occasioned by mispunctuation. [A vice of ambiguity.]


I ate a dog for lunch. Then, I went for a ride on the ferris wheel. I always ate a dog at the amusement park. I liked my dogs boiled—the smell was delicious. With chopped onions a doggy was the perfect ‘day out’ meal. I didn’t like the big dogs they sold at one of the stands—too plump and sometimes not warm enough in the middle. You could always count on a little dog to be delicious—boiled to perfection and tender as cake. Sometimes I would eat two dogs! They’d be on my paper plate side by side, steaming their delightful vapor. When I saw I had them side by side—more than one on the plate—I jokingly called them a “litter.” My mother hit me when I said that—She yelled “Show some respect idiot boy!” I hit my mother back and we stared wrestling in the dirt. She always beat me, but I wasn’t going to let it happen this time. I yelled “Stop in the name of love” and Mother yelled “Pervert” and hit me on the head with a metal folding chair. That did it. I got her on the ground and stuck a leftover Fourth of July firecracker in her ear—if she didn’t like what I said, she could listen to a ringing sound instead. Mother kept moving her head around and I couldn’t get the firecracker lit. I left it in her ear as a reminder and we stood up. I was shaken so I took a big hit off my vape pen. Mother said she wanted to try it too. She took too big of a hit and started choking like she was going to die. I stood there in shocked amazement as she choked up a $100 gambling chip. I yelled, “Oh my God Mother!” and picked up the chip and held it up and looked at it. It was from Caesars in Vegas. Mother explained, “Your father and I were at a professional convention he was attending with his fellow lampshade collectors. He was opposed to gambling and made me promise not to gamble while we were there, but I couldn’t resist. I hit the craps table. I was standing there ready to place my bet when I saw your father coming toward me. I turned my back and swallowed the chip. It’s been stuck in my throat for ten years, constricting my esophagus. It helped me maintain my weight, so I made no effort to have it removed. Now you, my stupid-ass son, have caused it to become dislodged.” She hit me. I hit her back and, as usual, we wrestled to the ground. The firecracker was still in her ear. This time, I got it lit. When it went off, her hairspray-saturated hair caught fire and she ran down the midway where a man dumped a Super-Titanic fruit drink on her head and extinguished the blaze. Surprisingly, her hair looked better singed. The damage was minimal, so I ordered another ‘litter’ of little doggies and waited for them to boil.


Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (rhetoric.byu.edu). Bracketed text added by Gorgias.

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Ampliatio

Ampliatio (am’-pli-a’-ti-o): Using the name of something or someone before it has obtained that name or after the reason for that name has ceased. A form of epitheton.


What’s in a name? Nothing. Rascal by any other name would still smell like a transfer station. Sure, we could’ve named him Stinker or Stenchy, but we named him Rascal when he was a puppy, before he started to smell like rotted durian. Some people’s eyes water when they come over for a drink, even if we’ve emptied a couple of cans of Glade on the couch and put Rascal and his dog bed in the back yard, in the garden shed. We have talked about tying a rope around his neck, tying a rock at the bottom of the rope, and throwing him into Watson’s Creek. But we couldn’t—we actually started crying and quit the conversation, put on our air filters and gave him a hug. We would never part with Rascal, no matter what. But we wanted to do something about his smell.

That night, I Googled “dogs that stink.” There was an ad, among the other hits, for “Sweet Zephyr Dog Destinkification.” They claimed they could make the worst stinking dogs in the world odor free. They were located in Calais, France. All I could think was that France is known for producing the world’s most fragrant fragrances. They had to be legit. We put down the $500.00 deposit, made the arrangements for shipping Rascal and getting him into the country legally, and bought our plane tickets. As a joke, we started calling Rascal Shalimar, anticipating his new French connection.

We travelled by train from Paris to Calais and took a taxi to Sweet Zephyr Dog Destinkification. When we arrived we saw Shalimar beyond the reception desk behind a glass enclosure. We met Dr. Fromage and he told us us that Shalimar was the most disgustingly stinky dog he had ever encountered. We were worried, but the Doctor assured us that he could render Shalimar odorless. We had no idea what the procedure for doing so was, but we trusted Dr. Fromage.

The day came. Shalimar was led by three air-filter-wearing orderlies, followed by Dr. Fromage, into the brightly lit operating theatre. The doors closed and we waited nearly a hour before the Doctor came out and told us everything was fine and that Shalimar was sleeping quietly on a comfy dog bed. We picked him up the next day and there was no smell! However, his tail was missing and there was a bandage where it used to be. We asked Dr. Fromage why Shalimar’s tail had been amputated. He looked surprised. “I thought I told you, Shalimar was suffering from a case of ‘Angry Tail’ where the tail rebels and produces a stenchq. We are not sure why the tail rebels, but we believe it is some kind of jealousy—it never gets petted like the rest of the dog, yet with its wagging, it attracts petting to the head—scratching behind the ears, etc. Most tails see their wagging as a sort teamwork with the body. But anyway, Shalimar is fixed now! Just put some Neosporin on his stump twice a day for the next two weeks and he’ll heal up nicely.

Shalimar has been odor-free for five years. Being tailless does not make much of a difference to him. He still wiggles his butt back and forth as a kind of wag. When he does that, we pet only his butt and leave the rest of him alone.


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

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Anacoenosis

Anacoenosis (an’-a-ko-en-os’-is): Asking the opinion or judgment of the judges or audience, usually implying their common interest with the speaker in the matter [and illustrating their communally-held ideals of truth, justice, goodness and beauty, for better and for worse].


I went to Chicago for a reason, with an accordion on my chest and a super-size styrofoam cup in my left hand. I had just graduated from George Washington Street Musician Academy—at the top of my class. Joan Mitchell, Robert Dylan and William Nelson were way behind me, still trying to learn how to set down their super-size styrofoam cups in the right place for maximal collection of coins and bills.

In addition to the street, I achieved some off-street success. My polka version of “All Along the Watchtower” briefly made the Billboard Charts, and my self-authored accordion solo “Roller Blade Inferno” became a standard at roller rinks across the country—it’s tempo was manic and complimented the cocaine stuffed noses racing wild-eyed around the rink. Sometimes “Roller Blade Inferno” would be played over and over for an hour or more. Skaters would drip sweat, push each other down, fight, and both men and women would tear off their shirts and swing them over their heads like lariats as they sped like a wolf pack around the rink howling and trying to bite each other.

Those were the days, and “those days” are what bring us all here together on this important day. Soon, you will process up here, and receive your super-size styrofoam cups. You have earned the title “Trained Street Musician” and your cups’ spaciousness signifies the nearly limitless opportunities that lie ahead. May your “cups runneth over” with determination, musical skill, and money.

We all agree, don’t we? There is no better life than the life you’re about to embark on. If you have to pawn your instrument from time to time to make ends meet, remember, your pawn ticket is your ticket to the future. Wash dishes, rake leaves, get yourself institutionalized for “observation.” Do whatever you can so you can use that ticket to bail out your hopes and head for the street again. Thank you.


Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (rhetoric.byu.edu). Bracketed text added by Gorgias.

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Anacoloutha

Anacoloutha (an-a-co’-lu-tha): Substituting one word with another whose meaning is very close to the original, but in a non-reciprocal fashion; that is, one could not use the first, original word as a substitute for the second. This is the opposite of acoloutha.


There is a trellis outside my window entwined with blooming roses, velvet red, soft, twisted, filling my room with breeze-driven shadows brushing along the walls. I can hear the waves hitting the beach. The tide is coming in.

I lay there wondering about hope and it’s vague projections of wobbly futures, trying to form a hope: something to want, but not to need. I could only conjure what I had lost, especially my dog “Goddamnit“ who ran away during the 4th of July fireworks. I was yelling “Goddamnit” out in my yard for two hours and then gave up. I yelled “shit” and a big expensive-looking dog shot out of the bushes by my house, knocked me down, and licked my face. I thought about the one-two-ness of it all. I missed Godammnit, but Shit was a pretty good replacement. But, I hadn’t hoped for Shit. I just wanted to bring Godamnit back home. Laying there, I realized that hoping was a waste of time, that something always comes along to fill the gap. In my case, right then, it was Shit. Who knows? In your case it could be a raccoon or a man or a woman. And, I think you can be optimistic without being hopeful. That means you think good things can happen without knowing what they are! In fact, you may not even think they’re good.

I met my first wife when I got a flat tire outside of Bakersfield. She pulled up in a dune buggy, we got married, and the rest was misery until we divorced three weeks later—barely missing the annulment deadline. But, the first two days were bliss at a motel near San Luis Obispo. On day three, she tried to smother me with a pillow because I remarked on her hairy armpits. It was like she had two lumps of coal grafted to her armpits—I called them her “coal pits.” I yelled “shit!” when she came after me with the pillow, and Shit bounded through the open motel window and growled and barked at her. She got off of me, threw the pillow at Shit and ran out the door. She took the car, and disappeared. I was marooned at the motel with Shit. I got $100 out of the motel’s ATM and packed Shit’s dog dish along with my clothes in my rolly-bag, hooked up Shit’s leash, and Shit and I started walking toward Santa Barbara. We got about 100 yards when an Audi convertible pulled over and the driver asked us if we needed a lift. She was beautiful and kind looking. Shit and I climbed in the car and we took off toward Santa Barbara. She asked me my dog’s name and I told her “Shit.” “That’s fantastic,” she said. I felt like a door had opened in my soul, letting in light, clearing out the darkness. I told her what had happened and she invited us to stay with her for a couple of days. That was one year ago. Nancy’s out of town on business right now and Shit and I are in charge of the villa. Nancy and I are going to have a baby girl. We’re going to name her Hope.


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

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Anacoluthon

Anacoluthon (an-a-co-lu’-thon): A grammatical interruption or lack of implied sequence within a sentence. That is, beginning a sentence in a way that implies a certain logical resolution, but concluding it differently than the grammar leads one to expect. Anacoluthon can be either a grammatical fault or a stylistic virtue, depending on its use. In either case, it is an interruption or a verbal lack of symmetry. Anacoluthon is characteristic of spoken language or interior thought, and thus suggests those domains when it occurs in writing.


I was running, run, run, run like a nose, like a river, like an electric appliance plugged into the wall of nature—a sweet contrivance, seemingly edible, smelling like bacon or a dirty charcoal grill afire on the deck of love, peace, and happiness I basked on in 1966, before I joined the Army so I could go to college tuition-free some day, and learn more than anybody in my family and dazzle our ignorant neighbors with the pile of knowledge accumulated in my head.

There I was at Ft. Dix, New Jersey wondering why the drill instructors said “hup, two, three, four” instead of “one, two, three, four.” So, I asked Staff Sgt. Blood why. He said, “Get down and give me 200.” I didn’t know what that meant, so I got on all fours and started crawling toward Newark, which was roughly 200 miles from Ft. Dix. I wanted to be obedient, and I had given it my best shot, but I got put on guard duty for the “duration” and vowed to bear the high responsibility with pluck and determination, risking my life if need be fending off an invasion of the Fort, or thieves stealing flour and coffee and other edibles from the mess hall warehouse I was diligently guarding. I had one bullet in my M-14. I tripped on the curb as I was patrolling by the warehouse, and my M-14 slipped out of my hands, hit the pavement hard, and fired.

I ran and kept running. Then, I stopped. It was a accident. What could happen? I turned myself in to the first MPs I saw. They were laughing really hard as they handcuffed me and put me in the back of their Jeep. I was charged with leaving my post and received one week of hard labor working as a bouncer at the Fort’s Bar called “Atten-hup” where all the trainees got as drunk as they could on 3.2 beer whenever they had a chance. I did a great job helping to contain the bar’s ruckus—I was big and could make a very scary face.

When I finished basic training, I was shipped to Ft. Gordon for—you guessed it—Military Police training. I learned how to arrest people, beat them up, fingerprint them, and book them. I loved my night stick and my .45 auto strapped to my hip. I was nineteen years old. I couldn’t wait to shoot somebody.

After MP training, I went jump school. I almost died when, on my second jump, I forgot to hook up my static line and the guy behind me failed to notice. I went out the airplane’s door and started falling straight down—I could hear the wind whistling in my ears as I plummeted past my colleagues. I pulled the handle on my reserve chute and it popped open almost as I hit the ground. I was knocked unconscious. I saw an image of Little Orphan Annie dancing in my head. I staggered off the Drop Zone. Everybody cheered.


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

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Anadiplosis

Anadiplosis (an’-a-di-plo’-sis): The repetition of the last word (or phrase) from the previous line, clause, or sentence at the beginning of the next. Often combined with climax.


“Things you can do with dead lobsters“

I am in Maine for the summer for at least the fiftieth time. My family settled here in the 1690s and built boats until my great-great-great grandfather burnt the ship yard down while heating beans in a wooden bucket. There was no insurance back then so they were screwed. Two of their boats are on display in the “Not Very Seaworthy” section of the Maine Maritime Museum. They were both hoisted off the bottom of Penobscot Bay where they sunk “of their own volition” while “running from the British” during the Revolutionary War battle at Bagaduce. My ancestors claimed they were sunk by British canon fire so they would be paid for their part in the battle. Cabin Boy Edward “Corkskrew” Boothbay squealed on my anscestors and they were sentenced to six months hard labor in Thomaston Crown Prison, which had been captured by the rebels. Their “hard labor” consisted of making lobster traps for the Continental Fishing Corps—a fleet of small vessels commandeered by rebel military forces to provide seafood to the starving troops. Troops whose boots were turning to mush and whose greatcoats had turned into filthy flapping rags.

Upon his release from prison, my great-great-great grandfather was able to rebuild one of the ship yard’s outbuildings. He used his new found “hard labor” skill to build himself 25 lobster traps. Then, he went lobstering.

There, in that outbuilding, he invented the lobster roll. People came all the way from Boston to eat them. His nickname was “Lobstah King” and people loved him. However, he still boiled lobsters. Whether it was for a sandwich or a plain boiled lobster, he hated the squealing sound they made when he cooked them. So, he wore big earmuffs to deaden the sound—he looked crazy, and he was. He started making Christmas tree ornaments and ashtrays out of lobster claws, pencil holders out of lobster tails glued to barnacle-covered pieces of wood, toothpicks from lobster antennae, what he called “drop ear-ins” from lobster legs, and finally, flour scoops out of lobster carapaces. He called what he did with the lobster parts “recycilation” and he sold his creations via catalogue all over the world. He became fabulously wealthy and moved to Portland, ME where he enjoyed watching the sunset over the clam flats and smelling the richly scented air.


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

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Anamnesis

Anamnesis (an’-am-nee’-sis): Calling to memory past matters. More specifically, citing a past author [apparently] from memory. Anamnesis helps to establish ethos [credibility], since it conveys the idea that the speaker is knowledgeable of the received wisdom from the past.


“My grandmother’s over eighty and she doesn’t need glasses. She drinks out of the bottle.” Henny Youngman

When I first heard this, I thought of my own grandmother, holding a bottle with two hands and taking a shot. She’d do that three times a day—breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Due to her age, she could hardly walk, but she took a walk every day up and down the driveway shuffling along supported by two aluminum canes we had found cast off by the curb on the day of the month when people are permitted to put non-garbage in the gutter. One day on her morning walk, Grandma tripped over my brother Billy’s toy truck. As she was falling, she yelled, “Who the fuck left that goddamn piece of shit in the driveway?” Then she hit the pavement. Billy peed his pants and ran away. He didn’t come back for two days. The police found him hiding in the rubbish pile by the middle school. He had gone a little crazy after the incident. He had smashed his toy truck to pieces at the playground parking lot and was wearing only white socks, and had covered himself with mud. What’s worse, Billy had gotten really bad diarrhea from drinking out of the little creek that runs through the playground. Dad brought Billy home from the police station with a blanket wrapped across his shoulders, containing the smell and affording him some warmth and coverage.

I was shocked at Grandma’s swearing. But it will always be hard to understand why Billy responded like he did. I can see being very upset and begging Grandma’s forgiveness, but what Billy did was crazy. And this was just the start. Billy started making snorting sounds at the dinner table and sticking his face in his dinner plate like a dog would stick it’s face in it’s dog bowl. He would go out in the back yard when he thought nobody was watching and do his “thing,” actually taking off his pants and lifting his leg toward the big maple tree. Billy was institutionalized when he started sniffing his classmates’ butts. We never had a dog, and hardly ever saw a dog. We always wondered where Billy’s dog identity came from. Then one afternoon, I noticed a picture of a dog by Grandma’s bed—it was Whizzer, her companion for many years. Maybe Billy became a dog because he wanted to take Whizzer’s place as a way of atoning for the driveway incident. I asked Grandma what she thought of my theory. She said, “Keep that up and you’ll be sharing a room with my nutcase grandson.” Then I asked her why she swore like she did that day. “None of your fucking business,” she said as she looked out the window.


Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (rhetoric.byu.edu). Gorgias has inserted the bracketed words [apparently] and [credibility].

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Anaphora

Anaphora (an-aph’-o-ra): Repetition of the same word or group of words at the beginning of successive clauses, sentences, or lines.


I fell from grace like tumbling dice, loaded and rolling into the curb, and bouncing one last time before they rested, showing their illicit dots from 1-12.

I fell from grace like a gambler with a magical hope, a special design, an intuition promoting confidence in winning my bet, stuffing bills away and paying my debts to the man with the handgun standing against the wall smoking a cigarette and squinting.

I fell from grace not long after I had obtained it, like an old man with a broken memory unable to recall his own name, living in a cruel nursing home with nothing but swirling fog in his head that would clear for a minute or two when he spoke to his granddaughter on the phone or watched Gilligan’s Island reruns with the other residents in the day room. He took 11 tablets per day—his breath smelled strongly of vitamin B and his nose would not stop dripping.

What does it mean fall from grace, to slip away from what ought to matter—taking an Uber ride off a cliff and sailing toward the bottom of a canyon where a glistening river runs through the rocks scattered below? The river, the water, has worn the canyon into the earth, turned boulders into gravel and given beautiful fat fish a home, a place for deer to drink, and a brink at the canyon’s edge—a launch pad for bungee jumpers and a step into death for the bereaved.

I stand at the brink bereft of a stretchy cord. I am graceless beyond measure. I can’t cry anymore. I jump. There is a rock ledge 2 feet below the cliff’s edge. I land on it feet first and regain my balance. I climb back up on the cliff. I take one last look and head for my car. It’s a long drive home, and I have a lot to think about.


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

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Anapodoton

Anapodoton (an’-a-po’-do-ton): A figure in which a main clause is suggested by the introduction of a subordinate clause, but that main clause never occurs.

Anapodoton is a kind of anacoluthon, since grammatical expectations are interrupted. If the expression trails off, leaving the subordinate clause incomplete, this is sometimes more specifically called anantapodoton. Anapodoton has also named what occurs when a main clause is omitted because the speaker interrupts himself/herself to revise the thought, leaving the initial clause grammatically unresolved but making use of it nonetheless by recasting its content into a new, grammatically complete sentence.


It was . . .. No! It was more than instant. My dawn Googles had gone well. Exalted Master 5G Answerfast would be pleased. He would surely advance me from Novice to Junior Querian soon. I had been running internet searches twice a day for a year—ever since I was inducted into the order of Googleites—a group of more uncertain than average men and women who venerate Google; the God-like Engine of the Search able to answer your every question, and calm you with a response, no matter how brief or lengthy: it was Google—Google on high, Google without end, Holy Google, Amen.

I had met him in an Internet cafe in Madrid, Spain after being discharged from the American Army for stealing a box of fruit from the loading dock behind the base’s mess hall. I was a mess. I was full of regret and all I could do was slump behind a computer, wasting money, and staring at the slide-show screen saver: baby monkeys, a Ferris wheel, daffodils, sunlit canyons, ice cream cones, beaches, and then, something I didn’t recognize! It quickly dissolved into the screen. I pounded the table and the image came back! The man sitting next to me said “Google it my son.” I looked at his open and caring face and asked ”How does one Google what one does not know?” “Exactly!” He replied. “Just briefly describe it to Google and trust Google’s answers—Google won’t deceive you. Google is love. Just pick one of the answers you are blessed to receive and go with it. Follow your heart.” So, I described it: silver, shaped like a cylinder, punched full of holes. Google found 36,590,00 results in 10.6 seconds. I didn’t care what they were—I had just witnessed a miracle. I felt restored. The man next to me put his hand on my shoulder and told me that Google was my information intense savior ready answer my prayers as long as they were framed as brief questions.

I was saved. It was Exalted Master 5G Answerfast who showed me the way in Madrid. I am blessed. What are your questions? May Google be with you.


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

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Anastrophe

Anastrophe (an-as’-tro-phee): Departure from normal word order for the sake of emphasis. Anastrophe is most often a synonym for hyperbaton, but is occasionally referred to as a more specific instance of hyperbaton: the changing of the position of only a single word.


Over the hill I went. It wasn’t an upward incline with with a plummet on the other side. Rather, my 80th birthday it was. I was so old I could remember Roosevelt in his last term as President, and then, Harry Truman—“Give ‘em hell Harry!” That was pre-Fox News, when most Americans had a solid grip on America, knew what was good for them, and could tell the difference between a Commie and a Democrat, shit and Shinola. Now they’re eating shit and enjoying it. The “public” has become a collection of inmates incarcerated by lies, misinformation, and basically, a pile of steaming bullshit. Can you imagine trying to get Social Security through Congress in 2022? People in poverty, people living barren lives, elderly hungry Republicans, and nearly everybody who would directly benefit from a monthly paycheck, would protest its passage. Why? Their brains have been fried by FOX News—you can almost smell it when you get close to them. Whatever FOX says is best, is best. There’s no room for critical thinking in their scrambled brains. They would be on the streets with flags and guns, threatening a revolution if the “commies” are allowed to pay benefits made from peoples’ working-life paycheck deductions. Now we know where their unfounded prejudices come from—opinions with no bases, except other unfounded opinions, ad infinitum. Justifications and excuses are layered on myths and because they are uttered by people wearing neckties/bowties who “know what’s really going on” they are adopted. In their conspiracy-laden wasteland, believers echo the echoes, and the echoes echo each other and transform into accepted truths and foundations for action. They become ubiquitous and are confirmed on Fox News—the enemy of America operating in plain view—while, ironically, hiding behind the US Constitution’s Second Amendment: the very document they’d like to see go up in flames, along with books like Thomas Paine’s Common Sense or Rights of Man.

That’s right. Letting FOX News sling their shit, is like having a Nazi News program airing its bullshit on the radio in the 30s. It’s like having Lord Haw-Haw telling us the “Truth.” But anyway, I’m an old man. Over the hill I’ve gone. Like most old people, I am a certified pessimist. When my great-grandson starts goose-stepping around the living room, I’ll probably start up my truck in the garage, with the garage door closed.

Anesis

Anesis (an’-e-sis): Adding a concluding sentence that diminishes the effect of what has been said previously. The opposite of epitasis.


I work in the Cosmic Mirror Factory in Rabbit Drop, Pennsylvania. I think it reflects well on me, except for the horror I’ve experienced in front of the glass. You see, I’m a fog blower—I get one inch away from a newly made mirror and breathe on it, making a small circle of fog indicating the mirror’s viability. If it fogs, I draw a little smiley face in the fog. If it fails to fog, I smash it with a hammer and send the remnants back for recycling. I had to give up smoking to keep the job. My hacking cough kept me from blowing a stream of breath sufficient to fog the mirror. I was 6 months smoke free when it happened.

I was fog blowing a very large mirror that had been made for the lobby of a hotel in Doha. I couldn’t get it to fog and worried about smashing it, given what it had cost to make. I blew one more breath, hoping for it to fog, and it did! But the whole mirror fogged and the fog opened into portal. I stuck my hand into the portal and something grabbed me and pulled me in. When I got to the other side I looked in every direction, and it was a mirror everywhere I looked. But my reflection was not in any of the mirrors. I was invisible. “This is such a cliche,” I said aloud, voice trembling, “What am I, Alice in Wonderland?” The mirrored world briefly turned to clear glass and then it disappeared altogether leaving me in a log cabin on a ridge overlooking a beautiful valley with a wide river flowing through it. I was thirsty, so I hiked down to the river. I cupped my hands and dipped them in the river. Suddenly I was pulled into the river. I became a leaf. I was floating downriver. There was a centipede riding on me. He said his name was Sean and that he worked in a mirror factory in Edinburgh, Scotland and had been pulled through a mirror there 2 weeks ago, incarnating as a centipede when he got here. I was shocked. It was bad enough being some random leaf, but having a talking centipede riding me downriver was more than I could handle. At my first opportunity I would drown myself. Just then, we went over a waterfall at least fifty feet high. Sean fell off the leaf and the wind caught me and blew me ashore.

I awoke, soaking wet on the factory floor. I was holding a small wet maple leaf between my fingers. There was a wet guy standing over me wearing only a tattered kilt. “I’m Sean,” he said, “you saved my life. I hung onto you and let go when we drifted over the riverbank. Now, I’m going to rest under a rock for a few hours, and then, figure out how to get back to Scotland.” I sat there waiting for the next horror saga to hit. But it didn’t—it never did. I had the little maple leaf mounted in a glass shadow box and I keep it in plain view on my mantle. Given the hell I went trough and it’s role in saving me, it should’ve taught me a lesson, but I don’t know what the lesson is supposed to be. I still work for the Cosmic Mirror Factory as a fog blower, but I have vowed never to touch another mirror ever again. Sean has become an entomologist, specializing in the mating habits of centipedes.


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

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Antanaclasis

Antanaclasis (an’-ta-na-cla’-sis): The repetition of a word or phrase whose meaning changes in the second instance.


It was my room, but it had no room. That’s all I had. It was all I could afford living in New York City. It was like my dorm room in college, only smaller. My bed was the size of a closet door. I had a cube-shaped refrigerator that looked like a black hassock with a door. All my “cooking” was done on a hot plate or in a microwave smaller than my refrigerator. I had one electrical outlet. That’s where I plugged in my appliances. The refrigerator stayed plugged in always. My kettle and microwave changed places when I needed to use one or the other, or to charge my phone at night. I had one chair. It was red and was smeared with different-colored stains from years of use without cleaning. It was a recliner, so I could have a guest visit and stay over night. I had a tray table that I used to eat my meals from, watching movies and scrolling through Instagram on my phone. There was a toilet, a sink and a shower lined up against one wall. The shower was a six-foot high rectangular metal box with a curtain. I had one window overlooking the air shaft and walked up eight floors to get to my little chunk of New York living!

In the past four months I had been gently mugged nine times on my building’s stoop in broad daylight by the same person. I’ve given his description to the police so many times I have dreams about dancing with him at the techno music club around the the corner. My bicycle was stolen when I forgot to bring it up to my apartment, where I kept it hanging from the ceiling. The windows have been broken out of my car twice. Some crazy women keeps jumping out of the alley by my building and yelling at me for not making the child support payments. If she keeps it up, I’ll probably make the payments just to get her off my back. The night before last I saw a homeless man pee on the subway floor, followed by a super-fart that woke a guy up who was sleeping in his seat. He must’ve been a Veteran because he yelled “incoming” and put his head between his knees while the homeless man held out a styrofoam cup and started singing the song about piña coladas.

That did it. I had to get the hell out of NYC before something really bad happened to me—like turning into a paranoid loser, a vigilante, or a cab driver. But then there was Shiela from work. She would sit on my desk and let me look up her dress. I asked her out at least twenty times and she always said “No way!” This morning she was late for work and was not dressed nicely at all. Then, I had the biggest shock of my NYC life: Sheila was the “crazy” women who jumped out of the alley demanding child support payments from me!

That night, l packed my meager belongings. I had heard a song about going to Kansas City on the XM 60s station. It sounded like a pretty cool place. The lyric, “They got some crazy little women there” was a little troublesome. I just had to hope they weren’t as crazy as Shiela. I was going to Kansas City; Kansas City here I come.


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

Antanagoge

Antanagoge (an’-ta-na’-go-gee): Putting a positive spin on something that is nevertheless acknowledged to be negative or difficult.


The oceans are rising. I used have to walk 100 yards to the beach from my summer home. Now, I only walk fifty yards to get to the nature-heated 85 degree ocean. These are the fruits of climate change—nothing bad about a hot ocean and a nearer shore! No more freezing chills up and down your spine when you try to swim. No more trudging to the beach and arriving tired from the trek. Then, there’s the diminishing bug population. What can be bad about that? I haven’t had to scrape a messy Monarch Butterfly off my car’s windshield in years! I remember what a pain in the butt it was—all that yellow goo and shattered orange and black wings. Thank God they’re going the way of the do-do. Then there’s birds. Those damn Passenger pigeons would fly over in the thousands, pooping mercilessly on everything below them. Luckily people loved how they tasted and market hunters with their sky canons blasted them into extinction. The last passenger pigeon was roasted and served with new potatoes, coleslaw, beets, boiled milkweed pods, and a bottle of “Dr. Grunt” a popular carbonated beverage made of sugar and water with a hint of ergot fungus. Finally: no more crap on the roof. But also, no more tasty bird on the table. But you know, nobody wants a crap coated roof. If you have to choose, you go for the roof. When the extinction was reported on the news, all the smart people gave a big “huzza” and started scraping the pigeon crap off their houses.

Instead of making climate change into a problem that needs be be solved, we should look at the positive things it has brought our way. Ten years ago, I was chased by a polar bear when I was minding my own business at the North Pole. These kinds of animals are a menace to humanity—they will eat you for God’s sake! Since I was chased, the Polar Ice Cap has melted a lot, leaving the damn polar bears to float around on breakaway icebergs until they drown. To say this is a bad thing is like saying winning the lotto is a bad thing!

Basically, I say you can shove your white rhino and run over a Darwin’s Fox tonight with your SUV! People are at the top of the food chain. Why treat some damn woodpecker or centipede like it was up there at the top like us? Next thing you know, we’ll be marrying Bambi’s mother or competing for jobs with raccoons! I say, look at the bright side. Just think if the only mammals running around out there were deer, cows, horses, sheep, and pigs. Just think if the only insects were honeybees. Just think if the only birds were chickens, turkeys, and ducks. Just think if the only plants were tomatoes, wheat, rice, corn, clover, and potatoes. Just think. A simple uncomplicated world with honey, duck meat, and cornbread is coming our way, courtesy of climate change. Take a deep breath and if you choke, be grateful. It’s the sound of better things coming. It’s the sound of change.


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

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Antenantiosis

Antenantiosis (an’-ten-an’-ti-os’-is): See litotes. (Deliberate understatement, especially when expressing a thought by denying its opposite. The Ad Herennium author suggests litotes as a means of expressing modesty [downplaying one’s accomplishments] in order to gain the audience’s favor [establishing ethos]).


I can’t believe you’re giving me the Lock and Lord Award for the service I’ve done on behalf of Holy Christ Firearms (HCF). When I first came to work at HCF I was a small self-contained man riven with fear and living in nearly constant anxiety about pooping in my pants on the shop floor. But when it happened, nobody seemed to mind. I was elated that nobody cared, and for the first time in my life, it was ok to poop my pants at work. My adult diaper held the mess from running down my leg, and it’s charcoal filter contained the stink. My colleagues’ selfless acceptance of my health issues made me open my heart, and want to rain down blessings of my own on HCF. My first blessing project, as you all know, was to make an attachment for our Galilee Six Shooter. The attachment makes the revolver into a hammer, a meat tenderizer, a gavel, or a laser pointer—four transformations that versatilitizes the handgun— temporarily turning a “sword” into a “plowshare.” We call the attachment the “Swiss Army Regimenter.” We’ve always heard good things about the Swiss Army, the knives they make, and the Wild uniforms they wear guarding the Vatican. We sent a “Regimenter” to the Pope and he blessed it and put it up for sale at the Vatican’s annual yard sale. Our “Regimenter” landed on a table with a piece of Joan of Arc’s dress, from before she started wearing armor. Next to Joan’s dress was a fragment of a communion wafer that Charlemagne choked on. Finally, there was a glass eye that had belonged to Bishop Fulton Sheen, the first televangelist. We all know he made Billy Graham look like a lost sheep wandering along the Protestant slow lane on the road to heaven. How baaad can it get? Ha ha!

My second blessing project was the “Sinners Around the Corner” rifle. It has a specially bent barrel that shoots around corners. If you’re in a shootout with a sinner, it keeps you out of harm’s way. Since you can’t see what you’re shouting at, there may be the occasional accident, but that is far outweighed by the bent barrel’s around-the-corner safety capability.

Oh darn. I pooped. I have to cut my speech short and go clean up in the men’s room. Let me conclude by saying how undeserving I am of this prestigious award. I am so grateful for your decision and the love that everyone has shown me, especially Ms. Binklo who has literally stood by me despite the gurgling and farting when I’ve had to let one go. Thank you Mindy. Thank you fellow workers. But especially, thank you Holy Christ Firearms—your aim is true.


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

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Anthimeria

Anthimeria (an-thi-mer’-i-a): Substitution of one part of speech for another (such as a noun used as a verb).


He was a human “Ho-Ho.” I can’t explain it, but every time I saw Milt I started to laugh. Maybe my laughter came from basic meanness or some kind of incongruity between Milt and the way we’re supposed to look, and the way he looked. Milt must’ve dressed in the dark every morning. One day he showed up at work wearing one black polartec slipper and one patent leather dress shoe, red sweat pants, plaid flannel shirt, a blue necktie with a picture of a smiling Jesus on it, and a hat advertising baked beans. Standing there with his Tiger Wood coffee mug, he gave me a big smile and said “Hi Jim.” I tried to return the greeting, but I started uncontrollably sucking in air and my nose started snoffelling and my throat contracted, then, bam, out came a chuckle that turned into a guffaw, that turned into a roaring belly laugh. After it all subsided, I apologized to Milt and started to walk away. “Wait a minute,” he said. He told me he suffered from sartorial dyslexia (SD): an inability to dress right due to a genetically-based chemical imbalance in the part of the brain that processes wardrobe choices. He told me he inherited it, and that family gatherings were like fashion shows without fashion—everything from bathing suits with sports coats, to total nudity with one black Blundstone, and an Apple Watch. I was totally taken by surprise that Milt had a disease that prompted his bizarre clothing choices. I asked him if there was some kind of foundation I could donate to that helps people suffering from SD. He told me the most help I could give was to “Walk in my shoe for a day.”

So, the next morning I dressed in the dark—putting on whatever came to hand, whenever it came to hand. I ended up leaving the house with a Beatle boot on one foot and a penny loafer on the other, blue compression pants, a hunter orange polartec vest, and a navy-blue necktie with ducks on it (neckties were required at work). When I stepped out my door I instantly noticed that people were staring at me, some were laughing and pointing, same were yelling mean taunts—“Where’d you get dressed? In a blender?” That was the rudest. I didn’t even get to the subway before turning around and running with a shoe-induced limp back to my apartment. When I got there, I tore off my clothes and took a shower. I felt so bad for Milt.

I moved in with him and became his “dresser.” I would properly dress him every morning before we went to work. I even went to one of his family gatherings. It was a combination of a mescaline-induced Mardi Gras and a Hieronymus Bosch painting. I loved it! Anyway, we fell in love and got married. Every once-in-awhile, I get dressed in the dark and we drink beer, and we dance around the apartment and laugh.


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.