Abecedarian (a-be-ce-da’-ri-an): An acrostic whose letters do not spell a word but follow the order (more or less) of the alphabet.

A big crow descended, eerily flying, going hurriedly into Joey’s Mangetout nursery. We went inside the greenhouse to find the Crow, but it had flown out the other end. His visit was short, but he had dropped off a newborn kitten, eyes still closed, on the soft dirt spaded around one of the bean plants. Crows had always been good to me. I loved them and my nickname was Crow. But anyway, now a Crow had delivered a newborn kitten. I asked my friend, “What’re the odds? I think they are incalculable.” Melanie told me to go ahead and take charge of the kitten—I was good at those kinds of things. As I drove the kitten home, I tried to think of a clever name for him. After running hundreds of names through my head, like Clipper, Felix, Mewbert, and Peter, I settled on Byron. I don’t know why. He hadn’t had a chance to display any characteristics to be named after. I guess I just liked Byron.

So, I bottle-fed Byron and cuddled him. He was short-haired and pure white with a remarkable marking on his forehead: a perfectly shaped black heart. As Byron grew, I trained him to walk on a leash. People would ooh and aah at his heart marking. One day I was walking along Canal Street with Byron. An elderly woman walking toward us stopped and suddenly yelled “Stop right there.” I recognized her from her picture on the flyers taped all over the neighborhood. She read tarot cards out of a small storefront. She was notoriously good at it, helping people deal with their destinies. She said: “Your cat is special.” Byron looked at her as she spoke. I asked “In what way is he special?” “You will find out,” she said, laughed, turned around, and walked away. We took the shortcut through the alley when suddenly a guy with a knife appeared out of nowhere. “Give it to me!” he yelled. I had no idea what he wanted. “Give me the cat or I’ll kill you!” I was stunned. Byron sprung into action. With a deep growl, he leapt at the robber’s head and clawed out one of his eyeballs. He dropped the knife, screamed, and fell to the ground sobbing for help. Byron and I walked away like nothing had happened. Byron’s tail was sticking straight up—a sign he was happy.

Then I got audited by the IRS. They let me bring Byron because I told them he was my comfort cat. We sat down and the agent started to speak: “We are concerned about . . .” And Byron started purring. The agent blinked his eyes shook his head and continued “the mistake we’ve made making you come in for an audit.” Byron purred. The agent continued: “In fact, the IRS owes you $60,000.” Byron purred. The agent continued: “whoops, my mistake, it’s $600,000. You should get a check in two weeks.” Byron looked at me and winked!

This sort of thing has been going for years now. Byron’s purr has some sort magical power. I often wonder where the crow had found him and why I had ended up ‘owning’ him. I don’t care if I ever find the answer. We are pals forever. We’re going to look at a new Maserati tomorrow.

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.


Accismus (ak-iz’-mus): A feigned refusal of that which is earnestly desired.

After forty years, I finally got an award. I deserved it so much that I wanted to curse the awards committee for overlooking me all these years, and maybe hit one of them over the head with the little plaque—the size of a Hershey Bar. I expected to stick around for another 20 years, so I didn’t want to ruin my chances for another award, so I faked it, saying I didn’t deserve it and I couldn’t accept it. Professor Clap, a drama professor in the front row yelled “You’re damn right! I’ll come up there and get it Prof. Bullshit Slacker.” The audience applauded and hooted, and Clap started to get out of his seat. At that point Dean Rambling intervened. He yelled “Sit down Clap! The committee was unanimous in selecting Professor Duly for the college’s Nick Belgium Treadmill Award—for going nowhere, but never giving up. As we know, Mr. Belgium, our most distinguished alum, had inherited tremendous wealth and spent prolifically on crackpot schemes, most notably, the solar-powered banana peeler. Not one of his schemes succeeded, but he never gave up. Most people considered him an idiot, but he endowed the College’s Treadmill Award—which carries a $20.00 cash stipend, divided into 20 equal payments. He also endowed the Pyramid Chair in Economics which is currently held by Prof. Bagman, who, as everybody knows, now teaches via Zoom from Rahway State Prison in New Jersey. Now, shut the hell up.”

I shook hands with Dean Rambling and left auditorium to catcalls and wadded up paper thrown at me. When I got outside, I looked at my car. It was a rusted up piece of shit. I had never been able to afford a new car, but now that I was an award winning Professor, I went to “Stony Joe’s Used Wheels” out on Highway 61. I told Stony I had just won an award, so it was time to buy a car. I didn’t tell him about the meager stipend. He said, “I’ve got just the thing—super discounted for a sharp-looking guy like you.” He took me across the lot to a nearly new Cadillac parked about 20 feet off the lot. It had about 20-30 of those pine tree air fresheners hanging around the mirror. I opened the car door and it stunk of cherries—so oppressive that I could almost feel the smelly cherries in my nostrils. Stony told me the car had belonged to a rich nutcase named Belgium who had never succeeded at anything. He had sat in his running car in the garage with the door closed. He went the way of the angels 2 months ago. Accordingly, he sat in his garage decomposing for 2 months. The warm summer days helped turn him almost into liquid. If you want his nearly new Cadillac for $1,000, it’s yours. Just change the air fresheners once-a-week—cherry works best.”

I thought “Oh the irony.” I bought Belgium’s Cadillac. I religiously changed the air fresheners and learned to like their smell. My colleagues at Aaron Burr College like my smell. I have found that this is a key to earning their respect, that, and owning a nearly new Cadillac. I am eligible for the Gerber “Spoon Fed Teaching Award” this year. It is awarded to “the faulty member who consistently adjusts their standards to assure a minimum grade of “B” for all their students.” I’ve had my eyes on this award for years. I’ve gone the extra mile by ensuring a B+ for all of my students in my signature philosophy course: “Life is a Bowl of Cherries.”

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.


Acervatio (ak-er-va’-ti-o): Latin term Quintilian employs for both asyndeton (acervatio dissoluta: a loose heap) and polysyndeton (acervatio iuncta:a conjoined heap).

Sunrise. Sunset. Mid-afternoon, 3:00 a.m. We look at the clock and we look at our watch, and everything is encompassed by time, and there is early, and there is late, and there is right on time—timeless, timely. The variations on time indicate it’s ubiquity. It passes. What does it mean?

It means we are finite beings aware of life’s eventual end—another mark of time written across the surface of our soul. It is a blessing and a curse.

I new I had drifted onto a new life course when I lost my time consciousness after a near-fatal motorcycle accident in a dust storm near Mesa Verde in Colorado. It came out of nowhere. The wind was so strong it tilted my motorcycle to a 60 degree angle. My mouth was filled with grit and I could hardly see. I tried to straighten my motorcycle. It was stupid. My hand came off the handlebar and the front wheel lurched to the right. I crossed white line flew off the highway, hit a small boulder and flew over the handlebars. I was probably going around 35 mph by the time I flew off the motorcycle. The brake lever had caught me in the stomach. I was wearing only a T-shirt, so the lever punctured my skin and gave me a pretty good gash. When I came to, I saw I was bleeding pretty bad. I pushed off the motorcycle from on top of me and tried to stand up. I couldn’t—the pain was too much. I was going to die by the side of the road, in a dust storm, in Colorado. Then, there was no time, none, zero, zip. I had lost my sense of being there. The anxiety that always threaded it’s way through my life was gone. There was no memory, no hope, no consciousness, but a small voice wishing me well.

There was a trading post across the road from where I had crashed. I reawakened as I was being pulled across the road, laying on a beautiful Navajo blanket. I felt weak and passed out again. When I woke up there was a young Navajo woman sewing up my wound. There was some yellow cream she had smeared on it that totally removed the pain.

I healed really quickly, had my motorcycle repaired and resumed my journey to anywhere. Having lost my time-consciousness I was like a leaf in the wind. Then, I called my mother and landed back on the clock: “Where are you? When are you coming home?, Do you know how long it’s been since we heard from you?, School starts again in a couple of moths! Your little sister wants you home now!” It was like somebody stuck an air compressor in my ear and blew away the quality of life I had been given.

“Whoosh! Look at me, I’m being in time!”

Definitions 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.


Acoloutha: The substitution of reciprocal words; that is, replacing one word with another whose meaning is close enough to the former that the former could, in its turn, be a substitute for the latter. This term is best understood in relationship to its opposite, anacoloutha.

I fell down again. I didn’t exactly plummet, but I fell. I had contracted “Fall-Down Syndrome” on a safari to Tampa, Florida. We had been contracted by the Peace and Freedom Party to observe gun shops to better understand their patrons. Tampa is a prime site. Nearly everybody owns at least one gun. Some own 50 or 60.

I contracted Fall-Down when I was bitten by a Mullet in Tampa Bay. Nobody told me of the danger. The water looked so inviting and I had only been in Tampa for 1 day when I was bitten. I didn’t notice it at the time, but the mullet had grabbed ahold of my armpit. When I started toweling down, I detected it and tore it out from under my armpit. That was my mistake. The residual mullet saliva that was left behind in the small wound in my armpit contains the bacterium muleticus falldownious. It took about a month, but eventually I started falling down. It did not matter where or when, I just went down. I fell into the avocado display at the grocery store. I fell into the reflecting pool outside the bank. I fell down the stairs at home. My home is now fitted with foam rubber floors, so I’m safe there. When I go out, I wear a football helmet, knee pads, and boxing gloves.

A cure to my malady has been discovered and I’ve travelled back to Tampa for a consultation, and a possible dose of the cure. Doctor Mojito’s office had a foam rubber floor. I found that reassuring. The Doctor explained that the vaccine was extracted from the contents of Pelicans’ stomachs, whose chief food source is the mullet. The digested mullet is sucked out of the Pelicans’ rectums with a soft rubber hose that causes stress but no physical injury. Then, it is subjected to a secret process. He said, “The vaccine is $2,000, payable in cash prior to being vaccinated. We don’t take insurance because the vaccine has not been approved by the FDA.”

I was elated. I withdrew $2,000 from the ATM across the street. It took 10 transactions, but I pulled it off. I headed back to the Doctor’s office and fell down in the middle of the street. Two homeless people dragged me across the street after I was almost run over by a gang of mopeds driven by kids. I gave the homeless people $1.00 each for their trouble. I entered the Doctor’s office and the receptionist asked me if I was “ready to pay the tariff.” I told her “Yes” and the Doctor’s examination room door swung open. Dr. Mojito had a syringe in his hand. I was wearing a short-sleeved shirt. He pushed up the sleeve and plunged in the needle, and that was that.

I was cured. I went walking all over my little home town with no trepidations. I went to the mall. I went to the grocery store. All was well UNTIL I started growing a Pelican pouch under my chin. I have no idea how it was possible, but whenever I ate, I stuffed the pouch and went to my room and ate the contents with my hands. I am looking into having plastic surgery to remove the pouch. I have tried to contact Dr. Mojito, but his receptionist keeps telling me that he’s “draining the Pelicans.” I wonder if this is a metaphor.

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


Acrostic: When the first letters of successive lines are arranged either in alphabetical order (= abecedarian) or in such a way as to spell a word.





My mother was cheap. My sister and I would make mooing sounds when she brought home the fake butter. She would tell us that butter was sooo expensive. She saved twenty-five cents while depriving us of one of nature’s greatest flavors. My dad worked in a diner washing dishes and every once in awhile he would sneak out 3 or 4 pats of butter. Dad would make toast and smear on the butter. All you could hear was “Mmm” and the crunching as we bit into the heavenly toast.

Finally, one day, Dad brought home a whole stick of butter from the diner “at great personal risk.” We took turns holding it and smelling it. Mom said she was “going to make all kinds of things with it.” She started making brownies. We had heard of them, but had never eaten, or even seen one. Mom said they had a chocolate flavor with walnuts mixed in. I felt like I would soon be visiting an exotic land with belly dancers and camels and harems.

Before Mom even got started, there was a moderate earthquake. The butter fell off the table and Arf, our idiot dog, gobbled it up and barked for more. Dad got the shotgun out of the closet and loaded both barrels. “Goddamn worthless mutt,” he yelled putting the leash on Arf so he could take him out in the yard and shoot him. Mom said, “Hebert, if you shoot that dog, the will be no love between us ever again.” We she said “love” she made quotation marks with her fingers. With that, my dad unleashed Arf, unloaded the shotgun, and put it back in the closet.

I had saved $1.00 from my allowance. I did odd jobs around the house—cleaned the toilet, took out the garbage—all the things my father wouldn’t do. I was going to use my dollar to buy Mom a new stick of butter. I went to the supermarket and found what I was looking for: “Land ‘O Lakes.” I thought the girl on the box was pretty. I opened the box and took out one stick.

The check out lady told me I had to buy a whole box of butter, that opening boxes was not allowed at the supermarket. I told her I only had a dollar and one stick was all I needed. She tried to pull the butter stick out of my hand. I pulled it away and ran out of the supermarket holding it like a marathon runner’s baton. That’s when I discovered I could run really fast. I outran the police car that was chasing me! I couldn’t believe it. I was like a rocket! Mom made the brownies and we ate them all in one sitting. Dad even gave one to Arf. It made him a little sick

The next day I joined the school track team. They called my Johnny Lightning. I was state champion every year and won three Olympic Gold Medals.

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.


Adage (ad’-age): One of several terms describing short, pithy sayings, or traditional expressions of conventional wisdom.

“Life is but a dream.” I’d rather say “Life is but a nightmare.” Or maybe, “Life is but a bad dream.” Is this about the man who fell asleep and dreamed he was a butterfly, and when he awoke he didn’t know whether he was a man, or a butterfly dreaming he was a man? Roy Orbison had dreams—“In dreams I walk with you. In dreams I talk with you. In dreams you’re mine all of the time . . .” Jeez Roy, that’s ambitious. What about Gary Wright? For him, there is a mystical creature who wove dreams for him on a train he drove, maybe like sweaters, so he wouldn’t get depressed:

“I’ve just closed my eyes again
Climbed aboard the dream weaver train
Driver take away my worries of today
And leave tomorrow behind”


I dreamed one time that I was a hot dog hiding in a vegetarian cafe called “Don’t Meat Here.” I was a fugitive from a boardwalk hot dog cart. I had fallen off the cart when we hit a bump in front of “Don’t Meat Here.” One of the patrons had seen me and kicked me through the door. General mayhem ensued as I rolled across the floor. Panic stricken patrons blanched at the sight of meat, and fought to get out the door. But, the chef understood. He saw me as a fugitive. He cleaned me off and put me in the refrigerator. I flourished in the cool flow of refrigerated air.

One night, well after the cafe had closed, the chef opened the refrigerated door. He looked at me an said: “I’m sorry. I am going to boil you and eat you. I am weak-willed. There’s only so much brown rice I can cook and still consider myself a chef. I look at you and I think of the baseball games my father took me to as a kid—“Red Hots! Get your Red Hots.” Mustard, Relish. Maybe, onions. Soft bun, and the hot dog skin squeaks when you bite into it. I can’t forget family cookouts. Aunts, uncles, cousins, parents, and grandparents. Maybe 4th of July, or Labor Day. “Dogs” hot off the grill, cooked by the able hand of Uncle Harvey, my inspiration to become chef. Then, he picked me up with a set of tongs, said “Bye” and dropped me in the boiling water.

There was no pain. My hot dog soul began its journey to Hot Dog Heaven. I was tucked into a perfectly toasted bun. Then, I saw the white light. It was Yankee Stadium lit up for a night game. There was an angel vending hot dogs and I landed gently in her hand. She threw me into the night—into the starry darkness. As I flew along, I saw Yogi, and Mickey, Moose, Whitey and all rest. They waved and smiled as I flew past. Then, I met God and he ate me.

At that point, I woke up. It was the best dream I ever had. Now I know, when I boil a hot dog, that I’m sending it’s soul to hot dog heaven.

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.


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

“Time will tell“ I thought to myself as I looked at the clock on the kitchen wall. “Time will tell” I said out loud as the clock ticked and the minute hand jumped ahead to next tic mark at 2:06. It was dark outside and I was troubled. It was my conscience—my relentless conscience piled high with wrongs—my misdeeds that are grist for my insomnia mill.

I’ve gotten away with a lot in my life. An abundance of bad behavior had lain the foundation for my wealth. Lying, cheating and stealing is how I got where I am today—as they say, “It doesn’t matter how many people you step on on the way up,” I stepped on a lot of people. I broke a lot of rules. I broke the law too often to recount here. I am bad and my conscience bears witness to that fact. But, what eats away at me and keeps me awake at night is Suzy.

Suzy and I were classmates in the 5th grade in a small town in New Jersey. They said our streets were the most smoothly paved in the state because the Mafia took care of them. My father would hang me from the basement rafters and beat me with a bullwhip if I “got out of line,” like the time when I as 12 and drove his car through the back of the garage. I was a little “off” and would frequently act impulsively without thinking of the consequences. Now, we come to Suzy.

Even though I was only in the fifth grade, I had feelings for her. Nothing romantic—she was kind and friendly and always smiled and said hello. She had contracted Polio a few years before, wore an unwieldy brace on her left leg, and limped badly.

Back then, movies only cost twenty-five cents. “Them” was coming to the movie theatre. It was about giant ants that ate people. I didn’t have any money—not even lunch money. I begged for food in the cafeteria. I decided to ask Suzy for twenty-five cents. I knew she had it—she was rich. I asked her to take a walk with me to the janitor’s closet. When we got there, I asked her for twenty-five cents. She said “No!” Angered, I pushed her down—with her leg brace she fell really hard. She was knocked out. I reached in her purse and took twenty-five cents. When Suzy awoke she had amnesia and could not remember anything. I went to the movies and totally enjoyed “Them.”

Suzy relapsed due to her injuries, ended up in an iron lung, and died. At the time, I felt no remorse—I had gotten to see “Them” and that was all that mattered. I was all that mattered. Nothing else mattered. Me.

About ten years ago, the “Suzy Incident” started charging into my mind late at night and fill it with guilt, remorse, and sorrow. I can’t shake it. I can’t tell anybody about it, I can’t atone. All I can do is stay up until dawn anguishing. I might as well be dead, but I’m not ready to go yet. I have these sleeping pills I never take. I am saving them up for when it’s time. I was thinking “Time will tell.” But now I’m thinking “Tell what?”

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.


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.

Joey Ford was a human pickup truck—he was like an F-100 with legs. He was a Ford. He had a Ford. He drove a Ford. It was too funny. One of his favorite things to do was ford creeks when the spring melt was running. He had an extender on his air filter so he could ride through three or four feet of water. When we called him “Joey Ford” we meant it!

Joey was my best friend. One of our favorite things to do with the Ford was troll for trash on the day designated for putting junk by the curb. This particular day we had scored pretty big: a bicycle in good shape, a stool, a wheelbarrow with a few years left, a floor lamp, a football helmet, an aquarium, and few more less noteworthy things. I liked the floor lamp and asked Joey if I could have it. He said “Sure” and I lifted it out of the truck when we got to my house. I hauled it up to my bedroom and plugged in next to my bed. The chord was like snakeskin. The lamp was gold-colored and very heavy. It had a marble base and three light sockets, like an upside down chandelier. Each light socket had its own switch that twisted to turn the lights off and on. The light sockets were made of green stone that looked like jade. The lightbulbs were clear and shaped like bananas with opalescent clouds swirling around inside. The lampshade was made of parchment and had different kinds of animal horns drawn on it in pen and ink.

I couldn’t believe what I was looking at! it was a normal floor lamp when I saw it by the curb and threw it in the truck. What the hell happened? I turned on the lamp. My bedroom turned a beautiful shade of deep purple. My bedroom was transformed into a passion pit. The lamp said: “I am Mood. My glow has facilitated romance, passion, the production of children, and the settling of disputes. I am the glow in the light bulbs where Thomas Edison put me and built this lamp as my home. I helped him woo his wife on a little cot in his laboratory.

I am one of a kind. I have inhabited many fixtures, not all of them electric: I have ridden on whale oil and many other wicks fueled by many waxes and liquids. But electricity is my bliss. I prefer DC, but AC works fine. Now I am here,” I was reeling from the craziness of it all, I immediately thought of Peggy Sue. Maybe Mood could help me with pretty, pretty, pretty little Peggy Sue!

I invited Peggy Sue over to play Checkers in my bedroom. Mood was waiting (I thought). I twisted the switch. Nothing happened. Peggy Sue and I played several games of checkers. We decided to do it again in the near future. Our romance was born.

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

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.


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

I can’t tell you what I feel right now, Filling my mouth with those words is like trying to juggle water. It can’t be done: I can’t pour out my soul. I would choke on it. But anyway, I don’t know how to do it. In fact, I don’t think it can be done. I don’t even know where my soul is located. I tend to think it is somewhere in my chest—maybe in my heart. People do talk about pouring their hearts out. I think what usually follows is an oral ‘outpouring’ of something that matters to them and the target of their outpouring. Now that I think of it, I think I may actually have poured my heart out once.

It was Christmas, 1957. My mother took us to Santa’s Workshop. It was a little—more like a shed—erected on the town green. Santa sat in the shed waiting for children to come in and tell him what they wanted for Christmas. The kid in front of me in line wanted a BB Gun. He was a real doof, with his glasses held together with adhesive tape and a stupid red sweater with reindeer on it. When it was my turn, I think I poured my heart out. I told Santa how much I loved Miss Pennywink, my 5th grade teacher and how I wanted her for Christmas. Santa said “Pennywink? Ho Ho Ho! She’s my girlfriend little boy. We go for rides down by the river in my car and sometimes camp overnight at the Swan Dive Motel. We are getting married in two months.”

I was outraged. I pulled out my battery-powered Buck Rogers ray gun. I turned it on and pulled the trigger, The siren went off and it flashed red and green at the end of the barrel. I turned it up all the way to “Fry” and started beating Santa in the face with it as hard as I could. People screamed and ran from Santa’s shed. By the time the police showed up, Santa was unconscious on the floor. He had a bloody nose and his head was starting swell.

I was charged as a youthful offender with attempted murder. My case never went to trial. Charges were dismissed because it was decided that Santa provoked me. Also, my dad was Fire Chief. He threatened to “hose Santa off the face of the earth” if he didn’t drop the charges.

It is hard talking about the Santa episode. After all these years, I remember the pain Santa inflicted. Beating him half to death was nothing compared to it. I saw him at the mall every Christmas until he died 15 years ago. He never had his front tooth replaced and had a scar across his forehead. But I am scarred too. I can’t pour my heart out. I have been a prisoner of reticence for 70 years. Luckily, my undisclosed innermost thoughts and feelings are intangible, or I would explode like an overfilled balloon.

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.


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.

I love going to the library because it is a refuge from life’s cacophony. It is quiet and everybody has their head reverently bowed, reading, some moving their lips. The moving lips irritate me. It’s like reading out loud with the sound turned off. Sometimes I can hear them softly whispering, especially the children. They disturb the library’s sanctity as a citadel of silence, contemplation, and wonder.

I nearly go into a rage. I take a book into the Men’s Room. I lock myself in one of the stalls. Saturated with anger I tear the pages from the book, crumple them up and flush them down the toilet. I put the mutilated book deep in the trash can, punch the wall until my knuckles bleed, and return to my seat. Today, I tore up Baudelaire’s “Paris Spleen.” I feel like the author: “I’m like the king of a rainy country, rich but helpless, decrepit though still a young man.”

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.


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.

Preacher: Who said the sky is blue? Who said the earth is round? Who said climate change is a fact? Who said abortion should be safe and legal? And now, get ready to roll around on the floor spewing puke and crying: Who said people should be permitted to change their sex?

It is those demonic Democrats every time. Their diabolical beliefs are undermining our party’s self-evident truths and feeding America to a hungry Satan. He is chewing on our children and laughing in our faces as he washes them down, crying and screaming, with our warm evangelical blood.

We are at war, and in wars people get killed. We must kill enough Democrats to satisfy Saran’s hunger. If we can feed Satan enough Democrats he will surely let us ultra-right conservatives alone. Technically, we may be doing Satan’s work, but actually we are clearing our communities of sin. On that note . . .

See this man here? We’ve tied him to this flagpole flying the American flag to emphasize the righteousness of our cause. We all know him as Jack, the counterman at Cliff’s. He sells alcohol. He sells tobacco. He sells lotto tickets. But most repugnant and disgusting: he is a baby killer, selling condoms—rubber baggies that keep the little swimmers from going where they belong—going through the baby door, into Eve’s egg-crate.

We must make an example of him by burning him at the stake. Sinners will hear about what happened here and tremble with fear.

Sheriff: Not so fast Preacher! It’s still illegal to murder people around here. Drop the Bic lighter and put up your hands, you’re under arrest.


The spell was broken. The crowd dispersed muttering. The ground opened up and the Reverend went to meet his fate.

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.


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

“Who the hell took my hinges? You scum! Give them back!” I yelled and yelled. Upstairs. Downstairs. Out by the fence. The cowardly bastard was hiding with my hinges somewhere—probably in the tall grass down by the main gates.

I have been collecting hinges for 5 years. I buy them on the internet. Ever since I heard of Cardea I’ve used hinges to ward off bad things: “Cardea was the ancient Roman goddess of health, thresholds, door handles, and hinges. Her name comes from cardo, meaning door-pivot. She protected children against vampires and witches, and was also the benefactress of craftsmen.” (https://dullmensclub.com).

I wear a hinge on a chain around my neck and scatter hinges around my room to keep me safe. I have some important hinges in my collection. Do you remember Richard Nixon boarding a helicopter to leave the White House after he resigned? Well I have the hinge from the helicopter’s door! I paid $20.00 for it at a government surplus auction! What a steal! You’ve heard of the blues song “Back Door Man.” Howlin’ Wolf performed it in the 60s. Well, I have one of the hinges from the back door Wolf was singing about. It was actioned off by his estate. I picked it up on eBay for $2,500.00. When I wear it, I don’t have to use front doors. I have a hinge from one of Aldous Huxley’s doors of perception. I have affixed it to my bathroom door. I don’t know if it’s the wallpaper, but wow, when I sit on the can, the walls start breathing and little men tug on the toilet paper roll, and sometimes, there’s a horrible smell. I will mention one more piece from my collection: the most stupendous, tremendous set of hinges that I possess. Get this: I just returned from Narnia this morning where I landed when I went into my clothes closet. It’s door rides on two hinges from “The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe.” I purchased them from C.S. Lewis’ daughter after she lost her fortune investing too late in hula hoops. When I go to Narnia, I run a bar called “Nippers.” It is mostly a lager bar. I also serve the local beverage “Danger Leek” made of distilled leek juice. It makes ever clear look like shandy!

So, now you’re going to ask why I’m here. You can’t be serious! Everybody knows I am a threat to the world order. Given my birthright and my hinge collection, I could dominate the world. But these bastards keep me locked away. They say I’m crazy. Loony. Bonkers. Around the bend and all others insults stupid throw at geniuses. Come on. Let’s check out my closet—you’ll see.

They stepped into the closet and there was a whooshing sound. The journalist works at Nippers now clearing tables and sweeping up. For the time being he is stuck in Narnia, but he wants to stay. The inmate is a beloved member of the community. Everybody was happy to see him. The only reason he goes back to the Meadowvale Home is to see if he can find additional hinges for sale.

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


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

The marrow was juicy. It dripped down my chin. Bones are hard on the outside, soft on the inside. I am a bone. My outer visage is hard and smooth. Inside I am soft and gooey like a custard pie. I am smooth and solid. Yet I can be broken by the burden of time, an accident or rough treatment. I can be cracked too by a lesser degree of stress, maybe falling for a promise or being tripped up by a lie.

My marrow is a life source—producing the liquid of life that nurtures my entire being. Through a network of warm rivers and streams it pulses through the rest of me, feeding me oxygen, feeding me being, and life. It swims through me unimpeded. If it is dammed by fate I may die: the death clot becomes more likely with every passing year—every passing year of self-indulgent dinners of roasted red meat and luscious pastries and cream.

But I am a bone. I am a pillar. I am a column. I am the Parthenon. I am the Lincoln Memorial. I am the British Museum. I am the New York Public Library. I am supportive, compassionate, and kind. I will stand firm. I support what’s good.

But alas.

Actually, I am an empty pickup truck with four flat tires, a blown head gasket and an expired inspection sticker. I could never be a bone. I should probably be junked or donated to NPR as a tax deduction.

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.


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)].

Her brain was fried; yesterday, tomorrow and today: last year, for all time. “You better shut up,” she said to the mirror “You better take a walk. No, I’m too tired. You will take a walk. We can go together. You will walk while I look around. Come on. Let’s go.” She started out the door, but it looked like somebody was pulling on her arm, keeping her from going out the door.

I asked her if she had taken her medication. “She wouldn’t let me. She likes me this way.” I reached into her purse and got her pills out. She took the prescribed dose and we sat and waited for it to take effect. You could see her disparate selves starting meld. Her face alternatively contorted and smiled, she hugged herself and slapped herself, she swore and quoted the Bible. Suddenly, she was whole—it was like magic. The medication would last six hours. I suggested we go for a walk downtown. It was spring and there were tulips, daffodils, and crocuses blooming all over the place. As we walked, I asked her how she had fried her brain. She replied, “In an iron skillet with chopped garlic and rosemary. Once done, sliced thin and made into a sandwich on freshly baked focaccia with the fried brain topped with roasted red peppers.” I knew it wasn’t true, but the description set off hunger pangs and made my mouth water. I was no Zombie, but I couldn’t get the recipe off my mind. I could smell it. I could taste it. Juicy. Garlicky. Medium rare. Brain!

We were in the cemetery looking at flowers. I hit her over the head with a large rock. I kept hitting her and hitting her until her skull cracked open wide enough to pull out her brain. I put her brain in my backpack and headed home. I was wild with desire to eat her brain. I stopped at Hannaford’s to pick up 5 cloves of garlic, a bunch of rosemary, a jar of roasted red peppers, and focaccia. They didn’t have focaccia, so I got a baguette.

I almost ran home. I got out my skillet, poured in a little olive oil (an innovation), and turned up the heat. I dropped in the brain and sprinkled on the rosemary. Then, there was a knock at the door. It was a nurse from the Home for the Seriously Agitated accompanied by a police officer. Evidently, she had a pass to visit me and had not returned to the Home. I said, “I’ll be right back” to the Nurse and headed for the back door, where another police office was waiting. When they chased me through the kitchen, they had seen the brain cooking on the stove. Trying to be funny in the face of a gruesome fact, the police officer said, “Now her brain really is fried!”

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.


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.

“Big Bill!” I yelled after I read what was in the envelope. Bill answered “What?” And came running into the kitchen. “What do you want?” he asked looking puzzled. I told him I wasn’t calling him—the credit card bill was big—really big. And then I asked him why he thought I was calling him “Big Bill.” He was 5’ 8” tall—hardly big— more like small. He said, “Big is in the eye of the beholder, and so is beauty and every other adjective and maybe adverb too, including smells. Wake up and smell your armpit.”

Every year, Bill gets closer to falling into the abyss. It is all about money. We share the credit card. Every couple of months Bill runs wild on Amazon buying stuff that I have to return—relabeling it and dropping it off at CVS for return. A couple of weeks ago he ordered 3 nail guns, an electric bicycle, and a Shetland pony. Luckily, I received notice of the orders and I was able to cancel them, except for the pony. To return it, I stuck the mailing label to its forehead and hired a trailer to take him to CVS. When I walked into CVS with the pony, it caused quite a stir. But the manager told me it was the third pony this week. Kids were getting on their parents’ Amazon accounts and ordering ponies. So, just leave the pony in the stall by the tooth care aisle. I hope it’s not a peppy pony! Last week, one got out of the stall and galloped up and down the aisles wreaking havoc on the laxatives and cough medicines. We managed to herd it back in the stall, but it was covered with NyQuil PM and smelled like cherries.

God, I was glad that was over. Even though it was a couple of week ago, the memory of the pony return was making me lose sleep. But now, I had to tackle the horror of a credit card bill that would kill my life savings if I paid it off: $6,000. It was Bill blissfully destroying our lives. He had bought a prefabricated chapel kit. It was too late to cancel the order. Bill told me he was going to use the chapel for funerals and weddings. He had become a Minister in the Universal Church. He said, “All we do is open the doors. Whether it’s life or death, people show up and I officiate for $500.” “Ok,” I thought, “I can see this as an investment of my life savings.” Bill’s first funeral was a disaster. He dropped the deceased’s ashes on the floor and the back of his pants ripped when he bent over to look at them scattered all over the place. We were sued for desecrating the dead, even though it was an accident.

We’ve turned the chapel into a chicken coop. We get by selling eggs and chicken-themed gifts. Our business is called “Eggistential Crisis.” I have taken Bill’s credit card away and enrolled him “Spendthrifts Anonymous.” Since he has no credit card, Bill is undergoing withdrawal. I have spray painted an expired insurance card and written “Credit Card” on it. I gave it to Bill. It works like a pacifier. When he feels the urge to shop, he takes it out of his wallet and holds it until the urge subsides.

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.


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]

Lincoln was on a roll. No, he wasn’t playing dice. He wasn’t sitting on a hot cross bun. He wasn’t at an amusement park riding the roller coaster. He wasn’t rolling along, singing a song, He wasn’t in New Jersey eating pork roll. He couldn’t do any of these things because he’s dead and buried somewhere in Illinois (I think). The one roll he can do is metaphorical: he can roll over in his grave, and that means that things have fallen so far out of synch with its founding ethic, his Republican Party has been hit by a shockwave like the electrical impulse that brought Frankenstein to life: that’s what it takes to get Lincoln to roll over in his grave: a million-watt shock switched on by Donald Trump. But who cares if he’s rolling over in his grave? It does not matter—it’s the Republican Party, not the Lincoln Party, tangled up by Gettysburg or Ford’s Theatre.

What does it mean to call the Republican Party the GOP? GOP: back in the day: Grand Old Party. Now: Goosestepping Old Pricks. See? Things change. But they change because people want them to, and change isn’t inherently good or bad, it just makes things different, for better and for worse. So, while Lincoln is rolling over, the Republican Party is having a makeover: with the promiscuous flow of firearms, the banning of abortions, increasing open hostility toward so-called “transsexual” people, climate change denial, and more. You have to ask: What does the bearer of these beliefs look like? Maybe, a gun in one hand and a tiki torch in the other, sending an unwanted baby to a state-run facility with the hope for adoption by a decent family not named Manson, demanding that people pull down their pants on demand for inspection, and asking “Who the hell needs Polar Bears anyway?”

That’s a Republican!

The Goosestepping Old Pricks are slowly extinguishing the fires of love, peace, and happiness that have warmed the US since the 60s. The Vietnam war was a breaking point. While Trump sat home and played with his fantasy bone spurs, the rest of us took to the streets, or actually fought in the war.

I can see nothing in the Republican party’s agenda that I take favorably or seriously. The Republican Party was hijacked by Nixon, revolutionized by Reagan, sent to war by Bush1, sent to war by Bush 2, and destroyed by Trump. Listen carefully to the Republican Platform. If it resonates with your perceived interests, don’t consider yourself a good person. You are a bad person—you want to inflict undeserved pain and suffering.

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>.

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.


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

The boy bit into his grandmother’s finger. Her fingers were the best! After this one there would only be three left. He loved sprinkling powdered sugar on her fingers. Grandma didn’t like it, she thought it ruined their taste— “Too damn sweet,” she’d say.

After grandma died, there were no more fingers. As the boy grew older, he vowed to have his own fingers to eat. To pursue that goal, he became a pastry chef. He came up with a perfect replica of his grandma’s fingers. People loved his grandma’s fingers. They were in Gourmet Magazine and the food sections of newspapers around the country. Headlines read “Give me the finger!” “I’ll lift a finger!” “No need to cross these fingers!” There were hundreds more kudos coming from every direction. So, he decided to produce “Grandma’s Fingers” commercially. Each box would contain 10 fingers. They would have powdered sugar on them and would filled with the secret red filling.

“Grandma’s Fingers” flew off supermarket shelves and were ordered by the thousands from Amazon. Meanwhile, his jealous sister found a plastic bag in her brother’s freezer. Inside was one of grandma’s fingers—the kind with a knuckle and a finger nail. “No wonder Grandma was buried wearing gloves!” she exclaimed The police were called in to investigate. Her brother said he had no idea what was going on. He loved his grandma. His jealous sister, on the other hand, had tried once to push grandma down the basement stairs and one time had loosened a wheel on her wheelchair and let her roll down the driveway. The wheel stayed on.

The police discovered a homeless man had recently checked into the emergency room with a chopped-off finger. When questioned, he described the woman who had paid him $50.00 for his finger, and who had chopped it off with a meat cleaver. It was the jealous sister. She was tried and convicted and sentenced to five years for “Depriving a person of a digit.” Ironically, she has been assigned to the prison bakery.

Her brother, on the other hand, has been fighting in court for permission to have grandma’s finger freeze dried so he can have it mounted and hung on his office wall.

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

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.


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.

Here comes the President of the United States—Elon Musk—Tesla Barker, Electric Savior, Twitter King, Rocket Man. But I call him Willy Nilly or Random Silly Pants. He has so much money he could bribe every senator, except Bernie. The House of Representatives would be a snap. Districts be damned. He would spend billions developing an electric tank. He would disband the CIA because secrets keep things secret, and that’s bad. He will double the height of Trump’s wall. Nothing will be permitted to be taught in K-12. Students will be required to work for Twitter, Tesla and Space-X for $2.00 per hour. Wolves will be exterminated. Everybody will be required to eat pork once a week. Vacation will be outlawed. All citizens will tithe 10% of their earning per month. The White House will be demolished and the sear of government will be moved Silicon Valley. Negative comments about the government will earn the death penalty. Elections will suspended. Anybody caught ridiculing President Musk’s name will be summarily executed. Anybody who is past due on installment payments will be jailed and their property confiscated.

Of course, all of the above is crazy. But we should never forget it is possible. Our democracy is always one step away from lunacy, The “step away” consists of majorities opposed to madness, but if for some reason, by some means, the loonies achieve a majority, everything will change. Our fears will be actualized, their hopes will be fulfilled.

Could homosexuality be outlawed? Could women lose the right to vote? Could racial discrimination be legalized? Unthinkable? Ha! How many democracies have slipped into hell driven by the will of the people?

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.


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].

Who doesn’t want food? Anybody out there want to starve? No, I didn’t think so. But who wants to be fat? Only people with mental problems want to be fat—big blubber balls rolling down the avenue, risking death with every step. Given their burden on the health care system, I am proposing a bill making it illegal to be 20 or more pounds overweight. People who are “differently bodied” will be fined $50.00 for every pound they are overweight and be granted a membership in a government-sponsored gym where they will be required to exercise no less than 1-hour per day.

All exits and entries of buildings everywhere will be fitted with facial recognition cameras, scales and laser-based height measuring technology. If a “differently bodied” person is detected, as a first step, they will be sent a letter requesting that they come to Differently Bodied Headquarters (DBH) for further instructions. If they fail to appear, a Diet Squad will be dispatched to their home and they will be detained at DBH until they take the oath: “I faithfully promise to exercise daily and follow the prescribed menu. So help me god.”

Once we put this program into place, millions will be saved every year. Weight-related illnesses will become a thing of the past. We say, “Make America svelte again.” My national gym franchise “Exer-Mart” will be taking the lead on bringing the legislation to fruition. My gym shoes “Rocket Toes” will be required by all participants. My son Jasper will be in charge of everything, and all of you will be granted a piece of the action—10%. If you don’t want a piece, you’ll quietly disappear, maybe in a national forest. You can see, my Republican colleagues have their guns drawn and aimed at the Democrat side of the House.

Ok, let’s vote.

The votes are in. The Representative from New York couldn’t vote due to a flesh wound. The Bill 334 passes. Let’s make America svelte again!

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

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.


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.

He thought he drove around her. She thought he tried to kill her. He had jumped the curb. She had jumped on the hood of the car. She rode on it. It hit a wall. She flew, but was not injured. She could not figure out what was going on. Should she report him to the police? Should she slap his face with a sock full of pennies? Should she get her big brother Waldo to beat him up? Or, should she just forgive and forget? After all, it could have been an accident.

She found him later that night at The Frozen Monkey Bar and Grill. He was sitting at the bar holding a giant glowing drink with two hands. He saw me looking at his drink and said, “It’s a Siberian Suicide; half a quart of vodka laced with A-1 Sauce, prune juice, and garnished with toasted marshmallows. I don’t know what causes the glow. Hey Eddy! What causes the glow?” Eddy (the bartender) told us it was a phosphorescent Guppy that could live in alcohol. It came from Lake Ponchartrain, near New Orleans, where the booze flows freely and the lake is 3%.

So I asked my boyfriend Clubby just what the hell he was trying to do with the running me over. He took a long draw though his drink’s straw and said “DWI.” So, maybe it wasn’t attempted murder. The bartender asked me when it happened. I told him and he told me that Clubby wasn’t drinking there that night. “You weren’t drunk, you liar. Don’t tell me you were drinking somewhere else. This is your place. This is your home!” “Ok Ok!” I had a heart attack and couldn’t drive right. I’ve quit smoking, and they gave me pills to take. I hope you can still love me,” Clubby said softly.

I was about to ask him for his doctor’s name, when I realized Clubby was a lying loser. I don’t know why he would want to run me over, and probably kill me. Heart attack! Bullshit!

Fearing for my life, I dumped him. Two days later he had a fatal heart attack while he was driving and mowed down 6 pedestrians. Nobody was seriously injured. The autopsy showed he was very, very drunk. They also found a glowing guppy blocking his carotid artery.

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.


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 trying to—sand dollars! They were worthless. Could I develop a sandbox corps? Seashells everywhere. Flotsam too. A barnacle encrusted piano. A rusted wheelbarrow missing it’s wheel. A plastic bust of Abraham Lincoln. A deflated Happy Birthday balloon. A tennis net. A tennis ball that I did not want to name or develop a creepy relationship with.

I was hang gliding off a cliff in Hawaii when I got picked up by a cyclone and blasted away from land. The wind had stranded me on a small island somewhere in the South Pacific. I was getting along, eating coconuts and raw land crabs. I was lucky to be alive.

I was afraid to wade into the ocean, even at low tide. There were sharks swirling around. When I stood on the shore, they tried to coax me into the water. They made promises I knew they couldn’t keep. Like, “Hop on my back, I’ll give you a ride to Tahiti.” Or, “I just got off the phone with you sister, she wants you to come home immediately. Just wade into the water here and I’ll call you an Uber-boat to take you home. Your sister is quite worried. Please, let me help you.” It was all bullshit. There’s no way I would trust a shark, even though he tried to mimic my North Carolina accent. Very clever. Very devious. Very ruthless. I knew my sister would never call sharks—they were like telemarketers. She was smarter than that. She worked running the bowling ball cleaner at Brightly Lit Alleys in our home town. Bowling ball cleaners are complicated. You start it running, drop in the ball, press the clean button. The machine automatically goes to dry when it is finished washing. When the dry cycle is complete, you pull out the bowling ball (which takes a degree of strength), and polish the bowling ball with the “special” rag made from a carefully torn up bath towel from Salvation Army Thrift Store. My sister had a pretty good set of biceps on her from liftin’ all those balls. She even got to where she could juggle two balls. Her arms were like tractor pistons. And, like I said, she was too smart to be taken in by a shark, who would surely try to lure her to its dinner table as the main course.

Anyway, my sandbox was way bigger than it needed to be. But, there was a lot of sand, and I figured it belonged to me. Then I realized it was too big to qualify as a “box.” So, I just filled the useless wheelbarrow with sand, scooping up the sand with my hands. Once I filled it, I didn’t know what to do with it. So, I sat in it and pretended I was a cat in a litter box. I was meowing joyfully when I was answered back. There was a cat sitting at the jungle’s edge. He said: “I’ve been watching you and you’re a total dipshit. Those sharks won’t eat you. Use that old “tennis net to catch some sardines, and make sure to share with me.”

It worked! Fresh sardine sushi is quite delicious. I named the cat Friday and we had a great time. He helped me build a shelter out of palm fronds and the remains of my hang glider. He also showed me how to start a fire with friction. Then, he disappeared one morning and never came back. The next day I was rescued by a fishing boat named Friday—was it just a coincidence?

I spent two years on that island. People tell me I must’ve been delirious talking to sharks and a cat. I probably was. But, I think my delirium was functional. It saved my life. At least, I think it did. But really, I think it was Friday’s chiding—making me get off my ass and take care of myself.

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.


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.

There was a special T-shirt I wanted to wear. I wanted to wear it everywhere. I had made it on the internet. It cost $18.00. It had a picture of my cat Furballerina (“Furball” for short) on it. She was a cross between a Persian cat, and possibly, a toy cougar.

There was a contest being run by the Generic Cat Food Company to find a cat-model. The cat-model’s owner would receive $100,000 and the cat’s picture would appear on all their products. There would also be a brief video of the cat eating some dry Generic Cat Food. That’s where the t-shirts come in. In addition to Furballerina’s picture with her name under it, the t-shirts say “Vote for me for Generic’s cat model 1-800-CAT-FOOD.”

I had 100 t-shirts made. I decided to hand them out in the Piggly Wiggly supermarket pet food section. When somebody would walk up, I’d holdup a t-shirt and say “Here’s a free t-shirt, vote for Furballerina.”

Then, I couldn’t believe what happened next!

An elderly woman pointed at Furballerina’s picture. She said, “That’s my cat Fluffy. We’ve been friends forever. I let her out in the morning and she comes home at six. She sits on my lap and we watch “Magnum PI” and go to bed at 8:00 pm without fail. You are trying to steal my cat so you can win some stupid contest. To quiet her down, I told the elderly woman I was an AARP detective. I told her I was investigating cat scams—everything from bogus flea collars to counterfeit scratching posts. I figured we could just keep on the way had been, sharing the cat. She didn’t need to know about that—she could go on believing that Fluffy was hers and hers alone. Hers alone, just like the “forever” she had referred to.

I thought I was out of the woods until she asked to see my AARP credentials. That did it! I bundled up my t-shirts, hugging them close to my chest, as I ran toward the doors and my escape through the parking lot. “Wait sonny” she yelled “I was just kiddin’ you.” I stopped and turned. She said, “I hate cats, I have a little Cockerpoo named CP that I adore.” I remembered my grandmother’s Cockerpoo named Rags. Such a nice little dog. They watched “Matlock” together, and “Ironsides” too.

I walked toward the parking lot. Why do I want Furballerina to win the contest? Why couldn’t I just enjoy her company instead of wanting to exploit her beauty and demeanor? I would turn the t-shirts into dust cloths. I was taking them out to the garden shed when I looked in my neighbor’s window. There was my neighbor carrying Furballerina and petting her. I went to my neighbor’s front door to demand my cat back. He said “This is my cat. She’s been living here for the past five years. Where have you been numb-nuts?” Furballerina didn’t even look at me. I was dashed. Then, around 11:00, I was in bed reading Eric Fromm’s Art of Love then there was a light scratching on my bedroom door. I opened the door and Furballerina dashed in, jumped up on my bed, and started purring. I got back in bed and she curled up against my leg. I thought to myself, thank God for cat flaps.

Furballerina wasn’t mine, but at least I was hers.

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.


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.

“I won’t say ours was a tough school, but we had our own coroner. We used to write essays like: What I’m going to be if I grow up.” Lenny Bruce never imagined how this joke would resonate with the horrors of the 21st century’s mass school shootings. But, even in the 1950s kids were shooting each other in school. For example, “March 4, 1958, A 17-year-old student shot the future major league baseball player Joe Pepitone (who was also 17 years old at the time) through his stomach at the Manual Training High School.”

If you go to “List of School Shootings” it is startling to see how long school shootings have been going on and how little has been done over the course of history to prevent them. Just now, with the hellish gruesomeness of mass shootings, does it seem that measures are starting to be taken. But, of course, for the murdered and the survivors, it is too late.

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

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.


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

I had no bootstraps. No ace in the hole. No pease porridge hot. No tale to be told. The ice of old age had settled on my heart. I was cold and lonely and losing heart. My eyes reflected the beautiful lazuli sky, blurred by time, I thought I would die—die on the sidewalk, die in the street, die of foolishness, stupidity and regret on an island of greediness flooded with pain. Flooded with the challenges of being alone. Flooded with a desire to stop the misery.

I awoke on the sidewalk and I looked at you. Covered with fur and a bushy tail too. Excuse me for saying it, but I was so hungry I could’ve eaten you. But, I had no means to whack you down or fry you up in a frying pan. But I could never catch you anyway. So, I just watched you nibble on an acorn, and go digging for more. Then, like some 19th century horror tale, you said “ You are not doomed to fail. Come, I’ll teach you to find acorns. They’re buried everywhere.” “Same old crap,” I thought. “I’m rolling into the DTs.” Last week it had been a pigeon “bearing tidings of comfort and joy.” The worst was the Rottweiler standing on my chest, telling me to get the “F” up and do the hokey pokey. I have no idea how I can remember this shit, but I do. I needed to put my pan handle on so I could buy a half-pint of Mr. Boston and check back out of this world again. The first guy I hit up gave me a dollar—there must a holiday nearby, I thought as I stuffed the dollar bill down my pants. Then, I saw a policeman coming my way. I tried to run, but my feet stuck to the sidewalk. When he got up to me, he pulled out his gun and started shooting me. I felt nothing. He shot me fifteen times and said “This is just a friendly warning. Keep up this bullshit and next time I’ll stick a hand grenade up your ass.” The squirrel started laughing. He said, “Open wide” and threw an acorn at me. It got stuck in my eye socket. I yelled “Help! The squirrel has blinded me!”

An ambulance arrived and took me away. The acorn was successfully removed and my eyesight was restored. I was at a public detox facility where all they could afford to do was strap you to a bed and check on you every few days. I had lost weight and my head was starting clear. I started remembering. The more I remembered, the more I wanted a drink. I was so burdened by guilt I thought my bed would collapse. I had killed my family in a car crash on the way to my mother-in-law’s in New Jersey. I lifted my head from my pillow and my wife and daughter were standing there. “But you’re dead!” I yelled. “No we’re not you silly boy,” my wife calmly said. “Here’s a knife. I’ll cut your restraints.” I was free! We were walking toward the facility’s exit when an orderly yelled at me “Where do you think you’re going?” “Home with my wife and daughter.” I went to point at them, but they had disappeared.

I needed a drink.

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.


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.

Things were bad enough. But when it started to boil. . . . I heard the door open. It was crazy Ted, my identical twin. He insisted that we dress alike. I did what he told me because, even though I had developed some strategies, I remembered what he did to “insubordinates.” He had strangled my pet chicken “Cluck” when she failed to lay an Easter egg on demand. As the years went by, he wanted me to wear a balaclava all the time like he did—he wanted us to be known as “Dos Criminales” and “Strike terror into the hearts and minds of our neighbors.” I refused and he went crazy for the rest of the day, shaking his fist and yelling “You will die at dawn traitor.” He put chewing gum in my hair and lit my bicycle on fire, which wasn’t easy. I told our parents and Dad looked up from the puzzle he was working on and said, “Don’t worry, he is just sowing his spring oats.” I told my Dad it was actually “wild oats.” Dad mumbled into his puzzle, “Oats are oats” and I went back to think about a defense strategy that would enable me to tell my brother “No.” I figured the best strategy was to become a sprinter and run like hall after telling him “No.” I tried out for the high school track team specializing in the 100-yard dash. Whenever I was going to say “No” to my twin, I crouched down like I was at the track and field starting blocks. I’d say “No” and launch off the imaginary starting blocks. It didn’t work too well inside the house, but I would open the front door to facilitate my getaway.

Ted’s recent return to my life was unsettling. Even after 3 years in prison for lighting his boss’s house on fire and kidnapping his daughter, Ted was still the same remorseless psychopath. I thought it was just a matter of time before he murdered me. Then, a stray cat came into our lives. At first, Ted wanted to run it over in the driveway. Then, it rubbed against his leg and purred. Ted was captivated. He picked up the cat, petted it and scratched it behind the ears. Ted was a changed man. He bought a flea collar and named the cat “Cardinal” because it was “a religious blessing.” That was a little troublesome, but at that point I was open to anything. Ted plays with Cardinal with a piece of string and has taught him to roll over, play dead, and jump through a hula hoop. Ted puts on little shows for the neighborhood kids.

Maybe the cat was a religious blessing, but I still thought that Ted would murder me when he got tired of Cardinal. We had a few close calls, but nothing fatal. The incident with the drill was almost too close for comfort. Right now I hear an idling chainsaw outside my door. I yell “Think of Cardinal” and the sound starts moving away, down the hall.

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