Distributio (dis-tri-bu’-ti-o): (1) Assigning roles among or specifying the duties of a list of people, sometimes accompanied by a conclusion. (2) Sometimes this term is simply a synonym for diaeresis or merismus, which are more general figures involving division.

We’re a family! We are not a collection of individuals, but we are a living breathing lump of pulsing flesh genetically related with matching DNA. You’ve each taken a role or two to keep this a family: a father, a mother (Mom), a daughter, and a son. As father, I am in charge of everything. For example, I fill the car’s gas tank, I work at Big Larry’s Lullaby Landfill tossing metal items into a pile and throwing glass containers in the grinder. I mow the lawn and take care of home maintenance—plumbing, electricity, paint, and the garden. Eddy, you’re in charge of picking up all the crap that gets strewn around the house each week, feeding the cat and your 12 hamsters, and training them to do interesting things at birthday parties and other social events. Also, you run the dice game in the basement, keeping it honest and making sure we get our cut for the house. I’ve seen the Police Chief a number of times down on his knees rolling the bones with one hand a holding a wad of cash with the other. You’re doing a great job, Eddy! Cathy, you’re in charge of picking out programs to watch on TV. I’ve started calling you “Streaming Cathy.” You really know how pick them. The documentary we watched about the family who secretly lives in the basement of a Russian psychiatric hospital was incredible. I didn’t understand why they did it, but in the end it turned out they were crazy. You also do a great job of making us exercise on Saturdays. I never knew that there was something called Trumpercise until you showed us. We stand behind our personal lecterns vigorously waving our arms and saying whatever comes into our heads. I love yelling “Cinnamon buns are communist” and “Build the wall.” You also do a good job of taking care of your brother. He still can’t tie his own shoes, but I know you’re working on it. Now that he can tell time, we can count on him showing up when he’s supposed to. No more being two days late for dinner. And Mom—the list of things you do stretches to the moon: laundry, cooking, washing dishes, vacuuming, making beds, cleaning Verbal’s litter box, tucking me in and singing me a lullaby every night, doing it once a month, and making our kids feel confident by complimenting them all the time, no matter what they do. The way you mop the kitchen floor binds me to you forever. The smell of the suds, the squeak of the mop, the way you wiggle and grunt, and squeeze out the dirty water makes me feel like a kid again, before we were married and we were on the night crew cleaning offices all over the city.

We are a family. Like the veins on a leaf, we are all attached to the same stem. Someday you kids will leave, but me and Mom will carry on, visiting frequently, staying for weeks at a time and interfering with your lives.

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

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Ecphonesis (ec-pho-nee’-sis): An emotional exclamation.

I can’t believe it! I ate the whole thing! What was it anyway? What!? Candy coated lies? I guess anything with a candy coating is worth swallowing. I would love some candy-coated chrysalises. Just think—crunchy sweet on the outside with a vitamin-packed gooey caterpillar center. Maybe a Monarch or a Yellow Swallowtail. Wow!

Sugar can take you anywhere. I put it on everything! Yeah! I put it on steak, Brussels sprouts, and my wife. I take my wife into the bathroom. She gets in the tub and I spray her down for two minutes with the hand-held shower head. Then I sprinkle her front. Then, she rolls over and I sprinkle her back. What would you do with a sugar-coated wife? I promised her I would never tell a soul. So far, I haven’t said a word to anyone about our candy-coated adventures. Suffice it to say “they’re sweet.”

Someday I will write a memoir. The tentative title is “The Sugared Life: A Few of My Favorite Things.” It will include recipes for sugar coating my 10 favorite edibles and lickables. Mmmm.

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

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Effictio (ef-fik’-ti-o): A verbal depiction of someone’s body, often from head to toe.

She was striking— trying to get a match lit to light her hand-rolled cigarette— but she was striking in many other ways. Her hair was almost black and strewn with auburn highlights. When she shook her hair it was like living tinsel, shimmering everywhere on her head. It was perfect. It was thrilling. It was grounds for being captivated, like the first time I noticed my mother’s diamond ring when I was a small child. Whenever she moved her hand a magical light was produced making a bottomless play of colors, coming out of, and disappearing into her ring.

And eyes—a unique color blue that God must’ve chosen to go with Adele’s hair. And mouth—vivid red bows fronting teeth so straight and white they could be mistaken for hand-carved ivory.

With Adele, it was about more than her hair—it was about her face: a perfect circle of tanned skin with a little nose so lovely that it made me understand that there’s beauty in breathing—the pert air channel letting in and letting out life’s breath, set in the middle of her face, accenting the will to live that breathing actualizes, as our lungs are filled and emptied, and we move on.

There’s so much more, but I’ve got to go pick up Adele for our fifth date. I wish she would laugh at my jokes, but she just waves her hand in front of her face.

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

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Ellipsis (el-lip’-sis): Omission of a word or short phrase easily understood in context.

Where am I going? Where have I been? Goodbye American pie. I’ve been to the levy on the other side of Blueberry Hill where I learned how to use a bayonet to kill. It was a thrill. I was only nineteen. I came from a poor family. The Army was my salvation. The Army gave me each day my daily bread, but they would not forgive my trespasses or those who trespassed against me. The trespassers were the enemy. We tried our best to kill them with rifles, mortars, artillery, bombs, and, in my case, booby traps—an exploding edition of Mao’s Little Red Book was so effective. The Commies couldn’t resist, almost by impulse, picking it up. Beee-lam. What a mess. Luckily the Geneva Convention didn’t require post-mutilation clean up. It wasn’t hard to confirm their death. I just left what was left for the rats and maggots. When they blew up, we called it “This magic moment.” If I was working with a crew, when the explosion went off, the singing would commence from the bushes, everybody trying to outdo each other with hokey voices and exaggerated gestures. It was hilarious. As a nineteen-year-old, this was my first job. It wasn’t Burger King, it was blowing up VC and NVA. It was war, and that’s what you do in wars: you kill other human beings.

Two months after I got home, I was at Woodstock—the music festival. I did not talk to anybody ever about what I had done. I considered myself a murderer. I drank heavily, smoked a lot of pot and took a lot of acid. I think my brain became tie-dyed. I was “up on Cripple Creek, down by the river, over the rainbow, on the dark side of the moon.”

Then, I ran into a friend from high school who was a Vet. He told me about this thing called a “community college” where I could collect veteran’s benefits just for going to classes. I did it and loved it. That was just the start. Eventually, I earned a PhD in Chemistry and opened a meth lab in Idaho. I made millions, never got caught, and live quietly in San Francisco with my wife and my dog Bee-lam the eighth.

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

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Enallage (e-nal’-la-ge): The substitution of grammatically different but semantically equivalent constructions.

You are doing so many things at once. How many things can you do at once? You’re like a spider weaving ten webs at once, or a person driving two cars, or a mother with 12 children. What? Why? Is your goal to fracture your consciousness so you can take a medical leave from Bill’s Brown Bag Bar & Grill? On top of everything else, shoving “medications” into bags and delivering them all over town must be taxing. The woman you met who claimed to be your mother must’ve driven you nuts, especially when you knew she was my mother! She’s been taking Bill’s medication for that past ten years. Luckily my dad left her with millions, or she’d be living in her underwear under a freeway overpass with the rest of the loons. She was a good mother before she got hooked on the stuff. Things came crashing down when dad gave her a hit and left home, all in one stroke. Mom lost it. She stopped washing our clothes. The other kids called me and my little sister “Stinky” and “Stinkier.” She stopped cooking. We had a can of unheated Dinty Moore beef stew every night. Also, mother insisted we finish off a bottle of wine with her every night. I went to elementary school half loaded every day. My teacher thought I had a speech impediment because I slurred my words. It was rough, but we broke out, even though Mother stuck with Bill’s medication. We talked her into giving us half of her fortune. Then, we hired a laundry service and went out to eat all the time. I applied to college and was admitted to UC Santa Barbara were I majored in Marine Biology—that’s part of the reason I own a chain of sushi restaurants, the other is my ownership of a wasabi factory in San Diego. Anyway, you need to focus. Find a single string and pull it like the chord on your Venetian blinds. A lot can happen with one pull. You can work in my wasabi factory. You can peel Japanese horseradish—you’ll have the clearest nostrils in California!

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

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Enantiosis (e-nan-ti-o’-sis): Using opposing or contrary descriptions together, typically in a somewhat paradoxical manner.

The beginning is the end, the end is the beginning. I started my relationship with Shelly, but it’s started ending when it began. I am not a vegetarian. I am not a kick boxer, I am not a Republican gun nut. Shelly is all three of those things. After a month, I had to sneak out for meat. I hated kickboxing: to fight is not right, and total hell, I hated shooting at empty beer cans every day. But, good lord, sleeping together cancelled all the bad stuff out. Then I thought, why should that one thing form the foundation of our relationship when everything else is crap? That’s when the beginning was the end, start was stop, right was wrong, in was out: there was no middle ground, there were just perspectives. For example, guns are good from one perspective and bad from another—it doesn’t mean that either of the competing perspectives is right. That’s where it gets complicated—the conflicted concepts of the ‘good’ grounding opposed judgments of the same thing as good or bad float on the ether of opinion.

I broke up with Shelly. It was bad and good: we were through: bad and good. I have new girlfriend, Janine. She likes meat. She likes to kick dance, and is in favor of gun control. She only likes sex twice a week, but that’s never going to be a deal breaker. Anyway, I think we are in love and I didn’t need to sacrifice my self to get there. I just needed to sacrifice Shelly. It was messy, but it set me free. It was the right thing to do.

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

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Enigma (e-nig’-ma): Obscuring one’s meaning by presenting it within a riddle or by means of metaphors that purposefully challenge the reader or hearer to understand.

There is a windmill, or should I say, a wind turbine, spinning in my mind. It is generating electric thoughts, like Edison had when he summoned his assistant Watson to light his cigar in his laboratory. Yes, the cigar had import, basking in the significance of the moment, like an open door or a pile of loose change, mostly dimes and quarters, or a glowing summons to an unimaginable future, imagined right there in Menlo Park, New Jersey. The cigar was cheap, but Edison’s thoughts were worth a fortune.

I want to know how the wind gets in my head to make the windmill spin. Maybe I should say there’s a hamster in my mind running on his wheel, spinning off crazy ideas that are soaked up by my consciousness, providing grounds for illegal and inappropriate actions. Oh wait—there is a rainbow bridging my brain! It affords me a promise, hope and an optimistic turn toward the rest of my life. Like George LaVkovff says, there are “metaphors we live by” (and die by). Does your life stink?

That’s a metaphor. Change the metaphor and your life will change. I consider myself to be a turtle with a rainbow above my head. Think of a turtle’s characteristics. They’re mine too. Put a rainbow above them. They’re mine too. Being a rainbow-crowned turtle provides me an orientation toward life! But what am I really? I’m an life insurance actuary with a boring hopeless life. I am not a turtle—they have more fun than I do. I am an anchovy stuck in the darkness of my can with ten or twelve other anchovies. We’re waiting for the lid to be ripped off. There’s a lot of anxiety in the can, plus we smell bad.

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

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Ennoia (en-no’-i-a): A kind of purposeful holding back of information that nevertheless hints at what is meant. A kind of circuitous speaking.

Once upon a time there was a man who had married young. He had gotten married when he was twenty. Now, he and his wife are seventy. This man often dreamed of breaking free and finding a younger woman to spend his life with: maybe somebody fifty or sixty. At some point, he decided that being bored is not a good reason to terminate a marriage. If he could cheat on his wife with luscious younger ladies flush with their Social Security checks, he thought all of his marital concerns could be solved: sex, drugs, and rock ‘n roll were the remedy. Viagra, pot, and Pink Floyd would set him free.

He caught crabs from the first woman he had sex with outside of marriage. Those little crawly insects picnicking on his crotch made him itch and made him wonder—made him wonder if he was actually moving backward. The last time he had caught crabs he was in the Army in Vietnam. He caught the crabs from a whore who primarily serviced ARVN (Vietnamese) soldiers. Just like now, he was given a little can of DDT to sprinkle on what he called his “crotch crickets.” But, as he sat there feeling them crawl around on his scrotum, giving him little itchy pin-prick nips, he came to a conclusion. Cheating on his wife was bad—bad for him and bad for her. He had crabs and she had been betrayed and she didn’t know it. Right then and there he vowed to clean up his act. No more running around. No more looking for women on “SpicyGrandmas.com.” No more bar-hopping. No more being stupid. It had taken a lot to get to this conclusion. That’s why he was super annoyed when he found out his wife had taken up square dancing.

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

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Enthymeme (en’-thy-meem): 1. The informal method [or figure] of reasoning typical of rhetorical discourse. The enthymeme is sometimes defined as a “truncated syllogism” since either the major or minor premise found in that more formal method of reasoning is left implied. The enthymeme typically occurs as a conclusion coupled with a reason. When several enthymemes are linked together, this becomes sorites. 2. A figure of speech which bases a conclusion on the truth of its contrary. [Depending on its grammatical structure and specific word choice, it may be chiasmus].

It’s raining, you better wear a raincoat or take an umbrella. Before you go, you better turn the heat down on the roast. While you’re out, can you get me a bottle of Pirate’s Butt? We’re supposed to eat dinner by six, please try to be there. Ok, see you later. I’ll be here practicing my clapping. I’m tired of everybody looking at me during the applause at the end of a performance. I really don’t know why slapping the palm of my hand while I hold it stationary warrants my fellow audience members’ disdain. I could see how, if I slapped my knee or forehead, or pounded my chest, I would garner glares or have people look at me with wrinkled up noses like I smell bad.

So there I sat, slapping my palm. I needed to do something more than practice!

The next day, I went to see Dr. Rondo, a highly respected applausiologist who recently moved here from Attica. My session was amazing. First, he told me to stop clapping until I am cured. He told me people would think I was some kind of critic who didn’t like the performance. That strategy worked so well that I have quit clapping altogether. Now, people ask me why I held back on clapping for a given performance. I alway use the same adjectives and phrases: dull, bumbling, unremarkable, without merit, bad lighting, and many more.

My reputation spread, and now, I’m the drama critic at our local newspaper the Tuckertown Canary. We used to be a coal mining town, that’s where the canary came from. Since I’ve been at the Canary, I’ve never given a positive review. In order to try to take on the positive side of criticism, I’m going back to Dr. Rondo to try to get my clapping fixed. My daughter’s senior play is coming soon. She’s the star. I can’t let her down. I need to develop the perfect clap: a clap that will project love and caring, enthusiasm and acceptance.

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

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Epanodos (e-pan’-o-dos): 1. Repeating the main terms of an argument in the course of presenting it. 2. Returning to the main theme after a digression. 3. Returning to and providing additional detail for items mentioned previously (often using parallelism).

There was a time when I could put up with anything—I think I was around six years old. Up to six, I wailed cried until things went my way. After six, I lost my tolerance for everything—a crack in the sidewalk set me off. My dog Creature looking at me set me off. Having to poop set me off. If somebody said my name, it set me off. The list of triggers was endless and I was always angry and miserable until I stumbled across a book at Geppetto’s Flea Market. The book is titled Stop It! It is by an obscure author from Belize named Shep Rutt. It made me realize I suffer from a kind of mental illness called “Omni Baddy Kakosphere” (OBK): a tendency to dislike and be irritated by everything. Rutt argues: (1) It is a mental illness, (2) It is all in your head, (3) It can be cured. As a mental illness it has name recognition among doctors and insurance carriers. So, you’re covered: you will get a doctor and your insurance will pay for your care. Since it is all in your head, your head will play a big role in your cure. You will get control of your imagination and ability to see all things in a positive light. For example, if you step in dog poop, you’ll just wipe it off your shoe with a stick and be on your way, smiling. And, that’s how OBK is cured: once you get control of your judgement, you will lose your judgement to Rutt’s ground-zero insight drawn from the 60s pop song: “Everything is Beautiful in Its Own Way.” When you feel yourself slipping back into OBK, you will play the song on your iPhone and you will be restored.

Mental illness. All in my head. Can be cured. I laughed at a homeless man today: he looked so funny in his raggedy smelly clothes, with a sunburn, and a worn-out cardboard coffee container. One month ago he would have made me mad and I might have pushed him down on the sidewalk. But now, I think he’s funny. I pointed and laughed. Shep Rutt saved my life: I had an illness in my head that was cured. Stop It! made me stop it. I am studying now to become a Stop It therapist. More OBK sufferers need to see that everything is beautiful in its own way.

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

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Epanorthosis (ep-an-or-tho’-sis): Amending a first thought by altering it to make it stronger or more vehement.

Every time I try to put things right, they go wrong—no, no, no, they go catastrophic. I go to the vet with my cat Barny. I decided to carry him to calm him & boom—he jumps out of my arms and runs away across the parking lot, jumps through the window of a waiting car and rides away. I was just trying to help him and things went way wrong. That was a year ago. I got a new cat and named him Barny 2. He is all black like the old Barny, but has a different demeanor. He likes clawing my ankles, yowling late at night, and knocking his food around the kitchen floor, like some kind of weird multi-puck hockey game.

I wanted everything to be right on the cat front. It never will be, but well, maybe it will be. Maybe I can work with Barny 2 to bring him around—to make him a model cat. There’s a place called “Bad Cat College” near where I live. My friend Etta had her cat cured there of its tendency grab ahold of her windpipe when she was sleeping. The cat, Blurto, was cured by substituting kitty treats for Etta’s windpipe. The cat gained a lot of weight, but Etta can sleep knowing her windpipe will be intact in the morning. I would like to stem Barny 2’s desire to eat my legs.

Sadly, Barny 2 disappeared 3 days ago. Maybe he’s gone for good. Right now I’m writing a short story called the “Incorrigible Cat.” The story ends with a woman and her cat fighting it out in the basement. The women hits the cat with its litter box and slams it up against the wall. The cat is unfazed and leaps on the woman’s head and tears one of her eyes out of its socket. The woman, bleeding from scratches and her eye socket, rips the cat off her head and strangles it with one hand, while she punches it in the face with her other hand.

This is like Dirty Harry meets Leo the Lion. Ha Ha. You might have guessed, that I’m actually done with cats. I think they are suitable for masochists, but not me. With luck, Barny 2 will never come home.

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

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Epenthesis (e-pen’-thes-is): The addition of a letter, sound, or syllable to the middle of a word. A kind of metaplasm. Note: Epenthesis is sometimes employed in order to accommodate meter in verse; sometimes, to facilitate easier articulation of a word’s sound. It can, of course, be accidental, and a vice of speech.

I cain imagine what it would be like to live here. I would have a lot of fun playing softball until dark behind The Knights of Columbus Club House where we can “borrow” Mr. Tanto’s De Nobili cigars. He hides them from his wife at the clubhouse and smokes them like there’s no tomorrow while he’s there, and drinks Mt. Stromboli’s homemade wine like it actually tastes good! I tasted it one time and it was awful. It tasted like somebody had soaked car tires in bath water and bottled it. I will never know what Mr. Tanto found pleasing about Mr: Stromboli’s wine. Maybe I just don’t have gourmet taste. I like big Mac’s with cheese, fries, a vainilla shake and a cone. That makes me pretty much normal, like everybody else.

Yes, this is a great place to live. If I can stay, as I grow up I am sure I’ll get a good job. Maybe like my cousin Jimmy. He’s a runner. He does not race in marathons, in fact he does race at all. He will never tell me where he runs. He says it’s secret. Maybe he works for the CIA. I don’t know what kind of espionage can go on in this little town, but it could be big. The town is near an arsenal where they make and test bombs. You hear them exploding all day long, and sometimes at night. I snuck into the arsenal one night. I have never told this to anybody. I saw flying monkeys being bossed by a skinny old lady in a black dress. I barely got out of there and I’ve seen monkeys peering in my bedroom window. They hold up little signs that say things like: “Go back to New Jersey’” “Jimmy is doomed,” and “No more chocolate ice cream.” Nothing’s happened yet, and I don’t think it will. I just wish the flying monkeys would leave me alone.

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

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Epergesis (e-per-gee’-sis): Interposing an apposition, often in order to clarify what has just been stated.

My Oder brother, “Edward the fish,” has numerous problems. The biggest is his tendency purse his lips like a fish mouth. Then, he makes a gurgling sound when he gets nervous. Sometime he says: “Look at me, I’m an anxious sunfish.” He also has a very unfortunate self abuse tendency: he will hook himself with a Red Devil fishing lure. We don’t know where he gets them, but somehow he does. His lower lip is always loaded with scabs. When he hooks himself my mother has to get the hook out. She cuts it with a pair of wire cutters for minimal lip damage. Of course, Edward was awarded “The Fish” nickname due to his fish-fixation. We tried for years to figure out where his fish fixation comes from. We determined that it probably started when he went fishing with our father when he was a little boy.

They got up early, around 5.30 am and headed for nearby Lake Stone. Dad had given Edward a child fishing rod with a push-button reel shaped like Donald Duck. It was about 2 feet long. This was Edward’s first-ever fishing trip. He had no idea what to expect and Dad, in typical Dad fashion, didn’t bother to fill him in.

There was an abundance of fish that year—mostly sunfish. Dad and Edward filled our rowboat with Sunfish that day. Poor Edward was pretty much buried under bleeding, stinking sunfish. He tried to jump out of the boat, but Dad hit him on the head with an oar, and told him to quit whining and stand up if he didn’t want to sit with the fish.

When they got home, Edward smelled like a ripe tuna. Dad had dumped the fish on the lakeshore because it was “a pain in the ass to clean them.” Right away Edward started acting like a fish. Some day, we hope to relieve him of his problem. Soon, he’ll be able to collect welfare because he’s crazy. I don’t think they’ll find anything fishy.

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

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Epicrisis (e-pi-cri’-sis): When a speaker quotes a certain passage and makes comment upon it.

Related figures: anamenesis–calling to memory past matters. More specifically, citing a past author from memory–and chreia (from the Greek chreiodes, “useful”) . . . “a brief reminiscence referring to some person in a pithy form for the purpose of edification.” It takes the form of an anecdotethat reports either a saying, an edifying action, or both.

“Owners of former Sears and Macy’s stores may have veto power over changes to the property.” I read this in my local newspaper. Another business-centric use of paper—paper that is becoming more and more scarce. Even after reading the article, I don’t know why I should care. I would like to see Sears made into the world’s biggest massage parlor. It is 2 stories high! It would get a ton of publicity. It could be called “Swingin’ Roebucks,” catering to hordes of frustrated men. I would love to see Macy’s turned into an indoor gardening site: Macy’s Classic Garden. It could have grow lights and people could rent plots to grow whatever they want—carrots, pot, pumpkins, spinach, and potatoes. Whatever. There could be a counter included with each plot in case people want to sell their produce, or give it away. All tools would be communal and fitted with special “bracelets” like they use for house arrest, so the tools couldn’t be stolen.

But of course, none of this will ever happen. There will probably be more bullshit retail stores built into the spaces—stuff you can get on the internet from Amazon with no shipping fees. Why should I spend my $5.00 per gallon gas to drive to Mandy’s Candies, Ted’s Trench-Coats, or Barbie’s Buns? All I need to do, for example, is go on the web and search for “buns.” Of course, I may be momentarily distracted by women’s buns pictures posted there, but I’ll get to the baked buns eventually. It beats driving to Shoppingville Mall, which is five miles away from where I live.

Unless they start adapting malls to the 21st century, they should be jackhammering them into dust. I would love to go work in my Macy’s Classic Garden plot, hoeing my beans or trimming my buds, or whatever. Then, after getting all sweaty, dashing over “Swingin’ Roebucks” for a massage. Never happen.

Comments are open. Post your own examples!

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

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Epilogus (e-pi-lo’-gus): Providing an inference of what is likely to follow.

I was driving us from Topeka to Moobell, Kansas—about 400 miles. Our oldest son was graduating from the abattoir school located there. Their motto is “You’ll Make the Cut” and it really helped our son develop a positive attitude toward his studies. We couldn’t wait for him to flop a pile of steaks and sweetbreads on the kitchen counter. Medium rare please! Thickly breaded please!

There was so much going on in car that I was completely distracted. I was trying to finish my second beer and stay under 80 at the same time. No mean feat. The twins were bickering about whose feet were bigger and what was better: to die by chainsaw or by car wreck. They both decided car wreck was the way to go: a lesser degree of terror and waiting for the chainsaw to do its thing, after being taunted by its insane wielder. Mary, our only daughter, was sitting alongside the twins and I could see her in the rearview mirror mouthing “bullshit” and giving her brothers the finger. I turned around to tell the twins to shut up, and a Buffalo stepped out in front of the car.

My beer can crumpled in my hand and the car flipped over. Luckily we were all belted in and we were hanging upside down with no injuries. Also, I was able to reach my phone in my pants and call 911. The highway patrol cut us out of our seatbelts and asked me what the open beer can in my hand was about. I told them I had a weak bladder and I needed it to pee in.

Our car was towed to a local body shop where the insurance adjuster would check it out. They had no rental cars available, so we rented the tow truck and continued on. We made it in time to the graduation. The key speaker was Olaf Meyer, the great grandson of Oscar Meyer, the king of weenies! The speech was “There’s a Cut for Everybody,” a typical left-wing speech about gustatory diversity. We sat through it and drove the tow truck back to the body shop. They had a mini-van available. We all hopped aboard and headed home. Our car had been judged to be a total loss. Soon, we’d have a new car purchased with the insurance money.

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

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Epimone (e-pi’-mo-nee): Persistent repetition of the same plea in much the same words.

This is a one-time opportunity. You only have one nose. I know you’ve never liked it. You’ve done so much nasal self-disparagement that you could write a book of nose insults that would be a best seller. My favorite is “My nose looks like a hard-boiled egg with bristles sticking out of it.” It comes close to “My nose looks like lacquered tapioca” or “My nose looks like a buzzard beak.”

So, you’re going to get a nose job and have it sculpted into some kind of Greek goddess shape. It is probably going to hurt and be bandaged for a week or two.

Remember, your nose nose knows what’s good for it. As you’re recovering, listen to your nose. Monitor it carefully. Put the eagle eye on it! Whatever you do while you’re recovering, don’t be nosy. Keep your nose out of other peoples’ business. Don’t go sniffing around for trouble. Just use your nose to breathe—that’s what it’s for. Don’t worry, your surgery will be “on the nose.” Your doctor knows what she’s doing.

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

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Epiplexis (e-pi-plex’-is): Asking questions in order to chide, to express grief, or to inveigh. A kind of rhetorical question [–the speaker does not expect an answer].

Why? Why? Why? Why did I let her read that book : “Lots of People, Lots of Places?” A tasteless tome about people living off the land, wandering around America like homeless souls and meeting people from all walks of life—used car dealers, farmers, plastic surgeons, carpenters, day care providers, professors, crooks, butchers, prophets, bartenders. What the hell is the point of that? Home, home on the range is where I want to be. But, my daughter has been influenced by the book, She’s gone. She calls me now and then to share her latest meeting. Last week, it was a goat herder from Canada. Before that, a monk. Next, she tells me she’s going to meet an Uber driver. What the hell? What will I do? Why did I let her read that book? How is this going to end up?

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

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Epistrophe (e-pis’-tro-fee): Ending a series of lines, phrases, clauses, or sentences with the same word or words.

Once upon a time, there was the same old shopworn morality tale—a mouse pulling a thorn from a lion’s paw, Scrooge is turned around, the little engine huffed and puffed and made it up the hill, the three little pigs built a brick home that prevailed against the blowhard wolf who was in the habit of “huffing and puffing” and blowing down pig houses made of straw or other flimsy materials, and eating the hapless residents.

These stories have morals displaying hierarchies of “the true, the good, and the beautiful.” They’re supposed teach us something about being good. But some of us do not live in accord with the moral frameworks of fables and fairy tales. We make our own way.

I go through life sailing on a sea of lies, never once regretting my course, changing it by dint of my will, by what I want—what I need. I’ve been dodging the truth this way ever since I can remember.

Evasion and escape is what I am—living in the twilight where contours are blurred and certainty is unachievable. Surmounting facts with hope and fear is how I’ve made my way for as long as I can remember.

People facing the future alone are a portal of heightened anxiety: in need of counsel no matter where it takes them, they just need a voice other than their own to fill the blank slate of their consciousness with glowing lights and merry hopes. This is where I come in, decorating lonely minds with false expectations. I’ve been playing this deadly game for as long as I can remember.

All my life, watching my back. Telling lies. Being tricky. Killing trust in those who trusted me and lost their life savings, their husband or wife, custody of their children, their car, their cat, their job. Whatever.

For me, it’s all for me—lying is my medium of exchange. I get what I want by subterfuge. Actually, I’m telling you the God’s honest truth. I am a liar, prevaricator, deceiver, equivocator. Trust me and you’ll throw your life away. Now, before I go, I need your father’s coin collection. I built a display case for his collection, for his birthday. I want to put the coins in it and give it to him as my gift. Trust me.

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

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Epitasis (e-pit’-a-sis): The addition of a concluding sentence that merely emphasizes what has already been stated. A kind of amplification. [The opposite of anesis.]

There is too much worrying. What’s the point. Worry. Worry. Worry. Worry about bills. Worry about job. Worry about worrying like I’m doing right now. Worry is about what’s possible—what the future holds. We can’t know the future. For most things, we worry in vain. But the future is still there—like an unused ticket or an invitation to a mild coma.

There’s nothing we can do to eliminate worry, we just have to distinguish between good and bad worry. Good worry yields good plans. Bad worry yields irritability. pacing up and down, panic, and loony plans. In fact, bad worry can yield bizarre plans and plans that are not anchored in realty at all. Remember Mr. Newlung? He must be related to Chicken Little. Remember when he came running out his front door in his underwear yelling “What will I wipe with?” He panicked over the toilet paper shortage of 2020, believing that toilet paper was going to be in permanent short supply. Toilet paper made a comeback, but now he’s worried by the baby formula and sunscreen shortages. Mr Newlung needs to give the shortages a wider berth, and not see them as permanent. There’s the problem: the particulars of the future do not exist. So, our speculation about it is all we’ve got—we just don’t know—the future is all in the imagination. All we can say, is that some speculation is better than other speculation. Mr. Newlung’s underpants sprint was not prompted by good speculation.

So we worry too much and we’re doomed to worry as long as we can imagine a future—something that’s unknowable that affects us. The Chinese seer Lao Tzu tells us “Worry is hope in pain.” What we need is good worry. It will help alleviate human suffering by narrowing the gap between what is and what will be.

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

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Epitheton (e-pith’-e-ton): Attributing to a person or thing a quality or description-sometimes by the simple addition of a descriptive adjective; sometimes through a descriptive or metaphorical apposition. (Note: If the description is given in place of the name, instead of in addition to it, it becomes antonomasia or periphrasis.)

There was no mistaking his footprint. His foot was a foot and it left a perfect trace in my garden’s soft soil. There was no mistaking it. Given his weight, “Neighborhood Fats” left a print twice as deep as me. It was clear he was stalking my domesticated asparagus, which he commented on the day before, with a trace of drool rolling off his lip. I was going to catch him and make him pay.

I settled into my garden vigil that night, hoping to nail him. I was dozing off around 11 when I was startled by a grunting sound. It was him! Dressed all in black, he looked like a giant bowling ball or a Kool-aid pitcher filled with 50 gallons of India ink. He was grunting because he was pulling a tarp—pulling it toward my newly sprouted rhubarb! Not only was he dressed in black, but he was wearing one of those ski mask things to conceal his pocked face and giant bushy eyebrows that looked like black bottle brushes when they were uncovered. I picked up a tomato cage. I was going to stab him in the eye with its wire tines. Just as I was about to make him eligible for a seeing-eye dog, I realized he was planting something in my garden. After seeing what he was up to, I couldn’t harm him. I let him wander off, pulling his big green tarp behind him.

The next morning I checked to see what he had planted in my garden. It was 6 pot plants! We’re only allowed three in my state. He was setting me up. I pulled all but three plants. The police came because they had a complaint that there was an illegal pot farm in my back yard. They checked and found nothing illegal and left.

I bought 6 ounces of cocaine and put it under the driver’s side seat of my neighbor’s never-locked van. Then, I called the police. He was wearing his garden marauding suit when the police dragged him in handcuffs out his front door to their waiting patrol car. I yelled: “There is no gardening without humility. Reap what you sow, dickhead!”

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

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Epitrope (e-pi’-tro-pe): A figure in which one turns things over to one’s hearers, either pathetically, ironically, or in such a way as to suggest a proof of something without having to state it. Epitrope often takes the form of granting permission (hence its Latin name, permissio), submitting something for consideration, or simply referring to the abilities of the audience to supply the meaning that the speaker passes over (hence Puttenham’s term, figure of reference). Epitrope can be either biting in its irony, or flattering in its deference.

There’s nothing like a smug bunch of losers to tell me how turn this business around—my wife, her father, my father—trying to tell me what to do. I’d listen to a licensed clown before I’d listen to them. We’ve been selling fishing lures since the beginning of time. Some say the serpent in the Garden of Eden used a fishing lure, not an apple, to tempt Eve away from God. That’s why we have a lure named “Eve’s Temptation.” But that’s beside the point right now. We need to save the business, save your jobs, and save my daughter’s college tuition payments. I know you have some good ideas for expanding the business, so we can sell more product. I see you nodding your heads. Why don’t you appoint a leader, come up with an expansion plan, and present it to me. I have always listened to your voices, and this is no different.

Fishing drones might be a good idea. Can you imagine pulling a whopper out of the water and flying it back to wherever you are? Let’s see what you can do! It’s in your hands. Don’t let it slip through you fingers and flop around on the floor! I look forward to seeing what you come up with.

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

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Epizeugma (ep-i-zoog’-ma): Placing the verb that holds together the entire sentence (made up of multiple parts that depend upon that verb) either at the very beginning or the very ending of that sentence.

Driving to the liquor store, the dry cleaners, and the OTB—a big adventure all in one day. I got my favorite cheap vodka— Belarus Ballerina. I got my purple cashmere sweater back, Stain gone! I’ve got to stop eating with my Grandma’s wedding spoon. She left it to me in her will. It’s too wide for my mouth and I keep leaking what I should be eating. I think I may have it ground down on the sides. Then there’s the OTB parlor. I lost $1400 on two races. I am mad about that— the two horses were both long shots. One was 40-1, the other was 60-1. I could’ve been a millionaire! But I’m not. With odds that high, they shouldn’t let those horses race. Anyway, I’ve always been a sucker for the long shots. The best is proposing to my wife. I figured the odds were 100-1 she’s say yes. I was right. I had to get her father to make her marry me. Then there was the office pool on the sex of my daughter. I put my money on indeterminate.

I’m going to stop betting. What are the odds?

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

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Epizeuxis: Repetition of the same word, with none between, for vehemence. Synonym for palilogia.

Help, Help, Help!

That’s what they yell when they want a handout, something for nothing, or some kind of charity. They’re not drowning. They’re not injured. They’re not trapped. They’re not starving. They shouldn’t be yelling “help” just because they’re hungry, or they need to have a tooth pulled, or they’re living under a tablecloth in the woods. It’s like yelling “fire” in a crowded Best Buy when there’s no fire.

But, they are trying to con you out of your hard-earned cash. Under the precepts of Social Darwinism, which we should all adhere to, “If there’s a drunk in the gutter, leave him there, that’s where he belongs.” The same goes for all the unwanted children coming down the pike, riding in buses from The Supreme Court. Pro-life initiatives put those buses on the road where they belong. If you see what might be a pregnant woman sitting in a bus station crying, clutching her belly, and softly asking “Why, why, why?” Tell her that murder is illegal and she better follow the law. Anyway, it’s a long bus-ride from Texas to Illinois.

In sum, we live in a world of shit. I am unmoved by other’s suffering. I ask myself every day: why doesn’t living by my moral precepts make me happy? Why don’t I have children? Why don’t I have friends? Why am I estranged from my family? Why does nearly everyone I talk to call me an asshole?

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

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Erotema (e-ro-tem’-a): The rhetorical question. To affirm or deny a point strongly by asking it as a question. Generally, as Melanchthon has noted, the rhetorical question includes an emotional dimension, expressing wonder, indignation, sarcasm, etc.

I can’t believe we haven’t decided where to go for vacation yet. What is wrong with Piney Butte? Why is Piney Butte so far out of the question? People forget. We haven’t there for ten years. What’s a little embarrassment compared to the fun we can have there—hiking, swimming and boating in the lake, and building a bonfire the appropriate distance from our cabin. I never could’ve predicted what would happen that night. Do you think history repeats itself? Do you think we’re doomed to burn our cabin to the ground again? Ha! No way! Why don’t you take a deep breath and think about it. What are the odds? Probably a million to one.

Raise your hand if you want to go to Piney Butte. Ok, Good. Let’s start packing and I’ll book us a cabin right by the lake. I’ve got to go the gas station first and fill my gas can. We’ll need something to get the bonfire started. I can’t wait.

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

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Eucharistia (eu-cha-ris’-ti-a): Giving thanks for a benefit received, sometimes adding one’s inability to repay.

Thank-you so much for the comb.

Hair is a many-splendored thing. If you wash it, it shines and smells good. You can curl it so it bounces and shimmers. That brings us to combing the hair. Ever since I used my comb last June in Panama to fight off a man who invaded my hotel room in the middle of the night, I’ve been without a comb. I stabbed him in the stomach with it and he ran out the door, leaving a blood trail to the fire stairs.

It was a beautiful tortoise shell comb, with a special pointed handle. It goes easily through airport security and nobody’s ever the wiser.

This comb you’ve given me today is beautifully crafted and beautifully functional. The built-in GPS is a stroke of genius as are the tear gas dispenser and hand sanitizer. It is more than a replacement. It is a new horizon of self-defense and good grooming. I am sure it will save my life someday—maybe in a hotel room in Panama. Ha ha.

When your birthday comes, I‘m going to have a hard time measuring up. The electric hard-boiled egg peeler I gave you last year is a tough act to follow—we’ve been eating hard boiled eggs every day for the past year. I’m thinking of a tattoo gift certificate for you this year. Maybe you could get that ugly rat bastard Kelly’s face on your butt. I’m pretty sure he’ll get to look at it whenever he wants. What do you think?

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

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