Tag Archives: orcos

Orcos

Orcos (or’-kos): Swearing that a statement is true.


“I swear on my mother’s grave that it’s true.” This was a popular saying where I grew up. It supposedly bolstered your avowal of truth by bringing your dead mother up, and the sanctity of her grave, as warrants—if you lied while swearing on her grave at the same time, it would double damn you with disrespect for your dead mother and disrespect for the truth. Swearing on your mother’s grave is a pretty morbid way to establish your credibility, and I’m not sure if my understanding of its rationale is right. But the odd thing was, we were just kids and our mothers were all still alive.

Despite not having a mother’s grave to swear on, we used the credibility-generating saying. To make it work, we discussed it and decided we were referring to future graves. Everybody dies sooner or later, so pushing the grave reference into the future was taken as a good-faith promise to actually swear on a mother’s grave after she died as a way of settling the times you swore on it when it was non-existent. This all made perfect sense to me, and I went on with my life.

Then, ten years later, my mother died of kidney failure. My mother grew up in Arizona. She was an actual cowgirl when she was in her early teens to early twenties. In my favorite picture of her she’s holding a dead 4-foot long rattlesnake in one hand and a six-shooter in her other hand. She was wearing boots and jeans and a flannel plaid shirt. This was topped off by a black cowboy hat with a beautiful concha-decorated hatband, and a belt buckle shaped like a longhorn steer. She met my Dad when he was stationed in Arizona during the Vietnam War. He was a mechanic in the Air Force. That’s all I know.

When they got married Dad had been discharged from the Air Force. They moved to New Jersey where Dad had grown up working in an ESSO refinery in Linden. He got his old job back. He came home every night smelling like a big can of motor oil. I don’t know how my mother stood it, given where she grew up. After I was born, I became the center of Mom’s life, displacing my father. He resented it. He resented me. He would leave me at the bus station or the train station hoping I’d be abducted. I would always show up back at home and he would curse while Mom would cry with joy. But now, me and Dad were following a hearse with Mom’s body on board—driving from New Jersey to Arizona, listening to Bruce Springsteen on the satellite. It made no sense, but my father never made any sense—he was a jerk, a fool, and an idiot. We should’ve flown. After four days driving, we arrived in Sedona, AZ—where Mom grew up and where we were going to bury her. It would be my mother’s grave—the real thing. After she was buried, I took a picture. The grave was pitiful. There was no headstone, just a wooden cross made out of treated 2X4s with Mom’s initials and her birth and death dates on a nailed-on plaque. We probably could’ve bought a nice headstone with what it cost us to drive from New Jersey to Arizona. But, like I said, my father was a jerk, an idiot, and a fool. Let’s add cheap bastard to that.

Now, when I say “I swear on my mother’s grave,” it’s not just an empty catchphrase—she’s actually dead and buried. When I swear on my mother’s grave, I pull out a copy of the picture of her grave I took at the cemetery in Arizona. Then, for further assurance, I give the picture to the person I’m trying to convince of my truthfulness. Usually, they back up saying, “No, no, no. That’s all right. I believe you!” I’m never sure whether they mean it, or whether they’re just trying to get away from me. I swear on my mother’s grave that I just don’t know, but God knows, I’d like to know. I cross my heart and hope to die.

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

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Orcos

Orcos (or’-kos): Swearing that a statement is true.


Liars are the lowliest form of human life. They tear the social fabric like it is cheesecloth. Once that fabric is torn, unmoored, set loose from trust, the essence of human relations is undermined, and when lying becomes endemic, paranoia sets in. When you ask anybody anything, if it makes them look better, they’ll lie—ask them how old they are, they’ll shave off five years. Ask them where they got all that cash. They’ll tell you from gambling.

I am not a liar and that’s the truth. That wasn’t a lie. Neither was that. Or that. I won the money gambling, or I inherited it, or something like that. I have receipts and other documents supporting the truthfulness of what I’m swearing to. So, while I could be lying, I swear I’m not. It’s like when I tell my wife I love her, there’s no way of proving it. Same with the money. Even though the same amount is missing from the place where I work, it is a coincidence, like if my wife saw me coming out of a motel with my secretary. My wife would say, “Oh gosh. What a coincidence that is. They must’ve been working away from the office.”

I am an honorable man like Julius Caesar, or Huey Long, or Donald Trump. Sunshine on my shoulders makes me happy.


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 a Kindle edition for $5.99.

Orcos

Orcos (or’-kos): Swearing that a statement is true.

Senator Lunar: How many Russians can dance on the Head of the FBI?

Government Witless: Probably 5 or 6. But, respectfully, I believe it is the head of a pin, not an actual head & that it is somehow a metaphysical meditation on the corporeality of Russians’ souls (if they have any in the first place).

Senator Veritas: You lie I cry!

Government Witless: I swear I am telling the truth so far as Senator Lunar’s more or less insane question begs me to.  By the way: Your mother is alive and well in Miami.

Senator Lunar: 5 or 6 Russians dancing on Comey’s head, eh? There is no bruising. I think you’re lying Witless.

Government Witless: Respectfully Senator Lunar, my answer is true insofar as it is consistent with a historical tradition of speculation on bodies and souls, not to mention angels and whether they’re pure spirit. Russians are a new twist on the commentary.

But I want to ask you: Why are you asking me this more or less (on the face of it) irrelevant, if not crazy, question?

Senator Lunar: My Life Coach Billy Ed Joseph Ronald Richards gave me the idea. He was giving an ‘inspiration’ on how to advance political agendas and one way is ‘dancing’ on the heads of opponents. So, if 5 or 6 Russians danced on Comey’s head, it could very well be the case that he was ‘brought around’ and colluded with the Russians.

Government Witless: Wow! That’s more bizarre than 12th century philosophy and theology combined!

Senator Lunar: I swear it’s true. I may have been there. That’s not ketchup on my loafers. Whoops!

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.

Orcos

Orcos (or’-kos): Swearing that a statement is true.

Z: I swear on a stack of bacon that I did not touch your grill.

X: What about my lawn tractor?

Z: I swear on a pile of mulch that I did not sit on your lawn tractor.

X: What about my hummingbird feeder?

Z: You got me! I poured red nectar on my pancakes and I feel like humming and building a tiny nest.

X: Hello, 911?

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

Orcos

Orcos (or’-kos): Swearing that a statement is true.

I swear, I won’t release any more NSA secrets. I want to stay in Москва, drink Шуба, eat Шуба, and Барыня ты моя, сударыня ты моя all night long! Anyway, I’ve run out of clean socks and underwear, it’s too hot in Bolivia, and I miss my mommy.

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

Orcos

Orcos (or’-kos): Swearing that a statement is true.

I stand by that document. What it says is true. I give you my word it is true–it is factual. But that’s not enough–find out for yourselves. Read what I read–the official statement of their policy–and draw your own conclusions.

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