Tag Archives: rhetoric

Catachresis

Catachresis (kat-a-kree’-sis): The use of a word in a context that differs from its proper application. This figure is generally considered a vice; however, Quintilian defends its use as a way by which one adapts existing terms to applications where a proper term does not exist.


My heart went beep before it took a leap. I wanted to wrench it around so it could see what I was doing to me. Unable to do that, I opted for an empty can of garbanzos with both ends cut out. I put the can on my chest. I bent my head down and listened. I heard a faint squeaking sound that troubled my thinking.

If these heart episodes persist, I will stop reading mystery novels and start reading high school biology textbooks with pictures of whales and reproductive systems with schismatic diagrams of their complexity. This will impact my life, and I’m not at all reticent to try it. First, I must have a convocation with my doctor. She’s really smart and will know what to perform.


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

Print and Kindle editions of The Daily Trope are available on Amazon under the title The Book of Tropes.

Catacosmesis

Catacosmesis (kat-a-kos-mees’-is): Ordering words from greatest to least in dignity, or in correct order of time.


I thought I was a king. Then I thought I was a prince. Now I know I am a homeless man. I live on the street. I live in an alley by a restaurant. I rummage for food three times a day. There’s always something to eat, but it isn’t very good. I long for the days when I thought I was a king, or even a prince. I had a family. Now, I sleep under a tarp on the pavement.

I had friends. I was pretty happy. Then, this clicking sound started in my head. I couldn’t focus on work. I couldn’t focus on anything. I was driving my wife and daughter crazy. I quit my job. After a year, I ran out the front door with nothing but the clothes on my back. Now I hear clicking and static in my head. Oddly, the static helps me sleep. Tomorrow, I’m going to the free clinic to find out what’s wrong with me. Right now, I feel crazy. Tomorrow, I may feel sane, but I doubt it.


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

Cataphasis

Cataphasis (kat-af’-a-sis): A kind of paralipsis in which one explicitly affirms the negative qualities that one then passes over.


He’s a liar, a cheater, an extortionist, a narcissist, and a misogynist. But, we all know this already. There’s something else, though, that may be more pressing that we need to immediately discuss and determine what action to take.

So, what’s new to his resume of wrongdoing?

Treason.

On 1/6/21, he used his position to urge his supporters to nullify the election he fairly lost. They stormed the US Capitol: people were injured, people died, property was damaged and stolen, and more. The election’s certification was temporarily halted.

There is ample evidence that he was involved in the planning of the insurrection, and with his speech that day, it’s execution.

At a minimum, because of what he knows, one way or the other, he must be subpoenaed to testify under oath to the Commission, and indicted to stand trial for treason, if his, and others’ testimony, and supporting evidence, determine it is warranted.

We can’t let this go. Our nation’s future is at stake. Free, fair, and open elections are the heartbeat of our democracy. If found guilty, his attempt to take the Presidential election by the force of lies and violence was treasonous and warrants a life sentence, without the possibility of parole.

Let’s get to work and put the traitor away. As long as he remains free, he makes a mockery of our Constitution and threatens the fundamental political values it embodies. As Cicero said, “Though liberty is established by law, we must be vigilant, for liberty to enslave us is always present under that very liberty. Our Constitution speaks of the ‘general welfare of the people.’ Under that phrase all sorts of excesses can be employed by lusting tyrants to make us bondsmen.”

We have our charge. Let us follow our solemn oath to protect and defend the Constitution. Let us diligently, openly, and passionately pursue truth and find justice for the American people; for the United States of America.


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

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Cataplexis

Cataplexis (kat-a-pleex’-is): Threatening or prophesying payback for ill doing.


You cheated, you lied, but unlike the 50s song, I’m not “goin to keep on lovin’ you.“ I’m outta here. Remember the money you have (had) in your retirement account? At least half of it will belong to me, not to mention the equity in the house. I’m going to grab everything I can, you low-life scum ball. Oh, let’s not forget our children. I doubt if you remember their names. They call you by your fist name instead of “Daddy.” I’m taking them too.

The worst thing of all is the fact that you cheated with my sister—my sister! My God! How much lower can you go, destroying what has always been my wonderful relationship with her. I should’ve known when the two of you went “bowling” until 2.00 am while I stayed home and watched the kids. Or, I should’ve paid closer attention when you went “deer hunting” in the Adirondacks for two days.

I trusted you to the max. You were such a good cheater and liar. You should win an award, but instead I’m going to win a judgment against you in divorce court.

Don’t even try to bullshit your way out of this. My poor sister was showing me pictures of the two of you in the Adirondacks. Scrolling through photos on her phone together, a picture of the two of you naked in bed popped up. What can I say?

The end.


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

The Daily Trope is available on Amazon in paperback under the title of The Book of Tropes for $9.95. It is also available in Kindle format for $5.99.

Charientismus

Charientismus (kar-i-en-tia’-mus): Mollifying harsh words by answering them with a smooth and appeasing mock.


A: You can’t tell the difference between shit and Shinola.

B: At least I don’t eat it.

A: Are you saying I eat shit?

B: No, no! I’m saying I don’t eat shit. If you want to eat shit (or Shinola), that’s your business. It’s probably safer to eat shit than Shinola. Shinola’s loaded with harmful ingredients—definitely poisonous. Also, it will stain your teeth—a dead giveaway to Shinola-eating.

A: Ok. Let me put it another way: If brains were dynamite, you wouldn’t have enough to blow your nose.

B: Thank God for that! I’d rather be unable to blow my nose than have my head blown off by my big knowledge-filled brain!

A: You’re hopeless. Let’s go to the pub and have a few beers.


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

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Chiasmus (ki-az’-mus): 1. Repetition of ideas in inverted order. 2. Repetition of grammatical structures in inverted order (not to be mistaken with antimetabole, in which identical words are repeated and inverted).


Did I love my new shoes because they were so comfortable, or were my new shoes so comfortable because I loved them? They cost $600.00. They had better be comfortable, or is “they’re so comfortable” my line in the face of inquiries about my ridiculously expensive shoes? I tried everything to make them comfortable. I had to have a rationale for spending $600 on shoes.

Truth be told, no matter what I did I couldn’t make them comfortable like my other shoes. I used creams, sprays, rubber insoles, and saddle soap. I marched around my living room for hours trying to break them in. I wore thick socks.

I loved my shoes, but they didn’t love me. They actually became more uncomfortable, giving me a blisters on both heels. The shoes were making me crazy—reversing my life’s priorities and making me into a serial liar. Initially, I loved my shoes because they were expensive and would be a status symbol. I didn’t even consider their comfort until I wore them to work, and they hurt. Stupid me. My desire for a ready “comfort” rationale avoiding their status signification, and their ridiculous price, got in the way of truth—they became “comfortable” because it sounded better than $600.00 and a status boost as rationales for owning them. I wanted to seem innocent of status mongering. I wanted to represent their appeal to me as comfort, not class. “Class” would seem accidental—it was “really” about comfort.

I’m donating the torture shoes to Good Will where they’ll probably sell for $5.00 or less. This whole thing has taught me a lesson: You can’t make shoes be what they are not by saying that they are what they’re not. This lesson probably extends beyond shoes, most likely to relationships.


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

The Daily Trope is available on Amazon in paperback under the title of The Book of Tropes for $9.95. It is also available in Kindle format for $5.99.

Chronographia

Chronographia (chro-no-graph’-i-a): Vivid representation of a certain historical or recurring time (such as a season) to create an illusion of reality. A kind of enargia: [the] generic name for a group of figures aiming at vivid, lively description.


Sunset. Pink, silver, red, grey with some clouds and blue sky in the background. Venus appears—steady in the sky, like a promise as the sun sinks—a promise of night and illuminated pumpkins, and kids in costumes loading up on candy.

I can’t stop thinking about you. Remember? We met at the Halloween Ball in the high school gym. I was dressed as a serial killer, with a hammer for a weapon. You were a shopping cart lady, with a cart filled with dirty laundry, an empty vodka bottle, and a one-eyed teddy bear. I got in the cart and you pretended to dance with me, pushing the cart in circles, zig-zagging, and doing wheelies (which was quite difficult).

We dated for awhile, but you made me ride in the shopping cart wherever we went. You said you only wanted to reenact the night we met. I thought you were crazy. And you were. On our anniversary, you pushed me and the cart into traffic. I was nearly killed and you were convicted of attempted murder and sentenced to ten years.

I asked the judge if I could keep the shopping cart as a part of my recovery plan. He assented.

The cart is bent and twisted. The one-eyed teddy bear is forever wedged between the front and back of the cart’s crushed plastic child seat. It is missing a wheel—it is totally unusable, except it can be dragged around with the piece of rope I tied to the frame.

Happy Halloween Suzy! I hope you are rotting nicely in prison. Are you wearing your orange jumpsuit costume tonight? Ha ha!


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

The Daily Trope is available on Amazon in paperback under the title of The Book of Tropes for $9.95. It is also available in Kindle format for $5.99.

Climax

Climax (cli’-max): Generally, the arrangement of words, phrases, or clauses in an order of increasing importance, often in parallel structure.


I tried my best to do my duty for God and Country.

I went to Church every Sunday, sang hymns, took Holy Communion, prayed for my mom, dad, sister, and our Collie, Nick. I believed in Jesus. I thought I was saved.

I joined the Army when I was nineteen, at the height of the Vietnam War. I was stationed in Huế. I was there for the Tet Offensive. It was kill or be killed. I had to use my bayonet. I was horrified. I was wounded in the leg.

After the war I lost my faith in God, and resented my Country. My leg healed, but my soul was forever wounded. I never thought I’d lose my faith. I didn’t think I’d ever kill another human being. But, doing my duty has done me in: crushed my resolve, made me into a ghost, and broken my heart.

There is no answer to my prayers. There is no thrill at the sight of the high flying flag. There is only mourning for the man I used to be.


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

The Daily Trope is available on Amazon in paperback under the title of The Book of Tropes for $9.95. It is also available in Kindle format for $5.99.

Coenotes

Coenotes (cee’-no-tees): Repetition of two different phrases: one at the beginning and the other at the end of successive paragraphs. Note: Composed of anaphora and epistrophe, coenotes is simply a more specific kind of symploce (the repetition of phrases, not merely words).


Your moods remind of the sky. Cloudy. Clear. Boundless. Ubiquitous. Blue. Black. Filled with stars, bolts of lightning, and flocks of screaming birds: you are a force of nature.

Your moods remind me of the sky. As always, I stand underneath the vault of your shifting sensibilities, looking up and watching you, like a brother watches a sister, or an enemy watches a friend. Hesitant. Hurrying. Distant. Close. Tangled in hope and fear, netted, and hoisted, and dumped on a slippery deck. Flopping around, waiting to be rescued by your smile. But, you don’t even know I’m there. You don’t care. I am not a part of your life. Yet, you penetrate my soul like a poem, or a Bible verse, and hit my skin like the burning rays of the sun. You are a force of nature.

Your moods remind me of the sky. Their distance assuages my shyness, but my shyness is a curse. Contained by thoughts rarely voiced: a head full of dialogues with no place to go. No warmth. No touch. Going solo. Lying about the benefits of being alone. Aching inside like a victim or the bearer of a terminal disease. Praying for a conversation with another human being. But I am thwarted by my own silence; my own shyness: to be shy is a curse, but you sing and dance, and smile a laugh. You are like an earthquake, shaking your world. You are a force of nature.


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

The Daily Trope is available on Amazon in paperback under the title of The Book of Tropes for $9.95. It is also available in Kindle format for $5.99.

Colon

Colon (ko’-lon): Roughly equivalent to “clause” in English, except that the emphasis is on seeing this part of a sentence as needing completion, either with a second colon (or membrum) or with two others (forming a tricolon). When cola (or membra) are of equal length, they form isocolon.


Time populates the future with expectations (including dread).

Time pictures the past with memories (including failures).

Time frames the present with surprise (including accidents).

Only nothing is timeless. Everything else is temporal.

We hope. We fear. We wait.

We remember. We forget. We regret.

From time to time, we are bearers of adjectives and attributions that we can’t leave behind, that carry us into the future and, in the end, are written into our epitaphs for better and for worse.


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

The Daily Trope is available on Amazon in paperback under the title of The Book of Tropes for $9.95. It is also available in Kindle format for $5.99.

Comparatio

Comparatio (com-pa-ra’-ti-o): A general term for a comparison, either as a figure of speech or as an argument. More specific terms are generally employed, such as metaphor, simile, allegory, etc.


You are like a bullet fired in the air on New Years Eve. Do I have to elaborate on the comparison and tell you that you’re reckless, and that your recklessness wreaks havoc on our life and times together? You turn family celebrations into times for us to take cover from your insults and dangerous behavior.

Last night, which you don’t remember, you ruined your sister’s birthday by getting drunk, sitting on her cake with candles burning, and singing an obscene version of “Happy Birthday.” And then, your gift to her: a Frederick’s of Hollywood crotchless nightie. It was not funny.

As far as our family goes, you are like a dog poop in the middle of a flower garden.

It is time for you to grow up. Stop being an asshole. Start being a brother. We will forgive you when you go to rehab and become yourself again. We miss you. We don’t know what happened, but we all want the old Teddy back again.


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

The Daily Trope is available on Amazon in paperback under the title of The Book of Tropes for $9.95. It is also available in Kindle format for $5.99.

Comprobatio

Comprobatio (com-pro-ba’-ti-o): Approving and commending a virtue, especially in the hearers.


There is lead. There is silver. There is gold. But platinum is more precious than all three put together. It endures. It is useful—from jewelry to dental implants. It is valuable: today it is $1,030.00 per ounce. This is why we’ve named our annual award for excellence “The Platinum Prism Award” after platinum’s many praiseworthy facets.

It is never easy to choose the Award’s recipient. As you know, to make the decision, we placed a judge in each of the seven finalists’ homes. They observed the finalists. They made mischief. They threatened them. They walked around the house naked. They let the air out of the finalists’ car tires. They didn’t remove their shoes when entering the finalists’ houses. And more.

We all know the “Platinum Prism Award” comes with a $2,000,000 cash prize. For this amount of money, people will do just about anything. This year’s winner did just that! I am pleased and humbled to introduce this year’s recipient of “The Platinum Prism Award,” Ciggy Butler. Mr. Butler works on Line B, assembling key rings. You’ll notice he is wearing an eye patch. Simply because he was asked to, Mr Butler donated his eye to a medical facility somewhere in Asia. Bravo Mr. Butler! Bravo! Bravo! Bravo!

Mr. Butler is one of us! His diligence and devotion to duty are instilled in all of us. Nevertheless, Ciggy went the extra quarter-mile. We should all aspire to go the extra quarter-mile, and that aspiration itself is praiseworthy: it’s platinum. We are all platinum!

Mr. Butler, would you like to say a few words?

Mr. Butler: Yes. When do I get the cash prize?


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

The Daily Trope is available on Amazon in paperback under the title of The Book of Tropes for $9.95. It is also available in Kindle format for $5.99.

Conduplicatio

Conduplicatio (con-du-pli-ca’-ti-o): The repetition of a word or words. A general term for repetition sometimes carrying the more specific meaning of repetition of words in adjacent phrases or clauses. Sometimes used to name either ploce or epizeuxis.


Ho! Ho! Ho!

Was that Santa laughing, or was it my cousin Carl doing his counting prostitutes joke? How would you know? Actually it was Carl imitating Santa as a lead-in to his counting prostitutes joke. I wish I could disown him somehow. Whenever he comes around, it’s trouble, trouble, trouble. Last week he came over with a “rare fish” to sell. He claimed it came from a disappearing lake in Africa, and after the lake dried up, this fish he was selling would become rare and extremely valuable. Just as I was about to tell Carl that the fish looked like a plain old goldfish, there was a banging on the door and what sounded like Carl’s daughter Mary yelling “Daddy, daddy, daddy!”

In a flash, I figured Carl had taken Mary’s pet goldfish Bubbles and was trying to pawn it off as a rare endangered species so he could get more money for it, and maybe, pay one of his many debts—debts ranging from gambling to monthly payments on his mob-provided Polo wardrobe. Carl thought I was a super chump, and, in a way, I was.

Crying, Mary hugged the fish bowl. I was afraid her tears would make the water too salty for Bubbles. I asked Carl, “How much is the fish?” He said, “$150.00.” I paid the 150 and told Mary she could take Bubbles back home. She lived across the street, so I was sure she could handle it. She left, smiling and hugging the sloshing fishbowl.

After Mary left, Carl thanked me and I punched him in the stomach. As he lay there on the kitchen floor squirming in pain, I yelled, “If I wasn’t such a super chump, I’d stomp you. Give the 150 to Mary as soon as you get home, or somebody will find your foot sticking out of a landfill.”


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

The Daily Trope is available on Amazon in paperback under the title of The Book of Tropes for $9.95. It is also available in Kindle format for $5.99.

Congeries

Congeries (con’ger-eez): Piling up words of differing meaning but for a similar emotional effect [(akin to climax)].


Dizziness. Flatulence. Itching. Constipation. I’m not Santa Claus. I’m not Mick Jagger. I’m not Ward Bond (he’s dead). I am just an old man with the usual maladies. I watch TV day and night and wait for the phone to ring. It’s either going to be the Angel of Death or another damn bill collector. My kids never call me. My car was impounded by the state police because I had been ticketed 12 times for driving 25 “or less” on the freeway.

My Social Security check covers my rent, five cans of tuna, five cans of beans, one gallon of milk, 2 boxes of Fruit Loops, one loaf of day-old bread, and one bottle of Bakon Vodka per month. I dropped out of Meals on Wheels because the volunteer delivery lady wanted to have conversations and asked too many questions.

My wife got our whole nest egg when she divorced me—she found out I had an “extra” child with our cleaning lady and that was enough to win her the whole enchilada, which was substantial.

Pain. Anxiety. Emptiness. Anger. Sorrow. These are my golden years: the sun is setting over the pile of shit my life has become.


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

The Daily Trope is available on Amazon in paperback under the title of The Book of Tropes for $9.95. It is also available in Kindle format for $5.99.

Consonance

Consonance: The repetition of consonants in words stressed in the same place (but whose vowels differ). Also, a kind of inverted alliteration, in which final consonants, rather than initial or medial ones, repeat in nearby words. Consonance is more properly a term associated with modern poetics than with historical rhetorical terminology.


He lives by his wits. His head is a nest of nits. He resists taking showers. He thinks they waste his precious hours. Accordingly, he smells like a stool, and he actually thinks that’s very cool. He lives a shabby immoral life. Right now, he’s probably thinking about stealing your wife. Fat chance you say. But did you see who he was with yesterday?

Marjorie Greene!

Together, they made the scene. They went rat hunting at the Baltimore City Dump. He was packing a .12 gauge pump. Marjorie had an AR-15, a Glock, and a Ruger .357. She was clearly in Heaven. Her eyes were glazed. Her face was slack like she was a little dazed.

Then, she fired at a rat, what she called a stand-in for a Democrat. The rat ran away unscathed. That’s how those ‘Democrat’ rats always behaved.

Oh! You may be wondering: “Who was the smelly, immoral man with head lice?” I am not permitted by the government agency I work for to tell you. However, I can give you a hint. His first name rhymes with “weave” and his last name rhymes with “canon.”

Please do not try to contact me.


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

The Daily Trope is available on Amazon in paperback under the title of The Book of Tropes for $9.95. It is also available in Kindle format for $5.99.

Correctio

Correctio (cor-rec’-ti-o): The amending of a term or phrase just employed; or, a further specifying of meaning, especially by indicating what something is not (which may occur either before or after the term or phrase used). A kind of redefinition, often employed as a parenthesis (an interruption) or as a climax.


You are not easy. You are a challenge (like a flat tire on deserted road, on a moonless night somewhere on the outskirts of Mogadishu). I’m not saying I am sick of you or that I can’t handle you—you just give me a headache—like the one I get from doing the taxes.

Here’s a good example of how you’re a challenge: painting the house trim pink while I was on a business trip. It presented a challenge in so many ways. I don’t have time to recount how I felt, or what I thought, but it was loaded—no, overflowing—with challenges.

But on the other hand, you’re really creative (You can make something out of nothing). The eucalyptus wreaths and picture frames you make and sell at the farmers market are clever and take a lot of skill to assemble, and when you add a couple eucalyptus nuts hanging on a ribbon, no wonder they sell out every Thursday. I think you should set your price higher though, $2.00 is way too cheap. I think you should ask for $10.00.

Anyway, you’re my daughter. I love all of you: the challenge and, of course, the creativity. Mama’s been gone for three months. We’re both lost in space. Let’s just be ourselves, no matter the longing, which isn’t a sign of weakness: it’s a sign of our love for Mama and that’s a good thing. Next Tuesday you turn 16. Let’s go to the sushi place we love. Do you want to bring along the picture of Mama wearing one of your necklaces, or is that too corny?


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

The Daily Trope is available on Amazon in paperback under the title of The Book of Tropes for $9.95. It is also available in Kindle format for $5.99.

Deesis

Deesis (de’-e-sis): An adjuration (solemn oath) or calling to witness; or, the vehement expression of desire put in terms of “for someone’s sake” or “for God’s sake.”


A: I swear to God I’ll love you forever.

B: You’re an atheist. How can you swear to God? It’s like me swearing to Horus that I’ll never cheat on you! You’re such a fake. You might as well swear to Dolos, the Greek god of lying!

A: ok, ok, you’re right. I wasn’t thinking—force of habit. The “swear to God” thing has been a mark of sincerity for me ever since I learned it from my neighbor Eddie when I was a kid. He was a huge liar, and said “I swear to God” almost every time he spoke. For some reason it stuck with me, and even though I’ve rejected God, I still use it from time to time. It just pops out.

This is what I meant: I swear I’ll love you forever. There, no God, just me. For our sake and the sake of our child, you’ve got believe my love is manifest in every thing I do—from telling jokes, to paying the bills, to sitting with my arms around you and Bonnie watching the colored flames in the fireplace at Christmas time.

B: Oh honey, that’s sweet. I’ll love you forever too. I’m sorry I doubted your sincerity.

A: I swear to God I’ll never swear to God again. Ha ha! Just kidding. We’ve been married for fifteen years and we still hold hands when we walk through the mall. That’s a sure sign of our love’s endurance. We don’t need promises to make our love true.

B: And that’s a promise? Ha ha! Just kidding. Let’s you, me, and Bonnie go out to Sammy’s Salmon Ladder and have some fun. I love the pounded Salmon on mashed potatoes with seaweed salad and fries. I know how much you and Bonnie like the skin-on teriyaki Salmon on a stick with sliced turnip, a 6 oz. slab of smoked bacon, and 2 vegetarian Slim Jims for chopsticks.

Let’s go! Who are you messaging on your phone?


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

The Daily Trope is available on Amazon in paperback under the title of The Book of Tropes for $9.95. It is also available in Kindle format for $5.99.

Dehortatio

Dehortatio (de-hor-ta’-ti-o): Dissuasion.


So, you want be a star. Forgive me for being blunt. Sometimes it’s the only way to move people in the right direction who are stubborn and unyielding. I could probably get ten other people in the room who would say what I’m about to say. You probably would tell them all to take a flying “F” with your deeply irritating self-righteous little comeback speech: “You’ll never know what it takes, because you don’t have it. I’ve been struggling against small-minded people like you for years—I am noble, I am an artist, I will prevail.”

But you forget that the only acting part you’ve had was a silent gum ball machine in some crazy off, off, off Broadway musical about poisoned hamburgers: “Ptomaine Station.” My God, if you didn’t have Herby Gorpit propping you up—paying your bills—food, rent, car—you would have made the right decision years ago.

Again, I’m sorry for being so blunt, but if you don’t get out of the acting racket soon, it’ll be too late. Herby’s going to drop you in a couple years—he has a wife and kids for God’s sake.

So, here it is: You can’t sing. You can’t dance. You can’t remember your lines. Admit it. You’re not made for a career in acting. Drop the fantasy and let it go. I can help you find a decent job in retail or finance. Or you could drive for Uber! Ha ha. Although you’ve hardly ever noticed me, I’ve been standing by since college.

Please do’t be mad at me. I care about you and feel obligated to tell you the truth, no matter how far it diverges from your hopes.

Please, back away from the window. Everything’s going to be ok.


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

The Daily Trope is available on Amazon in paperback under the title of The Book of Tropes for $9.95. It is also available in Kindle format for $5.99.

Dendrographia

Dendrographia (den-dro-graf’-ia): Creating an illusion of reality through vivid description of a tree.


Here we go again. The one-hundred year old oak is a pain in the ass—especially in autumn. It’s probably at least fifty feet tall and three feet in diameter. On average it probably grew about six inches per year. It’s bark is nearly black with a tinge of light grey and some gray-green lichens attached to it. At its base is a little hollowed-out arch where I sometimes see a Chipmunk peering out when I ride by on my mower.

But, the hell of the oak tree is it’s leaves: turning reddish brown and falling off the tree by the friggin’ truckload: it’s a leaf storm that lasts about two weeks. I call it Fall Flutter Down. Cleaning up the fallen leaves is a family affair: three rakes, one tarp, one whining teenager with “better things to do.” We load the tarp over and over, and drag it to the curb and dump it over and over. The city has a giant vacuum cleaner to suck up the leaves.

Raking leaves is a pain in the ass with no redeeming value, except, I guess, getting it done and keeping the family intact while doing so.

In November, the acorns start falling and a pack of gray squirrels shows up to bark and chatter and eat, carry, and bury the nuts all over the yard. All winter, they’re out in the yard digging them up, and pooping and peeing on the fresh fallen snow, giving the front yard the look of a wildlife restroom. Some of the buried acorns sprout and I enjoy mowing over them in Spring as a kind revenge.

Now the old oak tree is undressed: branches naked, acorns on the ground, it casts shadows that move in the wind of Autumn’s final weeks. The squirrel’s nests are revealed now. There will be babies born, and I must admit I enjoy watching the little ones play on the tree and front lawn.

In a red sunset the tree’s shadows seem alive or maybe like the soul of the old tree caressing the earth—the home of its roots and womb of its birth.


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

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Diacope

Diacope (di-a’-co-pee): Repetition of a word with one or more between, usually to express deep feeling.


Hope? What crap. Hope? You want to know what hope is? It’s an empty fantasy with no foundation. I hoped for rain and none came. I hoped to win the lottery. I never have. I hoped to meet a partner, settle down, and get married. I never did. I waited and waited, and my hopes were never fulfilled. Now, I hope you’ll go away. I’m sick and tired of your naive embrace of all the cliches—la ti da—the cliches that do more harm than good: that try to soften life’s ultimate misery with toy little ponies, fake rainbows, glass slippers, and everybody living happily ever after.

Do I look like I’m living happily ever after, or a patient, patiently waiting to check out of this shit show? Do you know what—you little troll—what I want more than anything? What I hope for? Morphine dripping into my vein. Killing the pain. Killing the past. Killing my desire. Calming my consciousness.

I don’t care if you’re my cousin. Go home. It hasn’t been nice seeing you. Oh—make sure to stay away. Goodbye.

Don’t let the doctor slap you on the ass on your way out.


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

The Daily Trope is available on Amazon in paperback under the title of The Book of Tropes for $9.95. It is also available in Kindle format for $5.99.

Dialogismus

Dialogismus (di-a-lo-giz’-mus): Speaking as someone else, either to bring in others’ points of view into one’s own speech, or to conduct a pseudo-dialog through taking up an opposing position with oneself.


Me 1 as me: He is inconsiderate, not to mention, rude, intellectually challenged and inarticulate.

Me 2 as him: You doo doo poo poo.

Me 1 as me: This is what it’s like debating and deliberating with him. It’s like a three-year-old got elected to the Senate by a gang of rogue nannies. But, you disagree.

Me 2 as him: You are a cross-eyed farty pants. Nah Nah!

Me 1 as me: That’s it. That’s all it ever is. We need to turn our backs on this idiot, hoping he will crawl back to his playpen in Idaho.


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

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Dianoea

Dianoea (di-a-noe’-a): The use of animated questions and answers in developing an argument (sometimes simply the equivalent of anthypophora).


It’s never too late. What the hell does that mean? Grandma’s dead and I never told her I loved her.

So what?

I didn’t have to say it.

It’s what I did. I bought her a new bedpan when she was in the nursing home. I paid back most of the money I borrowed from her. I sold her dog and made some extra money for her. I bought her a nice used walker. Jeez, I paid for her cremation even! So what if she was already dead when she was turned to ashes—she watched from heaven. Right?

Did I do enough? Did I care more than anybody? Did I give more than anybody? Is my conscience clear? Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes.

I’m off the hook—free and clear—out of the red—rising like a Phoenix. It’s time to go to the reading of Grandma’s will. I’m glad we were able to make some minor deathbed revisions a couple of hours before she died.

Am I a soulless crook? No! I am deserving—deserving of everything!

Hans Christian Anderson wrote: “Death walks faster than the wind and never returns what he has taken.” Grandma had a lot of wind in her final hours, but Death was faster. Now, let’s find out what she left me (I already know).


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

A print edition of The Daily Trope is available from Amazon for $9.95. A Kindle edition is available for $5.99.

Diaphora

Diaphora (di-a’-pho-ra): Repetition of a common name so as to perform two logical functions: to designate an individual and to signify the qualities connoted by that individual’s name or title.


Hey Don, you’re the boss, right? Should I call you Don Don, or just Don? Are you cutting a low profile? Is it still about rallying? The crowds are thinning like your hair. You can’t seem to grab a headline beyond the insurrection you orchestrated. Your minions are getting probation or going to jail. Rudy’s still pulling for you, but the hair dye dripping from his chin is distracting. Putin won’t give you the time of day. The Proud Bois are still proud to stand behind you. Maybe they should simply stand by. Social Security’s getting a 5% bump. You better say “bye bye” to the over-65 crowd.

Hey—maybe we should start calling you RICO. “Don Rico” has an ominous, yet poetic, ring to it. We all know where you’re headed Don Rico, and it isn’t going to be fun. Remember, you’re solely to blame for everything that happened—from the contracts on the border cages to your Belarusian fixers.

Shivs are more or less dull and painful, and they can’t be avoided by rats. Remember your Omertà Don Rico. If we hear squealing noises coming from your testimony, you’ll be lubricated.


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

A print edition of The Daily Trope is available from Amazon for $9.95. A Kindle edition is also available for $5.99.

Diaporesis

Diaporesis: Deliberating with oneself as though in doubt over some matter; asking oneself (or rhetorically asking one’s hearers) what is the best or appropriate way to approach something [=aporia].


To bee or not to bee? It’s a honey of a question. Would it be sweet? Would I get stung and lose my investment? Would I just be buzzing around, wasting my time? Or, would I collect a mountain of pollen and live like a Queen?

Questions, questions, questions. How many questions do you have to ask before you can decide? How many questions do you have to ask before you seem indecisive?

Decisions are about the future. The future does not exist. Decisions are driven by hope and fear—one person’s hope is another person’s fear, and the other way around. What a bummer. I think I’ll just flip a coin and let fate decide. Heads I bee, tails I bee not.

Damn! I don’t have any coins. I think I’ll ask some beekeepers what they think.


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

The Daily Trope is available on Amazon in paperback under the title of The Book of Tropes for $9.95. It is also available in Kindle format for $5.99.

Diaskeue

Diaskeue (di-as-keu’-ee): Graphic peristasis (description of circumstances) intended to arouse the emotions.


It was 96 Fahrenheit. I was standing in front of the airport terminal in Manila, waiting for a bus. I had just arrived from northern New York where it was the middle of winter and 15 Fahrenheit when I left. I should’ve been wearing shorts and a T-shirt, but I was wearing a suit and a heavy woolen overcoat. I had one suitcase, a carry-on bag, and a briefcase with nothing in it. I took off my overcoat and laid it on top of my luggage.

A raggedy-looking teenage boy ran by and grabbed my coat and briefcase. I needed to cut a low profile, so I kept my mouth shut and watched my stuff disappear down the sidewalk. That’s when I realized, when I paid for my entry visa, I had put my wallet into my coat pocket—my credit cards, my cash, my passport. My cellphone was in my other coat pocket. This was truly bad. Thank God I had my bus ticket.

The bus arrived at my stop near my hotel after over an hour of stop and go through Manila’s jammed traffic. I walked into the lobby and up to the main desk. I told the guy behind the desk my name. He asked to see my passport. I knew a saga was brewing. I thought for a minute and did what the situation called for. I took off my suit coat, rolled up my sleeve, and showed the deskman the tattoo on my left forearm. Given how the plane and hotel reservations were made, and paid for, I figured he might be part of the story, recognize the tattoo, and give me a break. He did more than give me a break. He put me in the Presidential Suite. He must’ve known why I was there. I called my contact and he told me his crew had already caught “the little miscreant” who had stolen my coat and briefcase and that he had been properly disciplined. I was not surprised—the people I work with have networks as deep as the Mariana Trench.

I had the maps, the photographs, and specifications in my suitcase. It was time to go to work.


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

Print and e-editions of The Daily Trope are available from Amazon under the title The Book of Tropes.