Paraprosdokians

Someone forwarded me a list of paraprosdokians this morning. I’ve heard a few of these witty aphorisms before, but never knew what they were called. From Wikipedia

A paraprosdokian (“para pros DOE kee un,” I think) is a figure of speech in which the latter part of a sentence or phrase is surprising or unexpected in a way that causes the reader or listener to reframe or reinterpret the first part.

Sounds like a concept that fits nicely with my Jerk Theory…but that’s a discussion for another post.

Many of these sound like Bob Littlefield’s Rules of Scottsdale City Government I posted a while back. I was going to pick out one or two of these and write a humorous post to apply to our City Council. However, more than a few of them apply. So I’ll just list a dozen of the most applicable:

  1. Do not argue with an idiot. He will drag you down to his level and beat you with experience.
  2. Light travels faster than sound. This is why some people appear bright until you hear them speak.
  3. If I agreed with you, we’d both be wrong.
  4. We never really grow up, we only learn how to act in public.
  5. I thought I wanted a career. Turns out I just wanted paychecks.
  6. I didn’t say it was your fault, I said I was blaming you.
  7. A clear conscience is the sign of a fuzzy memory.

    Will Rogers
  8. I asked God for a bike, but I know God doesn’t work that way. So I stole a bike and asked for forgiveness.
  9. I used to be indecisive. Now I’m not so sure.
  10. You’re never too old to learn something stupid.
  11. To be sure of hitting the target, shoot first and call whatever you hit the target.
  12. A diplomat is someone who tells you to go to hell in such a way that you look forward to the trip.

Sam West sent one out yesterday that also applies nicely. It’s a quote from Will Rogers:

Never miss a good chance to shut up.

And a final favorite for restoring perspective after City Council meetings:

I always take life with a grain of salt. Plus a slice of lemon, and a shot of tequila.

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