No. 846



One thing I never like to hear is someone calling another person an idiot. According to the dictionary, the word “idiot” means “A person exhibiting mental deficiency in the most severe form.” I am just not comfortable with this word because it has a way of demeaning others, and I never want to put anyone else down because we are all created in God’s image. Besides, what is one man’s trash is another’s treasure. I used the word idiot in the title of this column because a friend sent me something that had an unusual twist, and it seemed to be the perfect way to introduce you to a new word, at least for me, that was most interesting. The word is Paraprosdokian.
While you may be ahead of me here, I believe most people would say, “What is a Paraprosdokian?” In simple language, it is a sentence that consists of two parts. The first part is a figure of speech, and the second is an intriguing variation of the first. Paraprosdokians are little known by the general public, but well understood by satirists. These are used typically for humorous or dramatic effect. What follows is a list of some of the most common or widely used Paraprosdokians. It has been reported that Winston Churchill loved them. Here is one of his favorites. “Where there is a will, I want to be in it.” Of course the traditional saying would be “Where there is a will, there is a way.”
Now that you have the gist of the idea, let me continue with a number of others: First, here is the title line, “Do not argue with an idiot. He will drag you down to his level and beat you with experience.” “The last thing I want to do is hurt you. But, it is still on my list.” “Light travels faster than sound. This is why some people appear bright until you hear them speak.” “If I agreed with you, we would both be wrong.” “We never really grow up - we only learn how to act in public.” “War does not determine who is right – only who is left.” Knowledge is knowing that a tomato is a fruit and wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.”
I might pause here a moment and say that I hope this is expanding your mind a bit, I know it is mine. Here are several others and some you might be able to use in conversation or in your writing. Of course the key to success is knowing when and how to use them.
“Evening news is where they begin with ‘Good Evening’ and then proceed to tell you why it isn’t.” “To steal ideas from one person is plagiarism. To steal from many is research.” “A bus station is where a bus stops. A train station is where a train stops. On my desk I have a work station.”
“I thought I wanted a career. Turns out I just wanted paychecks.” “Whenever I fill out an application, in the part that says, ‘In case of emergency, notify’ I put a DOCTOR.” “I did not say it was your fault. I said I was blaming you.” “Women will never be equal to men until they can walk down the street with a bald head and a big gut, and still think they are sexy.” “Behind every successful man is a woman. Behind the fall of every successful man is usually another woman.” “A clear conscience is the sign of a fuzzy memory.” “You do not need a parachute to skydive. You only need a parachute to skydive twice.”
“Money can’t buy happiness, but it makes misery easier to live with.” “There is a fine line between cuddling and holding someone down so they can’t get away.” “You’re never too old to learn something stupid.” “Going to church doesn’t make you a Christian any more than standing in a garage makes you a car.”
Here is some straight talk. Have a great day.
(EDITOR'S NOTE: Jim Davidson is a public speaker and syndicated columnist. You may contact him at 2 Bentley Drive, Conway, AR 72034. To begin a bookcase literacy project visit You won’t go wrong helping a needy child.)