Wisdom, Vol. I: With apologies to Ambrose Bierce

PORTSMOUTH, Va. – With apologies to Ambrose Bierce, here is one of my favorite exercises — attempts to emulate entries in The Devil’s Dictionary. Feel free to add entries to the comments either below or at this permanent link. I wrote these this morning before I got to my other writing.

A

advantage  What’s that behind you?

B

bargain  1. In a seller’s market, the cost of business done to the buyer. 2. In a buyer’s market, theft.

beehive  Upon feeling the sting of Cupid’s arrow, that into which one inserts her hand.

C

conscience  1. A rarity discovered later. 2. The chief byproduct of scrutiny.

F

first man out  Got the memo.

friends  What you have when you have.

L

last man out  When you come to, do get the lights.

last man standing  The mathematical term denoting the relationship between three men and two chairs.

P

propaganda  What he said about what I said.

R

revolution  Deck chairs don’t rearrange themselves.

rhetoric  1. The use of language toward your end. 2. After Quintilian, a good man speaking well enough.

S

second man out  Caught on when the first man hurdled him.

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