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.


advantage  What’s that behind you?


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.


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


first man out  Got the memo.

friends  What you have when you have.


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.


propaganda  What he said about what I said.


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.


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

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