Not Ambrose Bierce
Ambrose Bierce, Civil War veteran, journalist extraordinaire and prolific writer, is (in)famous for his Devil’s Dictionary. He wrote satirical definitions for the Hearst papers each week. These eventually grew into the book. One of my favorites is :
“Witch, n. (1) An ugly and repulsive old woman, in a wicked league with the devil. (2) A beautiful and attractive young woman, in wickedness a league beyond the devil. ”
He also invented histories, songs and poems for his definitions. The book is a mean spirited great time. Since imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, I have added my own inventions, below.
Aardvark, n. An ark made by a firm competing with Noah and God Inc. They added two a’s to the front to appear first in the yellow pages. Then God made Google to punish them.
Alter ego, n. A person who has had a sex change operation.
Ante pasta, n. Unstable compound which explodes in the presence of pasta resulting in total annihilation of both materials.
Apparatchik, n. A baby parrot. Cute and cuddly at first they often grow fat, gray and reactionary. (see communism)
Apple, n. (1) A fruit. According to legend it was gifted by Satan to Eve, who regifted it to Adam, thereby causing the Fall of Man. (Although women didn’t do too well either.) (2) A computer company that has produced a set of ingenious devices to distract man and stop him from thinking for himself, thereby causing the fall of man. (Women aren’t doing too well either.)
Ass, n. The only part of the human anatomy that always knows what it is doing. Because of this easy confidence people employ it for most decisions.
Black hole, n. (1) A theoretical astrophysical concept where matter is crushed by its own gravity into a space without space, and a time without time. The exact details of how this works haven’t been worked out yet. (2) Most jobs. (see corporation)
Bureaucracy, n. An organizational structure designed to ensure stability by guaranteeing that nothing ever happens.
Carapace, n. Exoskeleton (see husband)
Cockroach, n. (old Sanskrit) In the Buddhist religion the highest level of reincarnation, reached only by truly actualized masters after an eternity of work and experience, where one is omniscient, omnipotent, omnipresent, and immortal.
Condom, n. Small (sometimes exceedingly small) holding ruled by a head of state so often caught in dissembling that it gained the sobriquet ‘con’.
Corporation, n. An unliving yet immortal parasitic entity which sucks the soul out of anything it touches. Its original activities were confined to railroads and religion, but it has metastasized into health care, education, government and almost every aspect of human existence. It hypnotizes its prey into believing that the goods and services it produces are essential, until it destroys the existing order in favor of its new matrix. Resistance is futile.
Communism, n. A political system without money which oddly went bankrupt.
Dangling participle, n. A lure made to attract small mammals into a trap. (see gerund)
Death, n. The last act of life. Invariably represented as male in the arts, it is the only archetype that lives up (sorry) to its reputation, being truly omnipotent and omnipresent.
Democrat, n. A corporate sponsored politico nominally opposed to the Satanic Elephant as they both gorge at the same trough.
Devil, n. Other than the dog, man’s best friend, tirelessly working to help man get what he really wants, and therefore assuring that he gets what he actually deserves. Due to this helpful quirk in his nature, he was cast down from heaven (which is boring anyway) and has been given blame for every bad thing that has ever happened. In his modesty he denies these allegations, feeling one should really give credit where credit is due. (see messiah)
Diplomacy, n. (1) If successful a method of letting someone else get your way. (2) If unsuccessful a stalling tactic used while the knives are sharpened.
Divorce, n. A ceremony where one and sometimes both participants are divested of their property. (see marriage)
Dissent, n. What happens to you when you do.
Doppelganger, n. (old German) A sack to hold plum bobs.
Empire, n. A venerable political structure used by people with more resources to stay that way. It can take many forms and Russia has been all of them.
Evangelist, n. A criminal who preys upon the weak by promising them things in the next world that he cannot possibly deliver, and wouldn’t if he could. (see politician)
Evening, n. the time of day when sensible people get up.
Fender, n. Part of a car used to feel other cars.
Gentrification, v. A process by which a neighborhood is transmogrified from a den of winos, muggers and good cheap restaurants to one of whiners, lawyers and artisanal cupcake manufactories. For the price of dinner in the former you can purchase a cupcake in the latter.
Gerund , n. A small burrowing mammal. Considered a pest by gardeners because of its ability to clean out an entire participle patch in an afternoon.
Hair bun, n. Style by which the hair is pulled back to a knot, popular with ballerinas on whom it looks great because that is the last thing anyone is looking at, and with hipsters on whom it looks atrocious, but no more atrocious then any of their other style choices. (see gentrification)
Hindsight, n. That with which we all see 20/20.
Husband, n. What remains of the boyfriend after pithing.
Idiot, n. Everybody in the room except you. (Of course they think the same thing.)
Independent, n. Someone who trades the hypocrisy of the political mainstream for a course of action with no outcome at all.
Inebriated, n. A euphoric state where all truths are revealed.
Leaf blower, n. A mechanical rake designed to move leaves from your lawn to your neighbor’s lawn with as much noise as possible.
Libertarian, n. A person who believes laws should be formulated on the basis that people will act responsibly and reasonably. That’s not even a joke that’s really what they think.
Long Island Expressway, n. A parking structure where people go to sit in their cars and listen to music. Colloquially known as the big LIE.
Marriage, n. A financial contract thought up by the church and state to provide economic stability in exchange for personal freedom with dire penalties for doing in the words of Mark Twain, “The most natural thing in the world.” Curiously, homosexuals wanted in on this peculiar institution and fought long and hard to put their necks in the same noose that heterosexuals have been swinging in for millennia. (see divorce)
Messiah, n. A very popular, though elusive, fellow. He is always being invoked to fix everything in someone’s life, thereby saving them the trouble of doing it themselves. His reputation has been damaged in recent years due to some very high profile cases of politicians, TV evangelists, and other criminals declaring to have “found him,” as if he had been hiding behind the couch the whole time. His overall popularity still has a lot of staying power since he is given credit for every good thing that ever happens, and, craving attention, he does nothing to correct this mistake.
Metropolitan Torture Authority (MTA), n. A branch of the government that packs people into big metal boxes that purportedly run on rails. Then it runs them off the rails and sets them on fire, charging people for the privilege. Based on the number of people abused – two million a day, and the amount of time they spend in this activity (an hour each way), that’s four million man hours of torture per day. The Circuitous Ignoble Agency (CIA) could learn a few things.
Microwave, n. A hairdryer for the uninformed.
Occupation, n. Fancy name for job. To be avoided.
Optimist, n. Person whose optics are obscured by a happy mist. (see pessimist)
Pedestrian, n. a target. There is a complicated rating system involved in this: Do they have a walker? A seeing eye dog? Are they in the crosswalk? While it would seem a no brainer that the elderly are the biggest target it turns out they are the biggest perpetrator. The number one city for pedestrian fatalities per capita is Fort Lauderdale, Fl, where a perfect storm of drunken college kids on spring break, night blindness, powder blue Ford Ltd’s and late night (6PM) runs to the pharmacy result in scenes that Quentin Tarantino can only dream of.
Pessimist, n. Person who is nearly always right. Has few friends. (see optimist)
Politician, n. A criminal who preys upon the weak by promising them things in this world that he can’t possibly deliver, and wouldn’t if he could. (See evangelist.)
Porcupine, n. (Etruscan) Pig tree. Known for its prickly personality. Not a good source of bacon.
Predestination, n. The belief that you can arrive someplace before you leave for it.
Pretense, n. That which makes the world go around.
Prevaricator, n. Person who signals left then turns right. (see idiot)
Psychologist, n. A person who puts his experience of being messed up to good use in the guidance of others.
Real estate, n. Evidence that it is really hard to share.
Reality TV, n. Paying for the privilege of what you used to get for free looking out the window. Necessitated by the invention of suburbs.
Republican, n. A corporate sponsored self-satisfied sanctimonious sap whose principle responsibility is to distract the populace with a dog and pony show while they are impoverished by his masters.
Rhythm method, n. A schedule whereby practitioners attempt to avoid conception by having intercourse only five days a month, reserving the other twenty-five days for cold showers and fighting. Due to its famous unreliability and the denomination of its practitioners it is popularly known as Catholic Roulette.
Self-exculpatory, n. When you have to do your own nails.
Scientology, n. A perfected mythology system, being entirely impervious to logic, reason or sanity.
Starbuck, n. (1) A character in a novel about a hunt for a great white whale written by a dead white male. Starbuck was first mate to Captain Ahab who questioned his masters’ motives as trespassing on the will of God. (2) A corporate empire based on people’s obsession with choice – and diabetes. On every other block you can practice fake French while ordering a grande decaf toasted white chocolate mocha frappuchino avec a caramel brulee topping. According to the menu sipping one feels like a big, warm hug. It would be a somewhat sticky hug. Captain Ahab says, “From Hell’s heart I stab at thee! For hate’s sake I spit out my last breath at thee!”
Tardigrade, n. What you get if you don’t complete your assignments on time.
Teacher, n. A person marking time until something better comes along. Time as in lifetime.
Thesaurus, n. Large reptile that went extinct at the end of the flirtatious era. Worshipped by pagans as a fertility god.
Tintinnabulation, n. The sound produced as a toddler works her way through a cabinet full of pots and pans.
Trump, v. (1) To beat at cards. (2) To browbeat a whole nation. (3) To damage on a planetary scale. (4) Evidence that one’s heart is trully the size of one’s fist.
Vituperative, v. A process of law where two opposing parties are ground to a fine dust. Not to be confused with the distributive process which is what happens to the money.
Zoology, n. The study of Zulus.