A paraprosdokian is when the latter part of a sentence or expression doesn't match what would be expected from the first part of the sentence or expression in a way that makes you rethink what is actually being said. Here are some examples:
- The last thing I want to do is hurt you. But it's still on the list.
- If I agreed with you, we'd both be wrong.
- I want to die peacefully in my sleep, like my grandfather, not screaming and yelling like the passengers in his car.
- And this might be my all-time favourite. I didn't say it was your fault; I said I was blaming you.
While I was having a fun half hour Googling paraprosdokians (having a name to put to something can be very useful), I was reminded of some witty sayings used by some friends of mine. These friends have, like us, adopted several children each. One of the things you quickly learn when you adopt is some people seem to feel they have a right to know the life history of the child you have adopted. Most adoptive parents are happy to share the story of their adoption journey, especially with others who are considering adoption themselves. But giving details about their adopted child's birth family and circumstances are Out Of Bounds.
When I would be confronted with this kind of thing I would just stammer incoherently and try to change the subject. One friend of mine was much quicker verbally than me, and when people would cross the line he would smile, look them in the eyes and say, "No thanks, I just had a banana." Twenty years later that zinger still makes me smile.
Another friend has four girls of varying skin tone. She was approached multiple times by people demanding to know if "those girls" all had the same father. The implication was my friend was... well, I can't come up with a blog friendly term, but I'm sure you get the idea. The first couple of times it happened she would, through gritted teeth, explain that her daughters were all adopted. One day she had had enough. When the question was asked she gave what was technically speaking an honest answer, and she stuck with that answer every time she was asked the question after that. With a straight face she would look the person in the eyes and calmly reply, "No, they all have different fathers."
I hate to have a post without a picture, so here goes. My latest knitting project.
It's a foot. More body parts to come...