The Skeptik’s Lexicon

ABATTOIR, n. A slaughterhouse. An intermediate stage of the industrial meat trade, located somewhere between artificial insemination and coronary heart disease.

ASSIMILATE, v. To yield the better of oneself to the worse in others.

BANSHEE, n. In both Irish and Scottish mythology, a female spirit whose wail is said to herald the imminent demise of a family member, preferably one with money.

As a portent of death, the banshee is now attested to abroad (esp. Indochina, Chile, East Timor, Cyprus, Nicaragua, Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, and Syria), and manifests, not as a plaintive feminine howl, but, in the ghostly form of Henry Kissinger.

BEING, n. A state of gradual decay, incurable by pickling.

“Like porous pots of copper,”

Glum Descartes, to the tinker,

Said, “My theories hold no water.

How does this befit a thinker?

“Insipid is my method,

Untrue my bent perception,

And my logic’s iron reason

I find founded in deception.

 

“By God alloyed, my mettle,

Softened by the flame of doubt,

Becomes the image of this kettle

With its bottom melted out.

 

“And so untempered isness

Last permits a final twist;

I’m beside myself, distressed

That I myself may not exist!”

 

Here Descartes the smith espied,

Past a rondeau in his hand,

And gently rapping on its side

Rejoined, “I tink, therefore I am.”

Adamantius Clough

CELEBRITY, n. A chronic symptom in a civilization stricken by terminal decline.

DOCTOR, n. A professional healer who specializes in keeping his patients alive long enough to cure them of that contagious malady money.

ENEMY, n. A military contractor’s most valuable ally.

FLAGELLATE, v. (?)Beats me.

INFANCY, n. That period of early childhood containing the beginning, middle, and end stages of human emotional development.

INSURGENT, n. One who displays an appropriate respect for the august institution of imperialism.

Kaboom! went the bomb, splitting the night,

Shaking the outpost foundation—

Soldiers’ faces turned pale from fright,

Brows furrowed in consternation.

 

Soon came a voice through the public address,

“Stand firm and maintain your station.

It’s merely the sound of the dispossessed

Esteeming our occupation.”

Gen. Lee Knot

MÉNAGE À TROIS, n. A domestic and/or sexual relationship consisting of two people too many.

NARROW HOUSE, n. The grave—tenancy of which we continue to encourage throughout our various colonies.

ZYMURGY, n. The chemistry of fermentation, especially as it applies to the brewing of beer. The eighth art—without which the other seven would be intolerable.

Christopher Washburn, who once studied dactylic pentameter with Rod McKuen in a hot tub seminar at the Esalen Institute, is described by COINTELPRO as someone who is “inept,” “childish,” and “likely to sue.” He can be approached (“discretion advised”) through www.jobspotsherd.com.

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