Because it has been years since I have had any formal study, I’ve been treating myself to some self guided continuing education, including brushing up on literary terms, figures of speech and such. I came across one yesterday that I am not sure I ever learned in the first place.
Or perhaps I blocked it from my memory.
I am talking about the bdelygmia.
Ah, yes, you say. The old bdelygmia. Actually, if you watch cable news with any regularity, you could hear a commentator utter one in some form at least once a night, especially in the current political climate.
A bdelygmia (the b is silent) is a litany of abuse. It’s been described as the perfect rant, a series of explicit insults, if you will.
The 19th century English author and poet Edward Lear was said to have written that a “vile beastly rottenheaded foolbegotten brazenthroated pernicious piggish screaming, tearing, roaring, perplexing, splitmecrackle crashmecriggle insane ass of a woman is practicing howling below-stairs with a brute of a singingmaster so horribly, that my head is nearly off.”
As my tastes are a bit more pedestrian, I’d say my favorite bdelygmia comes from the movie Christmas Vacation, in which Clark Griswold, after being denied the Christmas bonus he was counting on, says this about his boss:
“I want to look him straight in the eye and I want to tell him what a cheap, lying, no-good, rotten, four-flushing, low-life, snake-licking, dirt-eating, inbred, overstuffed, ignorant, blood-sucking, dog-kissing, brainless, ****less, hopeless, heartless, fat-***, bug-eyed, stiff-legged, spotty-lipped, worm-headed sack of monkey **** he is. Hallelujah. Holy sh**. Where’s the Tylenol?”
Perhaps you have one of your own, festering in your head or sitting in your Drafts folder, awaiting a cooling off period. Feel free to share; just don’t aim it at anyone.