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Do you know what paraprosdokians are?  Paraprosdokians, as I recently learned, are figures of speech in which the latter part of a sentence or phrase is surprising or unexpected.

I now realize that the message on a birthday card I have on the bulletin board above my desk at work is a paraprosdokian. “It’s not the years in your life that counts,” it reads.  “It’s the life in your years.” 

Here are some more:

 1.  The last thing I want to do is hurt you.  But it’s still on my list.

 2.  If I’d agree with you, we’d both be wrong.

 3.  Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit.  Wisdom is not putting it into a fruit salad.

Some paraprosdokians are more relevant for us 70-somethings, such as

 1. Nostalgia isn’t what it used to be.

 2.  Getting old is no problem.  You just have to live long enough.

 3.   I’m supposed to respect my elders, but it’s getting harder and harder for me to find one now.

At the end of the day,  “Growing old is tough; not growing old is worse.”




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