Oxymorons at Play.

The Perfect Oxymoron.

Beyond the classic definition of oxymoron, there may be at least two others in my never finished complete Dictionary of Words as We Phonetically Understand them. Take a look:

(1) Oxymoron. (noun) definitions: (1) any expression in words or placement of objects or combination of both that conveys a contradictory meaning; (2) the dumbest guy at Oxford; (3) anyone who fails to grasp the cleansing power of Oxydol soap after seventy years of its broad commercial exposure to one and all.

That first one was mine, but I can neither take nor offer credit for the rest of these items on the list below because they came to me via e-mail with a lot of beautiful graphics and no acknowledgement of authorship by a living or deceased soul. Some of these figures of speech have been around these parts for a very long time so I suspect that even this list is little more than a collection of “oxy-morons” from all those places on this electronic planet where jokes and whimsy pop up as often and surprisingly as those little life-energy lightning bugs of Pandora in the movie “Avatar”.

Here’s the Sunday Working Day of Rest List of All the Rest:

(2) Is it good if a vacuüm really sucks?

(3) Why is the third hand on the watch called the second-hand?

(4) If a word is misspelled in the dictionary, how would we ever know?

(5) If Webster wrote the first dictionary, where did he find the words?

(6) Why does “slow down” and “slow up” mean the same thing?

(7) Why does “fat chance” and “slim chance” mean the same thing?

(8) Why do “tug” boats push their barges?

(9) Why do we sing “Take Me Out To The Ballgame” when we are already there?

(10) Why are the benches and chairs at the ballpark called “stands” when they are made for sitting?

(11) Why do we say an evening time for something is “after dark” when it is really “after light”?

(12) Doesn’t “expect the unexpected” make the unexpected expected?

(13) Why are a “wise man” and a “wise guy” perceived as opposites?

(14) Why do “overlook” and “oversee” mean opposite applications of attention?

(15) Why is “phonics” not spelled the way it sounds?

(16) If work is so good for you, why do they have to pay you to do it?

(17) If all the world’s a stage, where is the audience sitting?

(18) If love is blind, why is lingerie so popular?

(19) If you are cross-eyed, but you also have dyslexia, can you read all right?

(20) Why is a “bra” singular and “panties” plural?

(21) Why do we press harder on the buttons of a remote control when we know the batteries are dying or dead?

(22) Why do we put suits in garment bags and garments in a suitcase?

(23) How come “abbreviated” is such a long word?

(24) Why do we wash bath towels? Aren’t we clean when we use them?

(25) Why doesn’t glue stick to the inside of the bottle?

(26) Why do we drive on a parkway, but we park on a driveway? I don’t know. The first person I ever heard who raised this question was Larry Andersen, a former Houston Astros relief pitcher that the club traded to the Boston Red Sox in 1990 for an untested rookie named Jeff Bagwell. Forget the play of “oxymoronic” thought for a minute. In the trading of hot prospect Bagwell for Andersen, even though they did it for one of the ancient best reasons in baseball trading lore, a pennant was on the line, the pennant-failing Red Sox turned out to be the real morons in this long ago deal. There was nothing “oxi” about it, as things turned out.

Bonus Question on Oxymorons: Assuming this could have happened during their shared lifetimes on Planet Earth, would the following event qualify as a legitimate  oxymoron – or would it simply be the unsurprising fulfillment of our long-held suspicions?

Bonus Question Event: Little Stevie Wonder, Ray Charles, George Shearing, and singer Al Hibbler all show up at Fenway Park to umpire a game between the Red Sox and the Yankees.

Have a restful Sunday, everybody, and, as I suggested earlier, don’t work too hard.


3 Responses to “Oxymorons at Play.”

  1. neal brown Says:

    Interesting piece to say the least!!

  2. Ken Dupuy Says:

    Always happy to read such humorous material.

  3. bbprof Says:

    A Very clever column. Alas our language constantly befuddles and endlessly entertains us. I wonder how many of the above oxymorons are in the current version of our so-called health care reform bill? And is it not an oxymoron to call it a “reform” bill when it does nothing to really reform the system.. like tort reform for example?

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