Day 6: Paralogize

Word of the Day:



to draw conclusions that do not follow logically from a given set of assumptions.

Maybe better suited to an essay or an article, but let’s see what we can do:

“Wait a second,” she said.  “You’re saying that a circle is a collection of points on a plane.”

“That’s right,” I said encouragingly.  Somehow, I’d been convinced to tutor middle school-ers in geometry this semester:  The prospect of money was apparently convincing enough that it erased all attachment I once had to my sanity.

“And that all those points hafta stay in the same spot on that plane because they’re all the same distance from some other point, and that’s what makes the circle.”

“Right,” I said.

“But the whole world is one big circle.”

“Sort of,” I said.  “It’s a sphere, actually.”

“But that’s just like a circle with 3D glasses on.”

I hesitated.  “Okay,” I said, unsure if that was a comparison I should encourage.

“But that can’t be right,” she rushed on, her words slurring together in the triumph of sudden enlightenment.  “The world’s always movin’ around the sun, see, which means all those points are moving, and that means that the world can’t be a circle with glasses on because it’s movin’!”  She paused for dramatic effect.  “Or!” she shouted.  “Or that’s not really what a circle is.  And I’ve seen globes at school, so I know that the world is a big 3D circle, so that means that’s not really what a circle is.”

I froze, horrified.  Apparently, I was doing something really wrong in this whole tutoring business—either that, or else kids just get weirder all the time.

“How about this,” I said slowly.  “Let’s not do math right now.  Let’s talk about something called rhetoric for a second.  Do you know what it means to paralogize?”

Cara Kennaway


2 thoughts on “Day 6: Paralogize

  1. *Enthusiastically applauds the way that you managed to get this word into a scene in a smooth and logical manner*

    Also, this was amusing. So good job.

  2. The door slammed open and shut again, and the room was suddenly filled with a nigh-hysterical, half-shrieking voice. “That utter JERK,” it said. “I don’t see how I can be expected to fix this DISASTER of a relationship if all HE’S willing to do when I try to talk to him is interrupt, exaggerate, and paralogize. I swear, I will KILL him if I ever have to talk to him again!”

    This outburst might’ve been slightly more intimidating if Elsie (the nigh-hysterical half-shrieker) had a deeper voice. Or was over five feet tall. As matters were, Becca (to whom the outburst was addressed) was quite calm as she put her book aside and turned her attention to her friend.

    “Paralogize?” was her only response.

    “Oh, you know,” Elsie snapped back. “Make totally wrong assumptions based on things I’ve said. Purposely misinterpret me. Ugh, I HATE him!”

    Becca, meanwhile, was nonchalantly looking something up on her phone. “Are you positive you’re using that word correctly?” she asked.

    “Do I LOOK like I care?”

    Becca didn’t answer.

    With another exasperated sigh, Elsie threw herself down on the sofa, closed her eyes, and began rubbing her forehead. “I think I need a wet cloth or something. I feel awful,” she said.

    Becca went and fetched one. Once it had been administered, she observed the patient in silence, waiting for Elsie’s expression to soften and for her the stiffness in her shoulders to relax. It didn’t take long. It never did.

    “You know,” Becca then cautiously ventured, “these disagreements between you two never seem to last very long. Maybe in a day or two-”

    “THIS one will,” Elsie interrupted.

    “Right,” Becca said. A pause. Then, “So what caused this one?”

    “I don’t want to talk about it.”

    “Of course. I’m sorry.”

    Another pause.

    A few minutes passed.

    A bright, cheerful dinging sound came from Elsie’s phone.

    Without opening her eyes, Elsie held it out to Becca. “See who that is for me, will you?”

    Becca took it. “It’s from him.”

    “UGH. What does he want?”

    “You want me to read it to you?”


    Becca cleared her throat. “It says, ‘Hi Elsie. I’m real sorry bout earlier. Can we make up. Brad.’ His grammar leaves much to be desired. I think that-”

    Elsie interrupted this time by snatching the phone out of Becca’s hands and reading the message several times for herself, eyes shining. “I’m going to go find him,” she said happily. “I want to hear him apologize in person. Bye.”

    “Thanks for stopping by,” Becca said as Elsie flew out the door.

    Then she went back to reading her book.

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