Aphorisms Anonymous: It’s a One-Step Process

William Hogarth from his series Marriage a la Mode 1743-1745

It’s no secret that my husband and I have been examining ourselves deeply in order to understand our inner, core persons better. In doing so, it came to our attention that my husband is an aphorism addict. By the way, this is predicted by certain personality types–namely, the annoying ones. No, I didn’t mean that. But I do know a woman who used to rail on me for never divulging my innermost thoughts to her. So I decided to take the risk, and wouldn’t you know it–she took my ruminations, my joys, my sorrows, and answered them all with annoying platitudes.

Now, aphorisms are a little different than platitudes. Platitudes spring from a soul who’s decided she already has all the answers and, therefore, has no need for creative problem solving. Aphorisms spring from the lips of a man who loves to be clever and pithy in order to maintain the notion that everything’s all right with his world. Sometimes, the man in question creates his own aphorisms because the man I speak of is creative in his own right. For the purpose of our mutual quest for inner health, my husband decided he would eradicate all aphorisms from his conversations with others. I, of course, would be the receiving end of his prototype discussions that use no pithy expressions. Yes, I’m already aware that when two people have a conversation and one is the receiving end of the discussion, no conversation is actually occurring. But I’m a good wife (on Thursdays), and so I chose to be supportive regardless (because it happened to be Thursday).

Sample conversation:

Husband: Determine this diurnal course whom you will appreciate with your ardent servanthood.
Wife: Huh?
Husband: A homo sapien is inefficacious at obliging two authority figures.
Wife: By that you mean . . . ?
Husband: A commander is a merchant of expectation.
Wife: And you expect me to do what?
Husband: A mistress’s domain of vassalage is in her husband’s castle.
Wife: Yes, I’ve come to that conclusion, too.

As you can see, the one-step process for ridding aphorisms from daily communication is to carry a thesaurus with you wherever you go. In the last case, the husband was doubly clever at obscuring his use of two aphorisms in one statement. Nice use of your archives, Darling, as well as your thesaurus!* Well, I might have to say that these are truisms rather than aphorisms, or falsisms in regards to the last, but who am I to dispute with the sovereign of my fortress?

I think we learned a lot from this exercise. My husband and I are slowly but surely moving toward our directions of integration and health. May you also achieve inner wisdom today. And remember, a wise head makes a closed mouth. I feel a rash coming on. Are aphorisms contagious?

*Disclaimer: The use of Darling here is ambiguous because this conversation may or may not have ever occurred.



  1. I'm all for making your dreams come true. Depending on what they are. Would you like to lie on my couch, so you can relate them to me? I'm afraid I don't entirely subscribe to Freud's or Jung's methods, however.

  2. You are too funny, Jill. Another entertaining post.

    I don't have to be perfect. I don't have to be perfect. 🙂

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