Define Paraprodoskian

After the Rain

“No good deed goes unpunished.”

That’s been a sentence I’ve been spouting quite frequently to friends and family over the past few months. Some have heard it so often they now finish my sentence before I get all the words out of my mouth. That should tell me something.

Like I’ve been way too cynical lately, perhaps? Or maybe just a tad disappointed in “stuff” that’s landed on my shoulders lately or on my hubby’s and my collective shoulders. But this isn’t a whine post, I’ve done that already and really I do have a point to make.

One is when I say that and my family or friends finish my sentence, we laugh. Because laughter is a great antidote to despair or depression.

Really. I should know because life hasn’t been very easy lately. If something can go wrong, I know it will happen—thus my sentence bursts forth. People who know me ask how I stay productive when it seems life is falling apart, or even more importantly, how I stay sane. In fact I had two people ask me that yesterday.

An Early Morning Visitor

One is to see something wonderful or positive and acknowledge it within a few minutes of waking. Okay, I’ll give you time to get your eyes open. Maybe even a few minutes more. But then look around and find that thing, and appreciate it. That’s why I took the photo of the dragonfly still sleeping on my balcony post one morning this week. Within a few moments after I took the photo, it was flying away for a busy day of helping to keep our mosquito population under control.

The second element that helps me is to find humor in things. Thus, the reason I laugh after I verbalize my oft-repeated mantra that began this post. And yesterday I discovered the real reason I laugh as do others who hear me.

“No good deed goes unpunished” is an example of a paraprodoskian phrase. This is a figure of speech/sentence where the latter part of a sentence is surprising or unexpected. This change causes my listener or reader to reframe the first part of the sentence. Sometimes the effect is humorous, sometimes, dramatic. However, comedians or satirists (or ordinary people like me) use this a lot.

Many used my example before me. Clare Booth Luce, known for her diplomacy and writing; Oscar Wilde–poet, dramatist, author; film maker Billy Wilder; and my favorites, American financier John P. Grier and banker and wealthy man Andrew W. Mellon—all used this example long before I was born.

And that’s long ago!

So how did I discover my well-used sentence might be considered a paraprodoskian element?

Yesterday, a friend of mine, one who’s listened to me and laughed with me when I spout my sentence, sent me an email defining the word and giving me a list of examples. I laughed and laughed at her examples and her message.

Fortunately, I opened email very early yesterday. It represented my positive and wonderful item for the day. And it kept me laughing or chuckling all day long. It also prompted me research more about the term and see if I could find other examples. So I leave you with a few I gleaned while I checked out the internet.

I hope you enjoy them and they give you a chuckle for at least a day. 🙂

The Beauty of Abundant Rains

“You can always count on the Americans to do the right thing—after they have tried everything else.” Winston Churchill

“She looks as though she’s been poured into her clothes but forgot to say ‘when’.”  P.G. Wodehouse


I want to die peacefully in my sleep, like my grandfather. Not screaming and yelling like the passengers in his car.

Going to church doesn’t make you a Christian any more than standing in a garage makes you a car.

Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit; wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.

Politicians and diapers have one thing in common. They should both be changed regularly, and for the same reason.

If 4 out of 5 people suffer from diarrhea…does that mean one enjoys it?

If you think nobody cares if you’re alive, try missing a couple of payments.

Tomatoes are a fruit, right?

These are my favorites…

A bank is a place that will lend you money…if you can prove you don’t need it.

Some people are like Slinkies…not really good for anything, but you can’t help smiling when you see one tumble down the stairs.

Dolphins are so smart that within a few weeks of captivity they can train people to stand at the very edge of the pool and throw them fish.

I didn’t fight my way to the top of the food chain to be a vegetarian.

Explore posts in the same categories: Uncategorized, Words

Tags: , , , , ,

You can comment below, or link to this permanent URL from your own site.

7 Comments on “Define Paraprodoskian”

  1. Edie Ramer Says:

    MJ, you’ve got to tell that dragonfly to work harder. Or send it to my neighborhood. We have a lot of mosquitoes it could take out.

    About changing politicians like diapers… I agree heartily!

  2. caseyclifford Says:


    I love my dragonflies but I’m sending a few your way. They need to have water for their life cycle as I understand it so having the lake here helps a lot.

    I so hear you about politicans, especially lately!

  3. Totally loved this one! and the Tomato one, and the dolphin one. Well, I guess I loved them all. Thanks for the smile!

  4. Above, the “totally loved this one” was referring to the politian saying…it didn’t copy like I’d tried.

    And I’d also meant to say, beautiful picture of your garden and dragonfly. 🙂

  5. caseyclifford Says:


    So glad you found the humor in my paraprodoskian post. 🙂

    I love my dragonflies also but have never been able to capture one so still. That’s why I’ll treasure this photo. Glad you like it also.

  6. Anne Parent Says:

    At this moment, I would like to be a dolphin!

  7. caseyclifford Says:

    I hear you, Anne. About now being a dolphin and having those around me at my beck and call sounds very appealing. 🙂

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: