Cynics Dictionary – The Devil’s Dictionary
Artificial Insemination: Procreation without recreation.
Bookcase: A piece of furniture used in America to house bowling trophies and Elvis collectibles.
Bulimia: Retched excess.
Chic: Considered smart without the deadening implication of intelligence.
Clique: A group of insiders who greet outsiders with their backsides; a closed circle of asses.
Consultant: A jobless person who shows executives how to work.
Dentures: Two rows of artificial ivories that may be removed periodically to frighten one’s grandchildren or provide accompaniment to Spanish music.
DNA: A complex organic molecule characterized as the building block of life and appropriately shaped like a spiral staircase to nowhere.
Erudite: Exhibiting a degree of book learning fatal to success in any business or romantic enterprise.
Fiber: Edible wood pulp said to aid digestion and prolong life, so that we might enjoy another six or eight years in which to consume wood pulp.
Funeral Home: A stately manse occupied by transients who continually receive visitors but lack the energy and inclination to entertain them.
Genetic Engineering: Tampering with chromosomes so that science might develop a new miracle cure or a rabbit that plays the banjo.
Hip: Smartly attuned to the latest cutting edge cliches.
Job: A state of employment everyone wants but few look forward to on a Monday morning.
Lawyer: A professional advocate hired to bend the law on behalf of a paying client; for this reason considered the most suitable background for entry into politics.
Lecher: A stud with liver spots.
Looting: A public shopping spree generously sponsored by local merchants in the wake of a riot.
Lottery: The equivalent of betting that the next pope will be from Duluth, or that the parrot in the pet store window speaks Flemish.
Math Anxiety: An intense lifelong fear of two trains approaching each other at speeds of 60 and 80 mph.
Mugger: A benevolent citizen of the streets who frequently spares the lives of total strangers in exchange for any cash and valuables in their possession.
Negotiating: The art of persuading your opponent to take the nice shiny copper penny and give you the wrinkled old paper money.
Neurotic: Sane but unhappy about it.
Obituary: A final summation of our lives that, for most of us, occupies about three inches of space in what will shortly become cage liner for your neighbor’s parakeet.
Positive Thinking: Self-improvement through self-deception.
Quality of Life: What an industrialized nation is said to offer when enough of its citizens are suffering from terminal stress.
Revolutionary: An oppressed person waiting for the opportunity to become an oppressor.
Shallowness: The root cause of chronic good health, high school popularity, appearance on the fiction bestseller lists, and gainful employment on local TV news broadcasts.
Star: A performer who makes more than his or her agent.
Superstar: A performer who makes more than Guatemala.
Taboo: Any strict cultural prohibition that, when breached, causes everyone in the group to gasp; e.g., cannibalism, public nudity, serving fried pork rinds at a Hasidic wedding, or answering the question “How are you?” in the negative.
Unemployment: The usual alternative to overwork.
Urinal: The one place where all men are peers.
Virgin: A young innocent who in former times was sacrificed to the gods but who now merely lives in disgrace.
Wake: 1. A convivial soiree with a preserved corpse in the room. 2. What the mourners would be visibly startled to see the corpse do, especially those expecting a sizable inheritance.
X-Chomosome: A genetic double-cross that empowers women with the ability to bear children and reserves for men the right to be color-blind hemophiliacs.
Zombie: A mirthless creature beloved by teenage horror movie fans and those in charge of the hiring at accounting firms.