Years ago, I picked up a much used copy of The Devil’s Dictionary by Ambrose Bierce. He disappeared in 1914, visiting the Mexican Revolution, so it’s not likely the story of his end will be discovered . . . not dead, just gone away.
I thought of his writings when i ran across the definition: “Manicheism, n.,The ancient Persian of an incessant warfare between Good and Evil. When Good gave up the fight, the Persians joined the Victorious Opposition.”
AMBITION, n. An overmastering desire to be vilified by enemies while living and made ridiculous by friends when dead.
BORE, n. A person who talks when you wish him to listen.
CORPORATION, n. An ingenious device for obtaining individual profit without individual responsibility.
Calamities are of two kinds: misfortune to ourselves, and good fortune to others.
EDIBLE, adj. Good to eat, and wholesome to digest, as a worm to a toad, a toad to a snake, a snake to a pig, a pig to a man, and a man to a worm.
HISTORY, n. An account mostly false, of events mostly unimportant, which are brought about by rulers mostly knaves, and soldiers mostly fools.
CONSERVATIVE, n. A statesman who is enamored of existing evils, as distinguished from the Liberal, who wishes to replace them with others.
PRAY, v. To ask that the laws of the universe be annulled in behalf of a single petitioner, confessedly unworthy.
FUTURE, n. That period of time in which our affairs prosper, our friends are true and our happiness is assured.
Egotist, n. A person of low taste, more interested in himself than in me.”
Lottery: A tax on people who are bad at math.
Faith, n. Belief without evidence in what is told by one who speaks without knowledge, of things without parallel.”
Scriptures, n. The sacred books of our holy religion, as distinguished from the false and profane writings on which all other faiths are based.”
Education, n. That which discloses to the wise and disguises from the foolish their lack of understanding.
“Cogito cogito ergo cogito sum — “I think that I think, therefore I think that I am;” as close an approach to certainty as any philosopher has yet made.”
“““““““““““““ To lay the foundation for a future offense.