Friday, November 09, 2007

Analogies, Metaphors, and Typos

Dear Editors,

We are an odd breed. We care about the delicacies of spelling, grammar, and usage. Why? We don't know. It has something to do with our mothers and our second grade teacher I think.

My mother is a founding member of WIGS. That is the acronym for the Word Improvement Game Society. She and her best friend spend hours discussing the proper pronunciation of the word naive and whether the word adroit should be given full scoring credit in Boggle because it is closely derived from French.

No wonder I edit. I am still working through linguistic psychological neuroses developed in childhood, like the impulse to correct extraneous punctuation, bipolar adjectival disorder, and psychotic run-on delusions marked by paragraph anhedonia and feelings of excessive adverbial depression, accompanied by a lump in the throat and frequency of urination.

And no wonder we suffer. From the typographical error to the surfeit of metaphor, our lives are crowded with that which needs to be corrected.

For instance, who was responsible for editing the government publication delivered to private schools in the State of West Virginia, a bulletin for: "Non-Pubic Schools." Or, who could have interceded for that college freshman whose biographical paragraph claimed that: "In high school I was a baseball."

The following collection of analogies and metaphors from high school essays cry for red pen. I just cry.

—Her face was a perfect oval, like a circle that had its two sides gently compressed by a Thigh Master.

—He spoke with the wisdom that can only come from experience, like a guy who went blind because he looked at a solar eclipse without one of those boxes with a pinhole in it and now goes around the country speaking at high schools about the dangers of looking at a solar eclipse without one of those boxes with a pinhole in it.

—She grew on him like she was a colony of E. coli and he was room-temperature Canadian beef.

—She had a deep, throaty, genuine laugh, like that sound a dog makes just before it throws up.

—Her vocabulary was as bad as, like, whatever.

—He was as tall as a six-foot-three-inch tree.

—The revelation that his marriage of 30 years had disintegrated because of his wife's infidelity came as a rude shock, like a surcharge at a formerly surcharge-free ATM.

—The little boat gently drifted across the pond exactly the way a bowling ball wouldn't.

—From the attic came an unearthly howl. The whole scene had an eerie, surreal quality, like when you're on vacation in another city and Jeopardy comes on at 7:00 p.m. instead of 7:30.

—Long separated by cruel fate, the star-crossed lovers raced across the grassy field toward each other like two freight trains, one having left Cleveland at 6:36 p.m. traveling at 55 mph, the other from Topeka at 4:19 p.m. at a speed of 35 mph.

—John and Mary had never met. They were like two hummingbirds who had also never met.

—He fell for her like his heart was a mob informant and she was the East River.

—He was as lame as a duck. Not the metaphorical lame duck, either, but a real duck that was actually lame. Maybe from stepping on a land mine or something.

—The ballerina rose gracefully en pointe and extended one slender leg behind her, like a dog at a fire hydrant.

—He was deeply in love. When she spoke, he thought he heard bells, as if she were a garbage truck backing up.

—It hurt the way your tongue hurts after you accidentally staple it to the wall.




Josh Stock said...

Meh (not afraid to use onomotopaiea). Could be worse (fragment). In 8th grade, I was required to write a poem (passive voice). I wrote 3 pages of 4 line stanzas--all of it demeaning, rude, and insensitive--titled "Ode to Miss Bury," the librarian/history teacher for the Jr. High (horrific). Despite following the directions for the project precisely, I got a D because of content (unfair?).

I thought it was a good laugh, and worth the bad grade. Still do (another fragment).

As you can see, while I am capable of properly writing sentences in English, I frequently don't care to because my point can be more simply (perhaps more elegantly) expressed. I take after Hemingway and TS Eliot more than I do Dickens...

hbl said...

These quotations are a riot!

brd said...

Of course that "D" was unfair. It was censorship in the highest order.

I was actually afraid to post this because I was sure to have included, at least, a typo, a run-on, a fragment, and a plain grammatical error. But I posted. I've already corrected the typo.

Dan Trabue said...

Hey, I like those high school posts. Especially, "She had a deep, throaty, genuine laugh, like that sound a dog makes just before it throws up."

Great stuff, can I borrow it?

brd said...

This stuff is available for use by anyone. It is web worthy. The typos I can personally verify as being true. The rest, who knows.