Have you ever thought about analogies? They make a hard-to-picture scene imaginable, like seeing a movie you have only listened to in the car because you’re driving and can’t watch it. Even with play-by-play of someone who’s watching it doesn’t do justice when you see in the rear-view mirror jaws dropped as they’re watching. Analogies make even the weirdest subject, the one that is hard to understand, comprehendible. Like in theory, when we always referred to a V-I chord progression as the bride and groom. It is a perfect authentic cadence! Sometimes, in the middle of the song, the bride would flirt around in a V-vi or V-IV6 deceptive cadence, but always would return to her groom in a V-I cadence. See? You don’t even know what I’m talking about, but you get the basics!
I’ve been using a lot of analogies, frankly, because I like them. I usually go a lot deeper than a one-sentence analogy, but any sort of analogy is pretty cool. When I googled “anaologies” I found several blogs containing the same list of the “Annual English Teachers’ awards for best student metaphors/analogies found in actual student papers.” I found one blog that listed 25 funny analogies, cited as “the winning entries in a 1999 Washington Post humor contest, and there are more than 25.” (That’s where the following list is from.) I laughed really hard, as one who keeps laughing hours later about the same thing; over and over again she laughs in the silence or sobriety of a moment. Prepare yourselves:
1. Her face was a perfect oval, like a circle that had its two sides gently compressed by a ThighMaster.
2. His thoughts tumbled in his head, making and breaking alliances like underpants in a dryer without Cling Free.
3. 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.
4. She grew on him like she was a colony of E. Coli, and he was room-temperature Canadian beef.
5. She had a deep, throaty, genuine laugh, like that sound a dog makes just before it throws up.
6. Her vocabulary was as bad as, like, whatever.
7. He was as tall as a six-foot, three-inch tree.
8. 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 machine.
9. The little boat gently drifted across the pond exactly the way a bowling ball wouldn’t.
10. McBride fell 12 stories, hitting the pavement like a Hefty bag filled with vegetable soup.
11. 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.
12. Her hair glistened in the rain like a nose hair after a sneeze.
13. The hailstones leaped from the pavement, just like maggots when you fry them in hot grease.
14. 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.
15. They lived in a typical suburban neighborhood with picket fences that resembled Nancy Kerrigan’s teeth.
16. John and Mary had never met. They were like two hummingbirds who had also never met.
17. He fell for her like his heart was a mob informant, and she was the East River.
18. Even in his last years, Granddad had a mind like a steel trap, only one that had been left out so long it had rusted shut.
19. Shots rang out, as shots are wont to do.
20. The plan was simple, like my brother-in-law Phil. But unlike Phil, this plan just might work.
21. The young fighter had a hungry look, the kind you get from not eating for a while.
22. 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.
23. The ballerina rose gracefully en Pointe and extended one slender leg behind her, like a dog at a fire hydrant.
24. It was an American tradition, like fathers chasing kids around with power tools.
25. He was deeply in love. When she spoke, he thought he heard bells, as if she were a garbage truck backing up.
So, I thought I’d share some of my own analogies. I was actually looking for the perfect analogy when I was writing a paper in high school, so I made a list:
- I’m as happy as. . .
- A tornado in a trailer park
- A mouse in a cheese shop
- A dog in a squeaky-toy store
- A bank robber in a jewelry store
- A rabbit in a garden
- A crow in a corn field
- A geek at a Star Trek Convention
- It needed this like. . .(it didn’t)
- A pencil needs ink
- A rabbit needs rabies
- Soybeans need aphids
So, compared to the previous list, these aren’t that great. I’ve actually referred back to this list a time or two, although my writing has become “more sophisticated,” like a basketball player who’s gotten taller. Sometimes when I’m writing, I go for clever stuff that makes you think but laugh when you’re thinking along the same lines as I was when I wrote it. Then it’s like Jesus’ parables: only for those who are actually listening/reading. Sometimes, though, I realize it’s better to make sure your readers understand what you’re saying, like a teacher who puts notes on the board in legible writing, with enough time to write them all down before she moves on.
Do you have any clever analogies? Let’s hear ‘em!
Smiling, like one who squishes up their face when looking into the sun, Anna =)^2
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