Metaphors often confuse me, and I don’t think it’s because I can’t understand them. I think most of them are stupid, or confused at best. Just this past week with the passing of Ted Kennedy we had to hear how he was the “Lion of the Senate.” We had to hear this because no journalist could apparently think of anything else interesting to say about a man who lived one of the more interesting lives of the 20th century.
But what does “Lion of the Senate” even mean? I’m not sure most people using it know. Does it mean he was king of the senate? Does it mean he randomly mauled zebras passing through the Capitol halls? I’m honestly not sure.
On occasion I still hear someone is so smooth they could “charm the fleas off a dog.” What kind of ability is this? Why would anyone aspire to it? It can’t exactly be a high paying profession. People show up with their dog, you sweet talk the fleas for a few minutes, and viola–no more fleas. I’m not paying more than $20 for such a service. I would question what a flea charmer did with said fleas once done, but I think we all know he’s selling them into slavery at the flea circus. There are just some areas even the ACLU won’t touch.
Sometimes I get confused about whether something is really a metaphor or just a slogan used to sell me something. For example, did “smarter than the average bear” exist before Yogi Bear? If you’re still paying attention and not stuck back there trying to figure out the logic on the flea slaves, you may have noticed a trend developing among these sayings–they all involve animals. I imagine that’s because secretly we all aspire to be animals because it means the freedom of eating whatever we like, and then later if it doesn’t suit us throwing it back up. That would make ordering at McDonald’s much simpler.
Or if you’re really clever you may have noted that not all the above examples are really metaphors. That’s because you’re sly like a fox.