Feeling like a simile


Last night’s catfish and collard greens isn’t sitting so well.  Since when have I been an eater of collard greens?  Sheesh.  I don’t know.  It strikes me as odd that I would willingly order something that people would only eat if rummaging for food in the forest.  It’s practically chard.

And yet, last night, it sounded so good.

I woke up this morning at the crack of dawn – although I’m not sure that it counts as the “crack” if the sun hasn’t come up yet.  After driving Mel to the airport in an outrageous thunderstorm, I hydroplaned home, used Julie’s expired inhaler, and crawled back into bed.

Bad idea.

Now, several hours later, I can barely type.  Albuterol does it to me; I am shaking like… a leaf?

Oooooh, it makes me so sad that I didn’t come up with a better simile.

Which reminds me of a fantastic list of similes, metaphors, and analogies I once saw – found in high school essays, submitted by English teachers across the country, and compiled into one glorious list.  They’re the best of the worst, and the worst of the best.  Here they are:

– – – – – – – –

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

His thoughts tumbled in his head, making and breaking alliances like underpants in a dryer without Cling Free.

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 machine.

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

McBride fell 12 stories, hitting the pavement like a Hefty Bag filled with vegetable soup.

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.

Her hair glistened in the rain like a nose hair after a sneeze.

The hailstones leaped from the pavement, just like maggots when you fry them in hot grease.

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.

They lived in a typical suburban neighborhood with picket fences that resembled Nancy Kerrigan’s teeth.

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.

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.

Shots rang out, as shots are wont to do.

The plan was simple, like my brother-in-law Phil. But unlike Phil, this plan just might work.

The young fighter had a hungry look, the kind you get from not eating for a while.

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.

It was an American tradition, like fathers chasing kids around with power tools.

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

– – – – – – – –

And just because it is fabulously senseless, here’s one of my favorite similes, brought to you by Patrick Swayze:

“She’s like the wind, through my tree.”



  1. Krissie on May 8, 2009 at 9:37 AM

    I always sang that she’s like the wind through his dreams. I think I like my version better.

  2. Greta on May 8, 2009 at 10:22 AM

    Oh my gosh– that had me laughing like a hyena who had accidentally licked up someone’s “E” tablet.

    I might read these to my students!!

  3. Isaiah Kallman on May 8, 2009 at 10:22 AM

    How’s this for coincidence? As I read the last, pre-Swayze simile, I heard a truck backing up. Considering you are the Queen of Doom, I can only speculate that you planned this multi-sensory experience in order to make me like your weblog all the more.

    You’re crafty, lady.

  4. [not the] Best Blog Ever on May 8, 2009 at 11:52 AM

    Oh my gosh – hilarious list of similes. Loved it.

    And I TOTALLY agree with your assessment of the Swayze simile — WHAT??? Personally, I think “She’s like the wind, in my jeans” makes a WHOLE lot more sense.

  5. Christy on May 8, 2009 at 12:43 PM

    I just snorted while laughing in my office. Bwwaahhaahahaa!

  6. erin, a girl with sometimes fabulous hair on May 8, 2009 at 1:24 PM

    how bout my personal favorite…when you accidently brush my hand i’m (like) jelly in a frying pan ;-)

    love you girl!

  7. erin, a girl with sometimes fabulous hair on May 8, 2009 at 1:24 PM

    i did the winky face. i didn’t even mean it. but, i did. just not in type.

  8. Leslie on May 8, 2009 at 3:22 PM

    That’s not the crack of dawn, that’s the butt crack of dawn. Something I try not to be too familiar with because being awake at that hour makes me feel like, hmmm, well, like someone that woke up too early.

  9. Cara on May 8, 2009 at 4:44 PM

    thanks for making me laugh darling1

  10. mara cavallaro on May 8, 2009 at 6:00 PM


    This is the greatest thing I’ve read in a long time.

  11. Tad on May 8, 2009 at 8:10 PM

    Truly, one of these budding authors will be the next Charles Dickens.

  12. Annie on May 9, 2009 at 9:15 AM

    Those are incredible. :)

  13. Casey Evans on May 9, 2009 at 2:28 PM

    Where do you find this stuff?! You are so much cooler than me, like the icepack that sits atop my knee.

  14. Drew on May 10, 2009 at 4:14 AM

    I’m a friend of Haley’s, and randomly ended up here. You know how it goes.

    You should read Stephen Dunn’s poem “John & Mary,” based on one of your bad similes. I’m not always a fan of Dunn, but this one’s really lovely. He said it was one of those small joys that you write in one sitting.

    It’s the first poem on here:

  15. becca on May 10, 2009 at 8:43 AM

    you’re like my own sister.

  16. Little AP on May 11, 2009 at 12:19 PM

    I don’t usually “lol”, but…

    Well, I still won’t. :) Suffice to say, thanks for the laugh!

  17. Katie on May 13, 2009 at 9:29 AM

    (I’m a friend of Joey, Juliette and Dani and just wound up here too.) These are HILARIOUS. I only taught college English for one semester, but I definitely encountered some similar gems.

  18. dhurstlmt on May 18, 2009 at 9:06 PM


  19. Nate S. on June 3, 2009 at 9:46 AM

    …maybe from stepping on a land mine or something….I can’t contain my morbid amusement! So are the moribund catfish and collard greens all ex evacuat-ay(silly contrived latin)?

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