The WordPress Writing Challenge for this week is called “Easy As Pie”, and is about similes and metaphors. This may sound as riveting as a book about rivets, but in fact it gives me the chance to mention the little-known fact that most similes mean exactly the opposite to what we believe them to mean (the phrase “as ironic as a similarian” has dropped out of current usage, but it is as relevant today as it was back before the hills became as old as the hills). Take these examples:
As easy as pie. There is nothing easy about pie. You have to peel and then stew the apples, or boil the rhubarb, or persuade four-and-twenty blackbirds to sit patiently while you cover them in a duvet of pastry. You then bake the whole thing in an oven, frequently producing smoke as thick as, well, you are for undertaking all this, and then make a little pattern of a flower to put on top.
In that time you could have simply bought a packet of Jaffa Cakes, admired your mess-free kitchen and then sat down in front of Downton Abbey with a large glass of red wine.
As nutty as a fruitcake. It has fruit in it, not nuts, the name is a big hint here.
As naked as the day you were born. On the day that they are born most people are naked for a grand total of about four minutes. “As naked as the night of your stag party, when you wake up handcuffed to a traffic cone with one eyebrow shaved off (no, you, not the cone) and a tattoo of Kenny from South Park on your left buttock” is much more apt.
As dull as ditchwater. Tap water is dull. The water in a ditch, on the other hand, might contain leaves, rare beetles, supermarket trolleys, typhus, an abandoned bicycle frame, perhaps even a body.
As happy as a pig in shit. The moment the pig was caught in the orchard with the apple in its mouth it knew it was in deep shit. And it was right, they roasted it without even bothering to take out the apple. Believe me, it wasn’t happy.
As right as rain. Seriously?
WordPress also ask us to attempt the “epic simile”, one which goes on for several lines, and gives this example by Homer:
But swift Aias the son of Oïleus would not at all now take his stand apart from Telamonian Aias,
not even a little; but as two wine-coloured oxen straining
with even force drag the compacted plough through the fallow land,
and for both of them at the base of the horns the dense sweat gushes;
only the width of the polished yoke keeps a space between them
as they toil down the furrow till the share cuts the edge of the ploughland;
so these took their stand in battle, close to each other.
This shows that Homer had a lot of time on his hands, and that he was as nutty as a nutcake. I can’t help but feel that should you introduce this sentence into a conversation you will find your audience begin to drift away, possibly to hurl themselves into ditchwater.
Still, they have asked us to attempt one, so here goes:
As happy as a man who, born to humble beginnings, dragged himself up by his bootlaces (resulting him in him falling backwards onto his arse) and put himself through university by working as a kissogram before winning the lottery and gladly realising that he didn’t have to finish college (he had got there on a basketball scholarship but was only five feet four, it wasn’t going well) so went instead on a trip around the world, had fleeting but enriching relationships with a young girl in a grass skirt in Tahiti, a rich widow in St Tropez and a beach-volleyball player in California before realising that there was no place like home (yes, he was from Kansas, how did you know) and driving back in his Ferrari to his loving mum. Who fed him pie.
There you go. Easy as standing on a log.