Have you any idea how many plumbing metaphors there are? Neither do I. But I was amazed to discover that you could simply google “plumbing metaphors” and there were pages of sites that addressed the topic. Or food metaphors, shoe metaphors, truck metaphors… I’m sure you get my drift. Now this is very handy for a writer, but I don’t really want to do that. I would prefer to create my own metaphors as I write, but, frankly, I suck at it. Metaphors are the spice rack in a writer’s pantry, and I’m Old Mother Hubbard. Having to google a topic to find a good metaphor feels roughly the same as having to ask your grandson for help setting up your iPhone.
As I was fossicking around for ideas, metaphorically speaking, I naturally came across one of the Masters of Metaphors, Stephen Colbert. Just to demonstrate why I feel so inadequate in this department, let me share a couple of his gems with you:
Trail mix. I see this as a metaphor for Iraq itself. Well, you’ve got the nuts and the raisins, which could be the Sunnis and the Shiites–not the same, but they can mingle together–and in between, adding sweetness and peace, are the troops, which are the M&Ms.
(The Colbert Report, June 10, 2009)
Everybody asks for personnel changes. So the White House has personnel changes. Then you write, “Oooh, they’re just rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic.” First of all, that is a terrible metaphor. This administration is not sinking. This administration is soaring. If anything, they are rearranging the deck chairs on the Hindenburg.
(White House Correspondents’ Dinner, April 29, 2006)