My husband has a way with words. Faster than a firestorm of fragments, more powerful than the precisest of prose, able to leap through language with ease and grace, he is Stéphane, Metaphor Man. He spins tapestries, pushes the boundaries of common usage, and does it all with a heavenly French accent. His mission: to rescue our beloved English from the drudgery of every day use. His motivation: to make software engineering sound less boring. Seriously, it’s a bit embarrassing, considering I’m supposed to be the writer of the family, and English is his second language. Before I plunge to the depths of hyperbole, let me explain. He’s a software engineer, and since I really don’t have any clue what it is he does every day, he must translate for me. For example, earlier this week, he told me about some program or something (really – I have no clue, I just remember the comparison he made) and he likened it to Versailles circa 1700s. He said its outward appearance was astounding: gilded walls, rooms full of brass-framed mirrors, the finest of tapestries and paintings. But no one gave any thought to the basics – like toilets – so everyone crapped in the halls and the whole thing ended up mired in stink. Genius. The metaphor, I mean. Not Versailles.
The thing is, I love a well placed metaphor. I love the way some writers can make the same words we all use regularly into something clever or beautiful. And I’m jealous of my husband. I struggle to come up with the kind of stuff he spouts out every day. I’ll sit there and chew off the end of my pen, giving myself ink poisoning, while trying to come up with metaphors, similes, analogies, and layers of depth and meaning for the things I write. It really isn’t fair how much better he is at it. Now, excuse me while I plot how to strip him of his powers and transfer them to myself….