My Mother’s favourite simile involves a swan. To be fair, it might not be a bird at all- my Mother is famous in our family for incorrectly identifying ‘horses’ on long car journeys, which, when verified, were definitively categorised as ‘cars’ by the rest of the family.
Anyway, my Mother’s simile goes a little like this: All successful people are like swans.
On the surface, they seem calm and unflustered, but underneath the water they are paddling like mad to stay afloat. I am not entirely sure what the main thrust of the simile is, as she tends to wheel it out at every possible occasion, but I do like it. I think what I particularly like is the idea of things being not as they initially appear, as if the world is only superficially made up of council taxes and tube fares and replenishing toothpaste- but underneath, is full of chaos and magic.
‘I have always suspected as much,’ I told my friends last night smugly, as we sat watching ‘The Cabin in the Woods’.
‘But then again, I am a very perceptive person.’ There was a short pause. ‘Lucy,’ My friend pointed out slowly. ‘At the beginning of this movie you believed it was a film about nuclear reactors.’ ‘Well,’ I explained carefully. ‘There were men in suits, who had to enter security codes to get into their office. What else was I meant to think?’ ‘But we had previously watched a trailer for this movie,’ She replied, bewildered. ‘And we then discussed it, and explained that it was, in fact, about a cabin in the woods.’ ‘Ah,’ I replied kindly. ‘My sweet innocent friend. That’s the swan! I was thinking about what’s underneath!’
It is possible the simile needs some work. It is possible that I will look as though I am taking a nap this afternoon. In actual fact, I will be busily creating the world’s most adaptable simile. And trying to work out the plot of ‘The Cabin in the Woods’. I hope very much that while I do this, my housemate replenishes the balsamic vinegar. I, myself will be far too busy exploring the mysteries that lie below the surface to bother with bill-paying or grocery shopping.