I am a merchant of metaphors, a salesperson of similes. Through my new online “phrase bank,” I peddle the finest in quotable tropes to hopeful college applicants, nascent political speechwriters, and budding novelists who want to pep up their essays, perorations, and prose. In this day and age, originality is not prized or expected. You could spend hours being creative and find out that half of your ideas are on the Internet already. So why bother pursuing new ideas when I can sell you some that are “lightly used”?
This morning, as I sat in my office, my gaze moved up the wall like a stumbling centipede. I mused upon the street value of “moved up the wall like a stumbling centipede.” That turn of phrase is available in my online phrase bank to premium subscribers for a mere $600. I bought the phrase last week from a mystery writer who had used it in his out-of-print 1970s dime store novel. This writer, his face is rough as a radial tire. “Rough as a radial tire” will run you $500.
Subscribers can purchase any phrase in my bank until too many people have asked for it. We have more similes than metaphors these days, but we can meet any request. Here are some of the choice nuggets available for re-use right now:
- Pages fluttered like wheat in a field – $300
- As quiet as sand in your hand — $225
- Clicked off her tongue like a date stamp on paper — $900
- As cool as a fan on your pants — 50 cents
As you can see, my phrases run from mundane to ethereal — and high-end to economical. I never metaphor I didn’t like.
If you’re not sure about my service, keep in mind that even the most skeptical intellects have dealt me peppy platitudes for re-sale. Just last Friday, two Stanford professors slipped me symbols for re-use in New York. The East Coast/West Coast battles you hear about are true.
If you’re doing an assignment for some Luddite professor who insists on originality – and probably uses typewriter ribbon – keep in mind that I only offer phrases from hard-to-trace sources. Just today I was slipped some primo stuff from an English teacher in Simonton, Iowa who’s been advising the high school literary magazine for decades. This woman, her voice is as smooth as creamed corn. Here’s what she ponied up:
- In college I will be a whirling tornado of intellect — $150
- Rubbed against our window like a cat with an itchy back — $200
- As disgruntled as a duck in sludge — $100
- As hot as a rotting cot – $60
Simply everyone in the creative arts recycles these days. Film producers get their ideas from 1980s TV shows; musicians sample or remake other people’s songs. And have you heard about that popular Sam Smith tune that “coincidentally” sounds like that 1989 Tom Petty tune? It still won a Grammy. In the end, Sam had to give Tom credit, but most songs nowadays sound like other songs anyway. Stop wasting time on your precious “originality.” Even in the academic world, you only have to do a quick internet search to find a dozen services that will write your college application essay or sell you a term paper. Squander a few shekels on my service instead, and you will have more time to sext, Tweet, and twerk.
Speaking of true love, stay tuned for the next phase of my business: a phrase bank that will peddle sweet nothings (“Your eyes are as blue as an indoor pool” – $350). Lying in your online dating profile is de rigueur. It’s not fair if only Lotharios with actual personalities get to woo.
I’ll admit, I have friends who look down their nose at my new profession, so I’ve taken to defending it. I like to recall the words of wunderkind philosopher Jedediah Purdy, who wrote in his seminal 1999 book For Common Things, “Irony is powered by a suspicion that everything is derivative.”
You can probably use that someday, but it’s going to cost you.