Sunday, April 11, 2010

Know What I'm Sayin'?

I love me a good analogy. Good metaphors? Even better. I’m not big on clichés, but I’ll concede when apropos. A seldom occurrence, but it’s been known to happen.

As a writer, I appreciate the harmony created when words are linked in clever ways. It’s sexy word art.

However, I do have my limits. For example, say what you will, but Lil’ Wayne must be stopped.

“I’ll make you weee oooh, weee oooh. Like a cop car.”

Dude, seriously?

Or my personal favorite:

“Don’t you ever leave the side of me, indefinitely, not probably, and honestly I’m down like the economy.” (You have no idea how many little squiggly lines are coming up on Word due to that raping of the English language.)

Yes, I’m quoting the mainstream crap because I don’t have any of his albums.

But, Alex, that’s not fair. Why don’t you give him a try before you fully judge him?

Well, that’s quite simple. Just read the last two lyrics again.

While we’re on the topic…

ATTENTION RAPPERS. When you say you have to get your metaphors tight, you’re really talking about similes – they use “like” or “as” when comparing things. “I’m down like the economy.” That’s a simile. A metaphor is when you compare two nouns without using like or as. “You are a douche.” That’s a metaphor.

(ATTENTION GRAMMAR GEEKS. I know that similes are technically a form of a metaphor, but who cares? Rappers really don’t know the difference anyway. Metaphors vs. Similes. Read about it. It’s black and white. But we can discuss that later.)

Let’s come back to the blog.

Why am I writing about analogies and metaphors? That’s because I love them. In some way, they fuel me. They offer so much light, and most importantly, they offer so much perspective. I love explaining something with a random line because it’s genius. It’s art.

Anecdote: As a young baseball player, I would be at my best when I was upset. Sounds bass ackwards, but what can I tell ya?

As a pitcher, I had to be confident in my abilities and fight the intimidation of the opposing hitter. I wasn’t the most talented on the field; therefore, I had to battle with emotion.

From the stands, my astute mother could sense when my confidence was lacking. She would pick the right opportunity to yell the following line in Spanish for the entire park to hear:

“Alejandro, el hombre cobarde no puede tener mujer bonita por que viene el guapo y se la quita.” (Translated: Alejandro, a cowardly man can’t have a pretty woman because the brave man will take her from him.)

Obviously, it doesn’t carry the power of a cleverly crafted rhyme, but you get the point. The line had nothing to do with pitching. But it had everything to do with what I was trying to accomplish.

The embarrassment alone pissed me off to no end. I took the anger out on the opposing hitter, and ultimately, I reached a moderate level of success.

The right perspective = mission accomplished.

Another classic is from my father. He would throw this one out frequently because it’s perfect in so many ways.

“Alejandro, con paciencia y con saliva, el elefante se hecho a la hormiga.” (Translated: With patience and with saliva, the elephant screwed the ant.)

Again, not nearly as powerful if you don’t speak Spanish, but whose fault is that?

The line is sheer brilliance. And often times, it gave me the proper perspective to reach a given goal.

However you want to say it, we all need perspective in life. Perspective can come in a simple sentence, an analogy, a metaphor or a simile.

We can lack many things. Each and every one of us do. But if we lack perspective, there’s no goal we’ll ever reach. It's the root of what we do with what we have.

Moving forward, whenever perspective is lacking, hopefully mom will be there screaming at us from the stands.

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