My puppet-lined mouth….

Word count: 259 words

Reading time: About 1 minute

I like to share interesting pieces of figurative language I encounter in my reading. Today’s comes from David Sedaris.

I’ve written about David Sedaris, before today.

Just hearing the man’s name makes me smile. He’s so funny! But he’s also a deeply sophisticated writer who uses figurative language with the skill of a sushi chef wielding a knife. Here, for example, is a recent sentence from a June 3/13 New Yorker article on the benefits of having a guest room, “Company Man.” (That’s a clever headline, too, although credit must undoubtedly go to the “desker” (editor), not Sedaris.)

I hear these words coming from my puppet-lined mouth and shiver with middle-aged satisfaction.

In case you were wondering, the words coming from his mouth were: “If you prefer a shower to a tub, I can put you upstairs in the second guest room.” In short, Sedaris is boasting about his ability to accommodate guests — not on the couch or, worse, on the floor, but in rooms of their own. (As a homeowner with three children I long for the same plenitudinous feeling.  We will be unable to host guests until one of our kids moves out.)

I particularly like the metaphor “puppet-lined mouth” which somehow conveys both the discomfort of speaking with fabric in one’s mouth and the braggy act of slightly stretching the truth, a la Pinocchio. The verb “shiver” (meant in a positive way) and the adjective “middle-aged” to modify “satisfaction”: are the final cherries on the sundae.

Scroll to Top