Like playing the finals at Wimbledon…

Word count: 353 words

Reading time: Just over 1 minute

I like to share interesting pieces of figurative language I encounter in my reading. Today’s comes from Dr. Steven Zeitels.

Every week I read the New Yorker.  It is, by far, my favourite magazine and I enjoy both the writing and the subjects it covers, many of which I had no idea  fascinated me….

If you’d ever asked me if I wanted to learn more about laryngeal surgery I almost certainly would have said no. But a March 4/13 article by John Colapinto, headlined “Giving Voice,” captured my attention from the very first sentence. It even had me reading compulsively as if it were a mystery novel or a spy thriller. I wish I could give you the link. Sadly, it’s a locked article, so you’ll need to buy a copy of the magazine or go to the library is you want to read it. (Here, however,  is an abstract.)

Zeitels is a fascinating, deeply creative guy. He began his working life making leather belts — his ambidexterity came in handy when he wound up becoming a surgeon. But he’s not just any surgeon. He has operated on the vocal cords of scores of professional singers including: Adele, Steven Tyler, James Taylor, Cher and Lionel Ritchie. Along the way he has invented new machines and developed techniques that have improved the accuracy and success rates of throat or vocal cord surgery.

In this article, he describes the pressure of working on high-profile performer such as Adele. Here’s what he says:

I liken it to playing the finals at Wimbledon. If you’re the right kind of person you actually perform better. 

Not only is the guy a great surgeon, he also knows how to make a memorable quote. First, he acknowledges the pressure he faces, then he puts it in terms that a regular person can more likely understand (by comparing it to tennis) and, finally, he winds up on a positive note. Well done, doctor!

My son is studying to become an opera singer. I hope he never requires laryngeal surgery. But if he does, I’ll suggest he call you.