It looks a little bit like a horseshoe that sprouted quills…

Reading time: Less than 1 minute

I like to share interesting pieces of figurative language I encounter in my reading. I write today about a simile relating to the John Dory fish…

I can no longer remember where I recently encountered the term John Dory — a book? a newspaper article? — but I couldn’t remember what it was. When a quick Google search revealed it to be a fish (pictured above), I slapped myself on the side of my head. Of course! I already knew that.

I surfed the Internet for a while longer and came across a useful and interesting “About Food” article telling me that the taste of the fish is similar to turbot and sole, and it’s popular in the U.K., Australia and New Zealand. Then, the article delivered a sensational simile:

If ever a creature went out of its way to appear as unappetizing as possible, it’s the John Dory. Flat, bony and adorned with lethal spikes, it looks a little bit like a horseshoe that sprouted quills and learned to swim.

Writer Danilo Alfaro — a private chef and a writer based in Portland, Ore. — clearly understands the power of figurative language. Instead of  describing a John Dory as something that looks a bit like a horseshoe that had sprouted quills — which is already a pretty good image — he takes it one  funny step further and imagines the creature learning how to swim.

For me, it’s the second part of the image that really seals the deal.