Like so many grey-haired ladies…

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I like to share interesting pieces of figurative language I encounter in my reading. I write today about a simile from newspaper reporter Marcus Gee.

There’s a civic election coming up in Toronto next Monday. But even people from elsewhere around the world are likely aware of it as a result of the exploits of the current mayor, Rob Ford.

Famous for his family, his impatient, right-wing attitude, his girth, his drinking, his drug habit, his lying and, now, his cancer, Ford has been a fixture on the TV news for the last few years.

Here is what journalist Marcus Gee had to say about him in a recent Op Ed piece in the Globe and Mail newspaper:

What makes him so annoying as a politician but at the same time so absorbing to watch is his bullheaded refusal to acknowledge obstacles in his path, even obstacles of fact or logic. He just forges on, knocking the obstacles aside like so many grey-haired ladies on the floor of city council.

I like the simile because it captures so much about Ford — and about the flavour of civic politics. Yes, Ford is a bully, although Gee opts for the more diplomatic term “bullheaded.” Yes, city council meetings are often filled with grey-haired ladies (and men, for that matter). And, yes, it is possible —and even darkly amusing—  to imagine Ford using his considerable girth to knock them over.

The election (which no longer includes Rob Ford because of his illness) is going to be interesting. Polls tell us that John Tory is going to win but it will be most intriguing to learn where Rob’s brother, Doug, is going to finish. Last, perhaps? I hope so. But never say that with the Fords.

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