In the manner of a Kennedy…

Word count: 286 words

Reading time: About 1 minute

I like to share interesting pieces of figurative language I encounter in my reading. I write today about an article on Lyme Disease by Michael Specter, published recently in the New Yorker.

I can remember pulling a tick from the leg of one of my daughters when she was two years old. I was too stupid to know the care you should take when removing a tick. In fact, I was too stupid to know it was a tick! (I live in a city that is blessedly tick-free. We had just been on holiday in the country.)

Fortunately, my daughter didn’t get sick but the incident sparked my lifelong interest in ticks and Lyme disease. As a result, I read an article by American journalist Michael Specter (pictured above), published in the July 1/13 New Yorker, with more than typical interest.Headlined The Lyme Wars, the story outlines all aspects of the disease including that its incidence is growing rapidly. In 2009, there were three times more cases (38,000) than in 1991. Alarmingly, most researchers agree that the true number of infections is five to ten times higher.

That said, I don’t have the expertise to hold the article up for scientific kudoes. But I know I liked the writing! Here was my favourite image, a metaphor I found impossible to get out of my mind:

He has an air of distinguished nonchalance, and his brown hair is tousled in the manner of a Kennedy. 

Isn’t it true that we all know what Kennedys look like? The thick, wavy hair, the chipmunk cheeks, the Cheshire cat grins? And Specter captures all that in just six words: in the manner of a Kennedy.

Love it!

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