More figurative language from Taffy Brodesser-Akner

Reading time: Less than 2 minutes

I like to share interesting pieces of figurative language I encounter in my reading. I write today about a series of metaphors and similes from Taffy Brodesser-Akner….

I have a friend who used to tell me his favourite movie — by an unbelievably overwhelming margin — was Top Gun. He was not the kind of guy who usually watched that type of film but he saw it something like 45 times. I lost count.

I also lost track of what happened to co-star Val Kilmer, (pictured above, at Cannes in 2005) the good-looking actor who played Iceman. In fact, I hadn’t thought of him in decades, until I read a recent profile by Taffy Brodesser-Akner in the New York Times.

I was only about 750 words into the story before I started asking myself, ‘Who wrote this? It’s so well written.’ At that point I guessed Taffy Brodesser-Akner because her style is unique — self-revelatory, engaging, filled with figurative language. Here are my favourite examples:

  • He can still squeeze air up through his windpipe, however, and past the hole that was cut into his throat and the tracheostomy tube, in a way that makes him somewhat understood — not very, but somewhat. The sound is something between a squeak and a voiceless roar.
  • All Val Kilmer’s stories are like that, told with that same dash of preordained kismet.
  • Elsewhere were Apple computers from the 1980s and 1990s dipped in glossy red paint, a tumbleweed bathed in gold paint.
  • But there was something familiar about it, like a faint knocking that came from inside me: It was the special kind of optimism that maybe only the faithful have, the enduring belief that some force will come along and save us from the centrifuge of despair we’ve found ourselves in
  • It was so funny, and such a strange thing to see this extraordinarily handsome young kid — a jaw like the sharp-cut bottom half of a stop sign, that true-Swede golden hair, a Cupid’s bow that lays in shadow of the plump convex swoop of his upper lip — who also seemed to be in on the joke.
  • But once Hollywood got a look at him, he was on too-fast a conveyor belt to safely step off.
  • What I also remember is Iceman’s snapping his gum with his mighty jaw in nonresponse to Maverick’s admitting that yes, he’s dangerous.
  • Shortly after, Kilmer was spotted wearing scarves, his head slightly askew, as if his neck couldn’t properly hold it up.
  • He’s 61 now. He is still so handsome. His hair is still blond. His eyes are still the unimaginable green of Oregon grass right after the rain. His jaw is still the main event — the nasolabial area of his cheek bookending the inferior jowl so that his superior jowl appears sunken and his face takes on romantic geological proportions.

Read the entire piece if you want to learn what’s happened to Val Kilmer.