White Collar delivers a great simile

Word count: 251 words

Reading time: About 1 minute

I read widely, watch movies, listen to the radio and see the occasional TV show. Here, you’ll find an interesting piece of figurative language I’ve encountered recently.

I don’t generally have much of a taste for police programs on TV but I’ve been captivated by the four-season FBI drama White Collar. And it’s not just because of the startling good looks of actor Matt Bomer starring as former con man Neil Caffrey. Less of a cop procedural and more of a character study of interesting characters, the show boasts clever, often amusing scripts, terrific acting and some great dialogue. The character who frequently gets the best lines is named Mozzie and he’s played by actor Willie Garson (pictured above.)

Here’s a line — a similie — Mozzie delivers in the second season:

“Life is much more manageable when thought of as a scavenger hunt as opposed to a surprise party.”

The show attributes the comment to American songwriter Jimmy Buffet, and my own Google research shows this source to be correct. I like the way Buffet’s expression compares and contrasts two completely different  life events and, surprisingly,  favours one that seems the less fun.

But it’s the prefix “life is much more manageable” (not “more fun”) that makes the expression work. I like figurative language that not only makes me, the reader/listener, sit up and pay attention but also that makes me say to myself, “you know, weirdly enough, that writer is correct!”

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