As someone who writes, this is a confession I should probably not make. But here it is: I have major problems with analogies.
I don’t mean the kind on verbal college admission tests, such as this:
Butterfly is to caterpillar as frog is to:
A. fish B. amphibian C. tadpole D. toad
I can follow that logic easily. And I have learned not to get overly distracted by the imagery in commonplace idioms such as “raining cats and dogs.” Well, almost.
But I am talking about speakers who use long-winded analogies. By the time the speaker returns to the original point, they have lost me completely. I am concentrating solely on the analogy.
And I am referring to advertising as well. Generally, I am not subjected to much television advertising. The fast-forward button is extremely effective in eliminating it.
But, while working out at the gym, I have no such option. Which brings me to Swiss cheese, and the holes in it.
Some branch of Humana, I’d tell you which but it escapes me, is running an adverstisement focusing on three wedges of Swiss cheese. Some man keeps telling me to buy the cheese on the left, representing some Humana product with no holes in its coverage. But that cheese looks like flavorless baby Swiss cheese. I really prefer the cheese on the right with big holes on it. For some reason, I have always thought holey cheese tasted better than namby-pamby baby Swiss. I know logically the holes themselves have no flavor, but the cheese around them does.
Surely Humana has focus groups, so I guess I’m the only one who can’t fathom the wisdom of the analogy. All they have accomplished is sending me to the refrigerator to slice some Jarlsberg and exam its holes.
Maybe that is the whole point. Maybe the advertisement actually is extremely clever product placement by the Dairy Council?