Allusion


Allusion (ə-ˈlü-zhən):[1] A reference/representation of/to a well-known person, place, event, literary work, or work of art . . . “a brief reference, explicit or indirect, to a person, place or event, or to another literary work or passage”. It is left to the reader or hearer to make the connection . . . ; an overt allusion is a misnomer for what is simply a reference.[2]


It was like WWII and Woodstock—like Audie Murphy and Jimi Hendrix rolled into one. It was like Polartec and Marino, a Chevy and a lawnmower, a talking Raven and a Great White Whale, a Schwinn and a skateboard—I could go on and on. There’s a gap. There’s conflict. There’s the impending end. There’s being alone—all alone like “Mr. Lonely.”

But I can’t stop making similes, like a baker making scones, like a poet writing tomes, like Geppetto. I didn’t pay attention to your complaints. I was like a rock, like cement, like a dry sponge. Finally, when you hit me on the butt with a rolled up newspaper, I tried to wean myself of my irritating habit, like taking a shower to wash away the dirt, like withdrawal from heroin, like moving from Georgia to New York. But it didn’t work.

Now, you’re looking for a ticket to ride: like a cowboy waving his hat and heading into the sunset, like Napoleon’s retreat from Russia, like Sherman’s March to the sea. I wish I could stop, like a car with functioning brakes, like a plugged-up drain, like Sisyphus on a vacation break.

Two weeks later . . .

Hi! I went through Glenn Campbell Desimilification Therapy. It is a 2 week program promising to ‘clear’ you of a desire and willingness to incessantly promulgate similes. Accordingly, no more similes for me! Here’s the key: When I feel a simile coming, I yell “Howdy” and, if necessary, I say to myself “I can hear you singing in the wires” and clap my hands three times. It looks a little odd, but it works. Glenn Campbell developed the simile clearing method after Tanya Tucker castigated him for excessive ‘similizing’ in the Glenn Campbell Show’s opening monologue. So, in lieu of the monologue, he started yelling Howdy, singing “Wichita Lineman” and briefly applauding his own performance. Similizing fans all over America discovered that Campbell’s strategy worked for them too, and that a single line from “Whichita Lineman” worked just as well as singing the entire song.

So honey, I’m cured! Without you, I’m like a dog without bone—damn—Howdy, I hear you singing in the wires, clap, clap, clap. There! All straightened out. You know, I need you more than want you, and I want you for all time. I’m not from Wichita and I can’t climb a telephone pole, but you can climb into my lap.


1. Phonetic transcription courtesy of Miriam-Webster’s On-Line Dictionaryhttp://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/allusion <3/6/08>.

2. Definition courtesy of Wikipediahttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Allusion <3/6/08>.

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