I spent some of last week arranging a piano accompaniment for my daughter's musical performance this weekend. It was a hymn-like song from the 19th century, and I attempted to make it sound a little more contemporary, less churchy. That effort brought to mind a great simile from the Pat Conroy novel "The Prince of Tides." In this scene, the young protagonist's lively and plain-speaking grandmother bickers with a stodgy funeral director over a neighbor's body in an open casket.
"He looks like he just nodded off for a nap, doesn't he?" Mr. Ogletree said proudly.
"Naw, he looks dead as a stump," my grandmother answered.
"He had a full life," Mr. Ogletree intoned, his voice as serious as D-flat major on an organ.
Pure simile gold! The booming, faux majesty of a major chord in a stuffy church is just the note to strike in that paragraph.