This was a milestone week in the worlds of meteorology and metaphorology. We passed the ten million mark in the use of "Super Storm Sandy" as a metaphor for something really powerful.
The big event occurred on Wednesday night in Omro, Wisconsin when coach Bruce Boxleitner of the seventh grade St. Ignatius Bulldogs boys basketball team sought to rally his guys from a 21-point half-time deficit.
"Welcome to the Diocese League, ladies!" proclaimed Boxleitner. "You thought you were playing Hurricane Katrina out there, didn't you? Oh no, this ain't no Katrina. That St. Thomas Aquinas team out there? That's Super Storm Sandy you're up against tonight! You better just come to grips with that right now or go home!"
Narrowly missing the honor for the ten millionth mention was college junior Jason Jazinski. In a conversation with roommates late Wednesday afternoon, he reported on a date the previous evening with sophomore and chemistry classmate Sandra Hogelboom.
"She was Super Storm Sandy!" Jazinski declared to a round of high fives from his colleagues.
The National Academy of Cliché Sciences reports that "Super Storm Sandy" has now replaced "The Mother of All...." as the most over-used metaphor in existence. "The Mother of All..." was coined by none other than the late Saddam Hussein, who in response to the impending attack on his invasion force in Kuwait, famously stated that it would prompt "The Mother of All Battles." As it turned out, it wasn't so much, but the phrase found wide usage in all kinds of situations for years to come.
It became so popular among people who couldn't come up with anything more creative that it strayed far from its original meaning. The phrase was finally officially retired when Eleanor Holbrook of Lima, Ohio described her second place Allen County Fair peach cobbler as "the mother of all peach cobblers."
The National Academy's Henry Higgenbotham, head of the Metaphor Division, explains: "'The Mother of All...' was uttered at a time before Twitter and other social media. So, it spread slowly around water coolers and such, whereas, today, 'Super Storm Sandy' has vaulted into nausea inducing over-usage within weeks of the actual event. In fact, many of us here at the Academy were quite sick of it within days. Remarkable."
Meanwhile, real Super Storm Sandy victim Vinnie Tuscolino of the Rockaways was not impressed by the popularity of the hurricane as metaphor. "What do I think about it? Are you askin' me? What do I think about it? I'll tell you what I think about it. I don't give a #&*$# about no *&%** metaphor! That #$#@%$ metaphor destroyed my house and now my family's living in a gym for a month before $#%*%$ Christmas!"
Higgenbotham sympathized. "Very often the overuse of metaphors can put a strain on a family even in normal times. But this over use is, well, the Super Storm Sandy of metaphorical overkill. Oh dear. I did it again, didn't I?"
Have a good weekend, kids.