The only thing that stinks more than an onion is the onion metaphor. You know the one, about peeling away the layers. Oh, sure, it tries to hide itself, differentiating in little ways, but it’s all the same odiferous slop: “It’s like peeling away the layers of an onion”; “Peel away all the layers of an onion, and what do you have?”
You have tears in your eyes, and hands that smell for three days.
I must confess, I actually remember kind of liking the onion metaphor the first time I heard it. I thought it was deep. However, it began to lose its luster around the seven trillionth time. The metaphor is so old, I’m surprised writers still use it. The donkey in Shrek uses it (and I actually cheered when Shrek later referred to him as “onion boy”) and last night we heard it yet again when we finally got around to watching the movie The Blind Side. Now I guess, in defense of the screenwriter’s use of, “She's an onion... You have to peel her back one layer at a time,” in that movie, that it’s based on a true story and maybe Mr. Tuohy did have a habit of saying that about Mrs. Tuohy. But let me tell you, I don’t think I would be too fond of my husband referring to me as any root vegetable, least of all an onion.
I did find myself crying through half of The Blind Side, though. But I don’t think it had anything to do with onions or wrongful use of metaphor. A psychologist might say it had to do with the adoption theme. I found my daughter tearing up, too. The story hit a little close to home. From the kid that no one-else wanted to the sharp-tongued mom who lashed out at anyone hurting her cubs (Speaking of tired metaphors. My bad.) From the eighteen-dollar salads I can no longer abide or (in our new recessionary spending regime, instituted by my husband, whom I now fondly refer to as the "Quicken Nazi") afford anymore, to the people who were my friends and even some family members, that simply didn’t “get it,” it all rang true. I certainly hope my tears didn’t have anything to do with regret for adopting a young Russian girl, as opposed to a prospective NFL football player.
My tears always bring concern from my kids, which is so thoughtful and sweet, it’s hard to believe I find it in my heart to mess with them.
“I just love cooking for my family so much,” I’ve been know to melodramatically sniff when they come into the kitchen and find me in tears, before they notice the pile of chopped onions in front of me, which causes much eye-rolling but usually gets a laugh.
Three days of smelly hands isn’t too much of a price to pay for some unsolicited empathy from your children. Especially if it gets a laugh. Even if the laugh is as thin and fragile as the skin of an onion.
Sorry, but you know me. I couldn’t help but make a stink.