Onion Opine

iStock onion1.jpg

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, is 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.


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  • "I just love cooking for my family so much"
    I'm going to have to try that line, while chopping onions of course. :)

    Read more: http://www.chicagonow.com/blogs/a-city-mom/2010/11/onion-opine.html#ixzz154tipYh8

  • In reply to jtithof:

    Let me know how it goes! (My kids tell me the line never gets old. I don't know where they get their sarcasm ;-)

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