Best Simile

Literary writing often flows with similes and metaphors.  Also, not so literary writing.  And, of course, poetry.  Here is the best simile I’ve yet encountered, and it comes from the pen of a critic, not a “creative” writer:

“…tombstones cried out of the earth, like teeth around a scream.”

This is from John Leonard upon visiting the Jewish Cemetery in Prague.  (He was writing about Vaclav Havel, a poet and playwright, as well as Czechoslovakia’s last president and the Czech Republic’s first president.)

What is the best simile you’ve ever read, or written?  And what do you think of my assertion that the writing of critics, as critics, is not “creative?”

AN OVERNIGHT SENSATION

ONCE AGAIN, THANKS TO MY NEWSMAN FRIEND TOM COCHRUN FOR SENDING ME THE FOLLOWING LINK TO A RECENT AND ENJOYABLE NEW YORK TIMES ARTICLE ON OLD-TIME NEWSPAPER FILMS, STARRING THE LIKES OF BOGART, BETTE DAVIS, BURT LANCASTER, CARY GRANT, ROSALIND RUSSELL, KIRK DOUGLAS, JIMMY STEWART, JACK WEBB, HOFFMAN/REDFORD, AND EVEN BORIS KARLOFF.

[WANT TO KNOW WHY I’M WRITING THIS IN ALL CAPS?  ‘CAUSE THAT’S THE WAY STORIES CAME OVER THE TELETYPE — AP, REUTERS, UPI.]

REMINDS ME OF NIGHTS AT UPI—8PM TO 4AM, EAST 42ND ST., NYC—AND MY BRIEF CAREER IN JOURNALISM HANDLING SUCH HEART-POUNDING NEWS AS THE FINAL RACE RESULTS FROM RUIDOSO DOWNS, NEW MEXICO.  THERE WERE BITS OF EXCITEMENT, THOUGH.  ONE NIGHT A GUY IN A CANARY YELLOW SPORTS COAT [HEY, THIS WAS THE MID-1960S!] COMES INTO THE UPI OFFICE—ENTIRE 11TH FLOOR, NO INSIDE WALLS, ONLY ROUND CONCRETE COLUMNS HOLDING UP THE CEILING— HANDS ME A BIG, THICK MANILA ENVELOPE BEARING THE NATIONAL FOOTBALL LEAGUE LOGO.

OUR MAN IN THE SLOT (OVERNIGHT EDITOR) IS BUSY DOING THE NEXT DAY’S NEW YORK TIMES CROSSWORD PUZZLE, SO HE DOESN’T ASK WHAT’S IN THE ENVELOPE OR WHO IT’S FROM.  TELLS ME TO WRITE 30 COLUMN INCHES BECAUSE IT’S A SLOW NIGHT.  TURNS OUT IT’S THE ANNOUNCEMENT OF THE NFL-AFL MERGER, A VERY BIG DEAL FOR THE HORDES OF CITIZENS INTERESTED IN PROFESSIONAL FOOTBALL.

SO, I’M TYPING AWAY, SALIVATING ALL OVER THE UPRIGHT BLACK UNDERWOOD’S KEYS, WHEN MILT RICHMAN, UPI’S TOP SPORTS WRITER, REACHES OVER MY SHOULDER, RIPS THE PAPER OFF THE TYPEWRITER PLATEN, AND SCOOPS UP THE ENVELOPE AND CONTENTS, SAYING NOT A WORD, BUT SETTLING INTO HIS OWN SACRED HIGH-BACKED CHAIR TO POUND OUT THE SPORTS STORY OF THE YEAR…OR MONTH…OR WEEK.

I COULDA BEEN A CHAMPION.