A Guide to Cliches

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Departing from simile on the metaphor mainland, the Fine Line ferry crosses the Dire Straits to the Isle of Clichés three times a week. In fair weather, passengers can often catch a glimpse of both Salient Point and Talking Point, the rugged Brink of Disaster and the vast expanse of Glacial Indifference.

When it reaches its destination, the Fine Line docks at Anyport, which provides a sheltered anchorage and harbors no grudges. The road to Success, the bustling commercial hub of Clichés, is not well marked and often has bumpy twists and turns. The works of Succession artists and craftsmen are displayed at the Peanut Gallery. Especially thought provoking is a collection of finely spun tapestries, the so-called Webs of Deceit; a delicately executed watercolor mural, Tissue of Lies, which depicts historic happenings associated with Success; and several clever examples of locally manufactured windows of opportunity.

From Success a circuit tour may be made by following the new but often trash-littered Information Highway. Worth a stop, at 25.2 miles, is the charming village of Better, on the commons of which is the reputedly therapeutic Bode’s Well. A short but not recommended side trip leads down a slippery slope from Better to Bad to Worse, a fetid hamlet on the Slough of Despond.

Continuing westward, the highway ascends through the Credibility, Gender and Generation gaps. Shortly thereafter, the traveler is rewarded with views of the spectacular Pride-Before Falls, where the river of Regret cuts through the heights of Folly. Atop this escarpment is a nexus of hiking trails. The deceptively smooth and easy path of least resistance leads directly into the mountains of Debt, where eerie margin calls are often heard.

After crossing the stream of Consciousness, the highway approaches Significant Development, a suburb in the planned community of Interest. Above, constructed on high moral grounds, is the reservoir of Good Will. This impoundment is shallow and often much reduced by evaporation during the season of discontent. Thereafter, the landscape changes dramatically as arid areas of Concern loom large. These barrens were once the stronghold of the Nadir of Guilt, a legendary warlord who, armed only with sharp retorts, was hoisted with his own petard in 1711.

Beyond Concern, the road to Oblivion veers to the left. Traffic on it is notoriously heavy. Prudent travelers avoid this byway at all costs and continue directly on to the coastal nature preserve at Boiling Point, where frequently seen species include the horned dilemma, unmitigated ass, yellow-bellied skunk, sour puss, superior smirk and flashy upstart.

The Last Resort is adjacent to the sanctuary. A local legend has it that if, while staying there, the weary traveler hears a swan song, he or she will never return to the Isle of Clichés.

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