Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Liklihood (for Likelihood)

As you probably recall from English class, a simile is when you say something is like another thing; a metaphor is when you say it is the other thing. One of my favorite recent examples of both these figures of speech occurs in a Bollywood-style dance number performed by Raj and his secret crush (and buddy Howard's girlfriend) Bernadette on the sitcom The Big Bang Theory. It forms the centerpiece of Raj's current, if unlikely to be realized, erotic fantasy. Waving silk scarves around with a certain provocative modesty and swaying to the music, they each sing their lines in turn. Raj: "Like a wild elephant, I am trumpeting my love for you..." Bernadette: "Like a hidden flower, my sweet fragrance comes into view..." (Speaking of writing, there's a strong likelihood our former teachers would all mark off for that last line, pointing out that fragrance is something you smell, not see, but I rather like it anyway. It reminds me of a sensory disorder known as synesthesia, in which people can "see" sounds, for example, or find that letters and numbers each have a specific color associated with them.) The song continues: "My heart burns for you like a sun at noon ... My desert welcomes you like the rain in monsoon ... You are my heart ... My universe ... You are my heart ... My universe..." And ends with the would-be couple passionately crooning in unison: "My un-i-verse..." As Raj, who earlier had been having some doubts about his sexuality, snaps out of his reverie in the college cafeteria, he wryly observes: "Dance number aside, I am so not gay." (In actual fact, actor Kunal Nayyar, who plays Rajesh Koothrappali, is married to the 2006 "Femina Miss India," Neha Kapur, who studied classical Indian dance from an early age.) Liklihood appears ten times in OhioLINK, and 144 times in WorldCat today. I'd say it's likely that this "moderate probability" typo will be found in your own catalog as well.

(Actor Kunal Nayyar at Comic-Con in San Diego, California, July 24, 2009, from Wikimedia Commons.)

Carol Reid

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