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cultural vandal | by maryann johanson

question of the weekend: What could “fox in the garden” be a euphemism or a metaphor for?

fox in the garden

The other day I posted a photo of a fox in the back garden of the house where I’m living at the moment. I made a joke about “fox in the garden” not being a metaphor in this case, because there actually was a fox in the garden, which prompted Mara Katz to post this comment:

What would “fox in the garden” be a metaphor for? I get “fox in the henhouse…”

I’ve never heard “fox in the garden” used as a metaphor or a euphemism — it just sounded like it could be one. So let’s make that happen:

What could “fox in the garden” be a euphemism or a metaphor for?

I’m thinking it sounds sorta like “snake in the grass,” only less insidious. Foxes are urban scavengers in the U.K., filling the same ecological niche as raccoons or possums in some parts of the U.S., coming out of hiding at night to rummage through garbage bins. (The one I photographed was nosing around the recycling bins; now that food gets recycled separately instead of going in the trash, the council has supplied a food bin with a special fox-proof locking mechanism. So that visiting fox didn’t find a meal.) Some people find them a nuisance, but others — including me — like them and find them a pleasant reminder that even in the city, nature is all around us. So perhaps I might use the metaphor this way:

Jon Stewart is a fox in the garden of American politics.

Your turn…

(The photo above isn’t mine: it’s by M. Gudgeon, and I snatched it from Wonders & Marvels.)

(If you have a suggestion for a QOTD/QOTW, feel free to email me. Responses to this QOTW sent by email will be ignored; please post your responses here.)

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