Things and Stuff: Rick Grimes’ Limited Vocabulary

My recent metaphor comparing the reading of Atlas Shrugged to a competitive food competition (okay, it was more of a simile than a metaphor) reminded me just how awesome figurative language can be. That’s not really surprising coming from a writer and professional communicator, I realize, but still. Metaphors are probably my favorite kind of linguistic trope, right up there with neologism and anaphora. (Here is a handy link to

This made me think about The Walking Dead. Rick Grimes isn’t exactly known for his discursive eloquence.  If there’s one thing the zombie apocalypse needs, it’s an English professor. I mean, really—so many of Rick Grimes’ problems could have been solved with better communication. Not that I’m blaming him—really, he’s a product of his environment. Let’s face it: The guy is a rural Georgia law enforcement officer (and a cuckolded one at that, though I doubt he knows that word.) At best, he got a C in high school English. Plus, he’s got a lot on his plate as a single father keeping track of his angsty teenage son, Carl.

The issue is that he’s now the leader of the free world. As a leader, he really needs a speech writer. Perhaps a more well-planned speech would have enabled Rick and The Governor to reach some sort of arrangement, and Hershel might have kept his head. Oh, sorry…SPOILER ALERT…Hershel dies. Rick is always talking about what’s best for “the group” so he’s clearly concerned about his constituency, but he doesn’t seem to know how to talk to them or about them. The Governor may have been an insane jerk, but he had that Reagan-like verbal charisma going for him. Even Andrea bought into it, and she was the one with the most education. (Don’t get me started on Andrea’s character arc though… turning interesting, capable female characters into annoying idiots...grumble grumble…) The point is, Rick needs some help with his communication skills.

With that in mind, here is a list of synonyms for “things” and “stuff” that Rick Grimes (or whoever ends up in charge when Rick inevitably gets eaten) may find useful for maintaining control during the post-apocalyptic reformation: Try using an actual noun that describes what the hell you’re talking about, like “can of pudding” or “12-gauge shotgun” or “weeping silently in a corner while talking to ghosts.” These are obviously just a few examples. You can substitute your own as the situation merits.

In summation, Rick Grimes is a cuckold with a high school education and a limited vocabulary, the writers of The Walking Dead are total dicks, and figurative language is better than chocolate. (See what I did there?)