The Wonderful Wizard of Metaphors

While having lunch with my good friend Scott, he told me about a recent metaphor he used at work. His company is planning to build a new corporate office and seeking ideas from all levels within the organization. He suggested that they should make it like the Emerald City from The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, not literally, but capture the essence of a fabulous place that's bright and colorful where everyone feels like singing and dancing. He was imagining that scene in the movie where they enter and see the horse of the different color for the first time.

"Then I went on to wikipedia to get some specifics to add to my metaphor..." he went on as I started laughing because I had just read the book with my children and knew exactly where this was headed. In the book, the Emerald City isn't quite so beautiful and shiny. Read for yourself.


"I am the Guardian of the Gates, and since you demand to see the Great Oz I must take you to his Palace. But first you must put on the spectacles."

"Why?" asked Dorothy.

"Because if you did not wear spectacles the brightness and glory of the Emerald City would blind you. Even those who live in the City must wear spectacles night and day. They are all locked on, for Oz so ordered it when the City was first built, and I have the only key that will unlock them."

He opened the big box, and Dorothy saw that it was filled with spectacles of every size and shape. All of them had green glasses in them. The Guardian of the Gates found a pair that would just fit Dorothy and put them over her eyes. There were two golden bands fastened to them that passed around the back of her head, where they were locked together by a little key that was at the end of a chain the Guardian of the Gates wore around his neck. When they were on, Dorothy could not take them off had she wished, but of course she did not wish to be blinded by the glare of the Emerald City, so she said nothing.


Even with eyes protected by the green spectacles, Dorothy and her friends were at first dazzled by the brilliancy of the wonderful City. The streets were lined with beautiful houses all built of green marble and studded everywhere with sparkling emeralds. They walked over a pavement of the same green marble, and where the blocks were joined together were rows of emeralds, set closely, and glittering in the brightness of the sun. The window panes were of green glass; even the sky above the City had a green tint, and the rays of the sun were green.


"Then I thought, as the country was so green and beautiful, I would call it the Emerald City; and to make the name fit better I put green spectacles on all the people, so that everything they saw was green."

"But isn't everything here green?" asked Dorothy.

"No more than in any other city," replied Oz; "but when you wear green spectacles, why of course everything you see looks green to you. The Emerald City was built a great many years ago, for I was a young man when the balloon brought me here, and I am a very old man now. But my people have worn green glasses on their eyes so long that most of them think it really is an Emerald City, and it certainly is a beautiful place, abounding in jewels and precious metals, and every good thing that is needed to make one happy."

So, to the people who read the book, Scott was unwittingly suggesting that his company build a sham headquarters that would create a facade of corporate success. I'm guessing they loved the idea.