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I'm writing a blog post about the impacts of an autoimmune disease. The sentence I'm trying to construct looks like this:

"The disease importunately follows me around like a god damn..."

I'm struggling to come up with something better than "... Puppy who lost his ball."

Any suggestions? The cruder, the better. A pop culture reference would be awesome!

I'm stuck.

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  • I just thought out Richard Sherman on Michael Crabtree... But there has to be better out there. What does Kanye West follow around? Commented Aug 20, 2020 at 0:03
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    "...follows me around like it's my shadow."
    – nnnnnn
    Commented Aug 20, 2020 at 0:33
  • Make something up. ... Like toilet paper stuck to your shoe.
    – Jim
    Commented Aug 20, 2020 at 14:19
  • Yes. ' ... like a lost puppy' is in the wrong vein. ' ... like the plague' is ludicrously close to the actuality. ' ... like a bad smell' involves bathos. '... like the rats of Hamelin' might work, but I can't offer it as an 'answer' on ELU as it's unidiomatic (though I've found an example on the internet, and it's a transparent metaphor) (subset similes). Commented May 19 at 16:02

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Though I would love to brainstorm with you about the crudest possible metaphors in private, I'll confine my comment here to how I would construct these:

  • Think of bad people.
  • Think of edgy, cool, or comical agents such as sharks or tax collectors.
  • Think of culturally relevant people (though your writing will age better if the subject is culturally relevant on a long term basis).
  • What are these people obsessed with, or negatively associated with in the media? Or what do they mainly do?
  • Who do these people love, harm, or hate? Where do these people find targets?
  • Can the target be adapted to a more comical form, such as changing "surfers" to "hipsters", "fish" to "baby seals"?
  • Additionally, consider anything that "stalks" such as predatory cats.

You will generate associations. Filter the associations for those that involve following. Pick one that fits your tone.

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    This was all great! Thank you for taking the time to write this all out. Commented Aug 21, 2020 at 18:32
  • Not focussed enough for ELU; writing advice belongs perhaps on Writing (though perhaps not focussed enough for there either) or a writers' discussion group. Commented May 19 at 15:53
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I am familiar with "Follows me around like a teenager handing me a mask."

For your purposes Reprovingly would work but is almost antique.

reprovingly - in a reproving or reproachful manner; "she spoke to him reprovingly"

Reproachfully is only slightly better. I'm kind of getting away from how it follows and more towards how it makes you feel; Miserably, Pathetically...

How about Accusingly. There! That's it for me.

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How about stalker? From M-W:

stalker: a person who stalks : a person who pursues someone obsessively and aggressively to the point of harassment

You example:

"The disease importunately follows me around like a god damn stalker."

Just to be clear, stalker is a metaphor for the autoimmune disease. You just can't make it go away. You can replace "goddamn" with a cruder adjective, if you'd like.

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I've never heard of the "teenager handing me a mask" saying. But in Australia, we've always used: "Follows you around like a bad smell"

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