I asked whether there is any other animal which, like the coot, shows up in
more than one common simile. A reader offers the following:
—Eats like a horse, strong as a horse.
—Eats like a bird, free as a bird.
—Strong as an ox, dumb as an ox.
—Fat as a pig, eats like a pig (admittedly, kinda related).
The coot is still ahead, though. Readers from various regions have assured
me that as well as being bald as a coot and crazy as a coot, you can also be
drunk as a coot and (oh boy) queer as a coot.
You may also, of course, assuming you survive your baldness, craziness,
drinking problem and queerness, end up as an old coot.