CHARLESTON, W.Va. — In short order, Gov. Jim Justice has become known for extended metaphors he uses when he speaks.

Dogs enter almost every conversation. He’s talked about rattlesnakes. He’s described a student walking around with a raccoon. He’s talked about mayonnaise sandwiches and nothingburgers.

On Wednesday, as the governor spoke to the House of Delegates, the imagery was a crocodile.

Jim Justice

Justice used the metaphor to describe the difficult situation the state finds itself in. Somehow, popular chain restaurants also became part of the discussion, apparently as a way to encourage lawmakers to worry about the trouble at hand.

“You’ve got your leg jammed down a crocodile’s mouth, and absolutely you’re trying to figure out whether you’re going to Wendy’s or Applebee’s tonight,” Justice said.

“You best better worry about the crocodile that’s about to inhale you. Because that’s what you’ve got.”

A few minutes later, the governor re-upped on the crocodile metaphor, saying the state needs to make bold moves if it hopes to change its perilous financial situation. He was trying to put lawmakers at ease about any fiscal uncertainty his approach could create in future years.

The governor also mixed in a quick reference to a male appendage.

“We’ve got our leg in a crocodile’s mouth,” Justice said. “Maybe it works, and if it works we go straight to the roof. We do wonderful. If it doesn’t work and we’ve got our foot in the crocodile’s mouth in 2021 or 2022.

“But right now we’ve got our whole leg in the crocodile’s mouth. And if you’re men and he gets ready to bite, it’s going to hurt more than your leg. If you hear what I said.”

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