Winners of the Washington Post Style Invitational Bad Simile and Metaphor Contest

by on 07/11/08 at 11:46 am

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Fourth Runner-Up: Oooo, he smells bad, she thought, as bad as Calvin Klein’s Obsession would smell if it were called Enema and was made from spoiled Spamburgers instead of natural floral fragrances. (Jennifer Frank, Washington, and Jimmy Pontzer, Sterling)

Third Runner-Up: The baseball player stepped out of the box and spit like a fountain statue of a Greek god that scratches itself a lot and spits brown, rusty tobacco water and refuses to sign autographs for all the little Greek kids unless they pay him lots of drachmas. (Ken Krattenmaker, Landover Hills)

Second Runner-Up: I felt a nameless dread. Well, there probably is a long German name for it, like Geschpooklichkeit or something, but I don’t speak German. Anyway, it’s a dread that nobody knows the name for, like those little square plastic gizmos that close your bread bags. I don’t know the name for those either. (Jack Bross, Chevy Chase)

First Runner-Up: She was as unhappy as when someone puts your cake out in the rain, and all the sweet green icing flows down and then you lose the recipe, and on top of that you can’t sing worth a damn. (Joseph Romm, Washington)

And the winner of the framed Scarlet Fever sign: His fountain pen was so expensive it looked as if someone had grabbed the pope, turned him upside down and started writing with the tip of his big pointy hat. (Jeffrey Carl, Richmond)

Honorable Mentions

After 15 years of marriage, sex had become an experience devoid of genuine excitement and emotion, like when you’re stuck in traffic trying to get downtown on the Fourth of July and have to listen to the announcer describe the fireworks on the radio. (Joseph Romm, Washington)

He was as tall as a six-foot-three-inch tree. (Jack Bross, Chevy Chase)

The hailstones leaped from the pavement, just like maggots when you fry them in hot grease. (Gary F. Hevel, Silver Spring)

The politician was gone but unnoticed, like the period after the Dr. on a Dr Pepper can. (Wayne Goode, Madison, Ala.)

He spoke with the wisdom that can only come from experience, like a guy who went blind because he looked at a solar eclipse without one of those boxes with a pinhole in it and now goes around the country speaking at high schools about the dangers of looking at a solar eclipse without one of those boxes with a pinhole in it. (Joseph Romm, Washington)

She caught your eye like one of those pointy hook latches that used to dangle from screen doors and would fly up whenever you banged the door open. (Rich Murphy, Fairfax Station)

She was sending me more mixed signals than a dyslexic third-base coach. (Jack Bross, Chevy Chase)

She was clever all right, like a woman who is listed in the Guinness Book of World Records as having the world’s highest IQ and whose last name just happens to be “Savant.” Yeah, maybe too clever by half. (Joseph Romm, Washington)

He was developing a reputation in the world of lint-collecting, which was kind of like being the most famous man in Woodbridge. (Jack Bross, Chevy Chase)

The little boat gently drifted across the pond exactly the way a bowling ball wouldn’t. (Russell Beland, Springfield)

McBride fell 12 stories, hitting the pavement like a Hefty bag filled with vegetable soup. (Paul Sabourin, Silver Spring)

Having O.J. try on the bloody glove was a stroke of genius unseen since the debut of Goober on “Mayberry R.F.D.” (John Kammer, Herndon)

From the attic came an unearthly howl. The whole scene had an eerie, surreal quality, like when you’re on vacation in another city and “Jeopardy!” comes on at 7 p.m. instead of 7:30. (Roy Ashley, Washington)

Her hair glistened in the rain like nose hair after a sneeze. (Chuck Smith, Woodbridge)

Her eyes were like two brown circles with big black dots in the center. (Russell Beland, Springfield)

Her vocabulary was as bad as, like, whatever. (Jennifer Hart, Arlington)

Bob was as perplexed as a hacker who means to access T:flw.quid 55328.com\aaakk/ch@ung but gets T:\flw.quid \aaakk/ch@ung by mistake. (Ken Krattenmaker, Landover Hills)

Her date was pleasant enough, but she knew that if her life was a movie this guy would be buried in the credits as something like “Second Tall Man.” (Russell Beland, Springfield)

Long separated by cruel fate, the star-crossed lovers raced across the grassy field toward each other like two freight trains, one having left Cleveland at 6:36 p.m. traveling at 55 mph, the other from Topeka at 4:19 p.m. at a speed of 35 mph. (Jennifer Hart, Arlington)

Upon completing kindergarten, Lance felt the same sense of accomplishment the Unabomber feels every time he successfully blows up another college professor. (Anonymous, No City Please)

They lived in a typical suburban neighborhood with picket fences that resembled Nancy Kerrigan’s teeth. (Paul Kocak, Syracuse, N.Y.)

John and Mary had never met. They were like two hummingbirds who had also never met. (Russell Beland, Springfield)

The thunder was ominous-sounding, much like the sound of a thin sheet of metal being shaken backstage during the storm scene in a play. (Barbara Fetherolf, Alexandria)

He was the size and shape of a man much larger than him. (Sarah Worcester, Bowie)

His thoughts tumbled in his head, making and breaking alliances like underpants in a dryer without Cling Free. (Chuck Smith, Woodbridge)

The red brick wall was the color of a brick-red Crayola crayon. (Jennifer Frank and Jimmy Pontzer, Washington and Sterling)

After sending in my entries for the Style Invitational, I feel relieved and apprehensive, like a little boy who has just wet his bed. (Wayne Goode, Madison, Ala.)

Winning the Style Invitational is sort of like finding a flaming bag of dog poop on your porch. In fact, some weeks it’s EXACTLY like that. (Elden Carnahan, Laurel)

That Chuck Smith! He slays me! He’s a regular O.J. (Tom Witte, Gaithersburg)

And Last: Sometimes I get really annoyed when entries get published and they don’t even follow the rules of the contest. (Joseph Romm, Washington)

Analogies that were too close to good to be bad.

He fell for her like his heart was a mob informant and she was the East River. (Brian Broadus, Charlottesville)

Even in his last years, grandpappy had a mind like a steel trap, only one that had been left out so long, it had rusted shut. (Sandra Hull, Arlington)

The door had been forced, as forced as the dialogue during the interview portion of “Jeopardy!” (Jean Sorensen, Herndon)

Shots rang out, as shots are wont to do. (Jerry Pannullo, Kensington)

He regarded death with hesitant dread, as if he were a commedia dell’arte troupe and death was an audience of pipe-fitters. (Brian Broadus, Charlottesville)

The plan was simple, like my brother-in-law Phil. But unlike Phil, this plan just might work. (Malcolm Fleschner, Arlington)

Now, back to the gloriously bad analogies.

Sixth Runner-Up: The young fighter had a hungry look, the kind you get from not eating for a while. (Malcolm Fleschner, Arlington)

Fifth Runner-Up: “Oh, Jason, take me!” she panted, her breasts heaving like a college freshman on $1-a-beer night. (Bonnie Speary Devore, Gaithersburg)

Fourth Runner-Up: He was as lame as a duck. Not the metaphorical lame duck, either, but a real duck that was actually lame. Maybe from stepping on a land mine or something. (John Kammer, Herndon)

Third-Runner-Up: Her artistic sense was exquisitely refined, like someone who can tell butter from I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter. (Barbara Collier, Garrett Park)

Second Runner-Up: She had a deep, throaty, genuine laugh, like that sound a dog makes just before it throws up. (Susan Reese, Arlington)

First Runner-Up: It came down the stairs looking very much like something no one had ever seen before. (Marian Carlsson, Lexington, Va.)

And the winner of the Smorked Beef Rectum: The knife was as sharp as the tone used by Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Tex.) in her first several points of parliamentary procedure made to Rep. Henry Hyde (R-Ill.) in the House Judiciary Committee hearings on the impeachment of President William Jefferson Clinton. (J.F. Knowles, Springfield)

Honorable Mentions

The ballerina rose gracefully en pointe and extended one slender leg behind her, like a dog at a fire hydrant. (Jennifer Hart, Arlington)

The revelation that his marriage of 30 years had disintegrated because of his wife’s infidelity came as a rude shock, like a surcharge at a formerly surcharge-free ATM. (Paul J. Kocak, Syracuse)

The dandelion swayed in the gentle breeze like an oscillating electric fan set on medium. (Ralph Scott, Washington)

It was an American tradition, like fathers chasing kids around with power tools. (Brian Broadus, Charlottesville)

Her lips were red and full, like tubes of blood drawn by an inattentive phlebotomist. (Greg Dobbins, Arlington)

He felt like he was being hunted down like a dog, in a place that hunts dogs, I suppose. (Russ Beland, Springfield)

The lamp just sat there, like an inanimate object. (Nanci Phillips Sharp, Gaithersburg)

You know how in “Rocky” he prepares for the fight by punching sides of raw beef? Well, yesterday it was as cold as that meat locker he was in. (Alan S. Jarvis, Fredericksburg)

He was deeply in love. When she spoke, he thought he heard bells, as if she were a garbage truck backing up. (Susan Reese, Arlington)

She was as easy as the TV Guide crossword. (Tom Witte, Gaithersburg)

Her eyes were like limpid pools, only they had forgotten to put in any PH cleanser. (Chuck Smith, Woodbridge)

She grew on him like she was a colony of E. coli and he was room-temperature Canadian beef. (Brian Broadus, Charlottesville)

Her pants fit her like a glove, well, maybe more like a mitten, actually. (Chuck Smith, Woodbridge)

She walked into my office like a centipede with 98 missing legs. (Jonathan Paul, Garrett Park)

It hurt the way your tongue hurts after you accidentally staple it to the wall. (Brian Broadus, Charlottesville)

Her voice had that tense, grating quality, like a first-generation thermal paper fax machine that needed a band tightened. (Sue Lin Chong, Washington)

Outside the little snow-covered cabin, a large pile of firewood was stacked like Pamela Anderson. (Meg Sullivan, Potomac)

A branch fell from the tree like a trunk falling off an elephant. (Jonathan Paul, Garrett Park)

Her face was a perfect oval, like a circle that had its two other sides gently compressed by a ThighMaster. (Sue Lin Chong, Washington)

The painting was very Escher-like, as if Escher had painted an exact copy of an Escher painting. (Joseph Romm, Washington)

Fishing is like waiting for something that does not happen very often. (Jim Seibert, Falls Church)

They were as good friends as the people on “Friends.” (Katie Buckner, McLean)

Her breasts were like two mounds of flesh waiting to be compared to something. Something round. Perhaps some kind of citrus fruit. (Jerry Pannullo, Kensington)

He was as bald as one of the Three Stooges, either Curly or Larry, you know, the one who goes woo woo woo. (Bob Sorensen, Herndon)

The sardines were packed as tight as the coach section of a 747. (Tom Witte, Gaithersburg)

Her eyes were shining like two marbles that someone dropped in mucus and then held up to catch the light. (Barbara Collier, Garrett Park)

The sunset displayed rich, spectacular hues like a .jpeg file at 10 percent cyan, 10 percent magenta, 60 percent yellow and 10 percent black. (Jennifer Hart, Arlington)

And Last: Joe was frustrated, like a man who thought his claim to fame was occasional appearances in a weekly humor contest, but in fact is known to millions as a stupid high school student who writes unintentionally humorous bad analogies. (Joseph Romm, Washington)

Ernest Hilbert

Ernest Hilbert is founder of E-Verse Radio.

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4 Responses to “Winners of the Washington Post Style Invitational Bad Simile and Metaphor Contest”

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