Some of the Best Lame Analogies

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A few days ago, I published a collection of strange lines from serious fiction manuscripts. This made me recalled that the Washington Post, in its Week 310 of “The Style Invitational”, ran a contest in which the participants were tasked to come up with the lamest analogy that they can. The entries were published on March 14, 1999, in an article titled “Week 310: It’s Like This”.

“The line separating painfully bad analogies from weirdly good ones,” the article began, “is as thin as a soup made from the shadow of a chicken that was starved to death by Abraham Lincoln. And so we had to create a separate category to honor those entries that came too close to actual literature to qualify as ‘bad.'” The following lists examples of this kind of analogies:

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

These are the winners:

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.

First Place: 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

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

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My name Edmark M. Law. I work as a freelance writer, mainly writing about science and mathematics. I am an ardent hobbyist. I like to read, solve puzzles, play chess, make origami and play basketball. In addition, I dabble in magic, particularly card magic and other sleight-of-hand type magic. I live in Hong Kong. You can find me on Twitter` and Facebook. My email is

18 thoughts on “Some of the Best Lame Analogies

  1. The winner (“knife as sharp as the tone of Sheila Jackson Lee”) really made me laugh. That woman represents a district on my home turf, and her behavior has given rise to another local analogy: “As dangerous as getting between Sheila Jackson Lee and a camera…”


  2. I read this post whilst having tea at a famous coffee shop which may remain anonymous “Costa” to reveal the name maybe classed as advertising. I think other patrons of said shop may have been wondering what was so funny.
    Also re-blogged to share it. Thanks.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Well done. I needed a few laughs this morning . . . perfect medicine.
    Sharing a thought:
    A peaceful moment was turned upside down when the Hamms beer truck knocked over the outdoor privy that I was residing in (stole this image from a novel that I have read).

    Liked by 1 person

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