Style Invitational Week 1308: Picture This . . . or These

Our Bob Staake caption contest with a twist. Plus winning what-if

Someone tell us what's going on here! (Bob Staake for The Washington Post)
By Pat Myers

Pat Myers

Editor and judge of The Style Invitational since December 2003
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November 29

(Click here to skip down <#report>to the winning “what-if” scenarios)

It’s time once again for another contest in which we try to assist
Almost Forever Style Invitational Cartoonist Bob Staake in figuring out
just what is going on in these pictures — because frankly, he has no
clue. Do u?*This week you have two choices: (1) Write a caption for one
or more of these pictures, or (2) explain what is wrong with the picture. *

*Extra fun: *While Bob still doesn’t know what the pictures are about,
he designed them so that *you might also combine two pictures into one —
or all four into one* — and describe that instead.

For the sanity of the Empress. who would like to sort the entries before
judging them: *Please submit each entry — you still get a total of 25 —
in this format: *

*Picture A: [caption, description, whatever] — with the heading and
description on the same line. *

*Pictures A and C: [same thing] *

*All four pictures: [zubzubzub]

Submit entries at the website **

Winner gets the *Lose Cannon,

* our Style Invitational trophy. Second place receives a lovely — well,
it’s actually white with plain black lettering —*coffee mug labeled
“World’s Okayest Girlfriend.”* It’s absolutely perfect for Valentine’s
Day! Donated by Loser Bill Munson.

*Other runners-up *win our “You Gotta Play to Lose”
Mug or our “Whole Fools”

Grossery Bag. Honorable mentions get one of our lusted-after Loser
magnets, “We’ve Seen Better”
“IDiot Card.”

First Offenders receive only a smelly tree-shaped air “freshener”

for their first ink). *Deadline is Monday night, Dec. 10; *results
published Dec. 30 (online Thursday, Dec. 27). See general contest rules
and guidelines at . The
headline for this week’s results is by Duncan Stevens; Jesse Frankovich
wrote this week’s honorable-mentions subhead. Join the Style
Invitational Devotees on Facebook at
. “Like” Style Invitational Ink of the Day on
Facebook at ; follow
@StyleInvite on Twitter.

*The Style Conversational * The Empress's weekly online column discusses
each new contest and set of results. Especially if you plan to enter
this week's contest, check it out at

And from The Style Invitational four weeks ago . . .


**In *Week 1304,* we asked you to posit a
“what-if” question and answer it.

4th place:

*What if there were an alternate universe where your cat did not follow
you to the bathroom?*
You’d just sit there and talk to yourself, I guess. (Robyn Carlson,
Keyser, W.Va.)

3rd place:

*What if night suddenly became day, and day became night?*
I’m sorry, what were you saying? I was checking my phone. (Ivars
Kuskevics, Takoma Park, Md.)

2nd place

/and the cattle-dung-paper journal and pizzle dog chew
*What if anagrams always came true? *
Robert Mueller could TRAP A FOUL MAN just by using PAUL MANAFORT. (Jon
Gearhart, Des Moines)

And the winner of the Lose Cannon:

*What if M.C. Escher had designed the entrance to the Philadelphia
Museum of Art?*
Rocky would still be climbing those steps. (Jesse Frankovich, Grand
Ledge, Mich.)

If-bombs: Honorable mentions

*What if instead of the Stanley Cup it was a Stanley Jockstrap? *
It would be easier to hold above your head, but players probably
wouldn’t drink out of it so much. (Jeff Shirley, Richmond, Va.)

*If Christine Blasey Ford hadn’t testified,*
we might still be wondering what Lindsey Graham’s and Brett Kavanaugh’s
tonsils look like. (Duncan Stevens, Vienna, Va.)

*What if “Casablanca” had Groucho Marx as Rick instead of Humphrey
Bogart? *
Ilsa’s request would be: “Play it, Sam. Play ‘Pop Goes the Weasel.’ ”
(Gary Crockett, Chevy Chase, Md.)

*What if “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” had instead been “Breakfast at IHOP”?*
The lead character would be named Holly Goheavily — and would not be
played by Audrey Hepburn. (Dave Prevar, Annapolis, Md.)

*What if Alexander Graham Bell had invented automatic dialing? *
By Election Day 1876, everyone would have been annoyed by endless
robo-calls to vote for Rutherford B. Hayes. (Beverley Sharp, Montgomery,

*What if all your friends jumped off the Brooklyn Bridge? *
“Really, Mom, are we gonna do this now?” (Hildy Zampella, Alexandria, Va.)

*What if America really were a Christian nation?*
We’d care for the poor, welcome strangers and be much stronger advocates
for including bingo in the Olympics. (Kevin Dopart, Washington)

*If China hadn’t developed coins as a medium of exchange somewhere
around 1000 B.C.,*
Cuba Gooding Jr. would have yelled, “Show me the item or service of
reasonably equivalent value!” (Duncan Stevens)

*What if the Habsburg nobles in Prague had a trampoline outside their
window, ** so when they were defenestrated they just kept bouncing back
up to the window, yelling, “Boi-oi-oi-oinnng . . . boi-oi-oi-oinnng . .
.” to the Bohemians inside?*
The Thirty Years’ War would’ve been awesome! (Brendan Beary, Great
Mills, Md.)

*What if cats could talk?*
It wouldn’t matter much, since their vocabulary would consist of “feed
me” and “so what?” (Mark Raffman, Reston, Va.)

*What if shirt sleeves were made of sandpaper?*
Maybe fourth-grade boys would learn to locate the tissues in the
classroom. (Dave Airozo, Silver Spring, Md., and, yep, a fourth-grade

*What if water did not become less dense when it froze?*
James Cameron would not be the king of the world. (Mark Calandra,
Sudbury, Mass.)

*What if we could become the movie character we most admire?*
I’m going with Woody from “Toy Story,” so I could make the world feel
just a little bit better every time they see me. My second choice is
Freddy Krueger. (Roger Dalrymple, Gettysburg, Pa.)

*What if the human brain had evolved without the capability for
Uhh . . . (Brendan Beary)

*What if pregnant women grew temporary prehensile tails?*
It would be awesome to have that extra hand that moms always need! Why
didn’t God think of this?! (Connie Akers, Radford, Va.)

*What if English were written from right to left?*
.ti ot desu teg d’ew sseug I (Frank Mann, Washington)

*What if spray paint cans had spell-check?*
Then that ’60s graffiti would have read “CLAPTON IS GOOD.” (J. Larry
Schott, West Plains, Mo.)

*What if you inexplicably found yourself back in college, about to take
a big test, only you couldn’t remember where the classroom was?*
If you know, please tell me. I always wake up before I can find out.
(Eric Nelkin, Silver Spring, Md.)

*What if you were happy and you knew it but you didn’t have any hands?*
Whoever was singing to you sure would feel like a heel. (Jesse Frankovich)

*What if, someday in the far future, all of Earth’s population is
I’ll bet there would still be arguments over who’s the most biracial.
(Lawrence McGuire, Waldorf, Md.)

*What if the president boarded Air Force One using a jet bridge and not
a staircase?*
We’d have gone on assuming he knew how to close an umbrella
(Jeff Strong, Fairfax, Va.)

*What if pigs could fly? *Nicolas Cage would have starred in “Ba-Con
Air”! (John McCooey, Rehoboth Beach, Del.)

*What if the Ten Commandments had been written by Dr. Seuss?
*“Thou shalt not smash their heads with rocks
Nor poison them with deadly pox.
Thou shalt not kill with guns nor ram
A knife in them.” said Great I AM. (Jon Gearhart)

*What if Jeff Bezos sold The Washington Post to the Trump family? *
The Trumps would insist that The Post maintain its editorial and
journalistic standards because an independent press is our greatest
defense against tyranny. (Jon Ketzner, Cumberland, Md.)

*What if I don’t get ink in this contest?*
But I’ve got to! I promised poor sick little Billy in the hospital that
I would, so I’ve just GOT to. (Tom Witte, Montgomery Village, Md.)

*If I typed Style Invitational entries in the dark,* theu wouiln;t get
imk. (Duncan Stevens)

*What if Penélope Cruz called me to say she’s crazy in love with me and
wanted us to run away to some remote Caribbean island for a life of
wild, wanton, smoldering passion?* I wouldn’t be wasting my time on this
stupid contest, I’ll tell you that. (Brendan Beary)

*TWO contests still running — deadline for both is Monday night, Dec. 3:
Parodies of holiday songs (see
), and to make a new word by replacing one
letter with another one ( ). *

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