Style Invitational Week 1398: This is the year that is
Give us a new metaphor to describe 2020. Plus the ‘two movies, one line’ winners.
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(Bob Staake for The Washington Post)
Pat Myers
August 20, 2020 at 10:02 a.m. EDT
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(Click here to skip down to the “two movies, one line” winners)

If your dog saw 2020 on the ground, he’d roll in it.

If 2020 were mail, it’d be for a low-low-teaser-rate credit card (36 percent rate thereafter in the 2-point type).

If 2020 were a form of leisure, it’d be an earwax clean-out session.

We just heard: There are now fire tornadoes. Just as “he could not possibly stoop any lower” could have been on a computer save-key of many a political columnist for the last four years, the year 2020 just keeps on outdoing itself with all sorts of novel reasons for despair, fear and universal hand-wringing.

How the Empress manages to smile. The mask is this week's 2nd prize.
How the Empress manages to smile. The mask is this week's 2nd prize. (Mark Holt)
But Lemonade-From-Lemons Loser Duncan Stevens suggests a way to at least get some silly swag off the annus superextraultrahorribilis: This week: Describe the year 2020 in a novel, colorful metaphor or simile, as in Duncan’s examples above. You may also offer an original graphic, but the photo or artwork can’t be lifted from someone else, and it can’t be amateurish-looking; the Empress would have room for two at the most. There’s already a fair amount of creative 2020-bashing out there, so check out your own idea to see if it’s already spreading like you-know-what across the Internet.


Submit up to 25 entries total at (no capitals in the Web address). Deadline is Monday, Aug. 31; results will appear Sept. 20 in print, Sept. 17 online.

Winner gets the Lose Cannon, our Style Invitational trophy. Second place receives this dignified face mask, just the thing for your next court hearing or funeral; it’s modeled (with barriers) by the Empress, in an echo of her own gaptoothed smile.

Other runners-up win their choice of our “For Best Results, Pour Into Top End” Loser Mug or our “Whole Fools” Grossery Bag. Honorable mentions get one of our new lusted-after Loser magnets, “No ’Bility” or “Punderachiever.” First Offenders receive only a smelly tree-shaped air “freshener” (FirStink for their first ink). See general contest rules and guidelines at The headline “Doubled Features” was submitted separately by Jon Gearhart and Kevin Dopart; Kevin also wrote the honorable-mentions subhead. Join the Style Invitational Devotees group on Facebook at; “like” the 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. See this week's — published late afternoon on Thursday, Aug. 20 — at

And from The Style Invitational four weeks ago . . .

Doubled features: The 2-for-1 movie lines from Week 1394
In Week 1394, the Empress asked the Loser Community to sum up two different movies or TV shows with the same line (old or new), or offer a line of dialogue that would work in both. And see this week’s Style Conversational column, published late Thursday, Aug. 20, for some equally funny entries that were submitted by too many people.

4th place:
The West Wing and The Beverly Hillbillies: Jed is living in the big, fancy house now, and a lot of folks up the hill aren’t at all pleased. (Hildy Zampella, Alexandria, Va.)

3rd place:
It’s from South Pacific but it would also work in There’s Something About Mary: “I’m Gonna Wash That Man Right Outa My Hair.” (Jeff Shirley, Richmond, Va.)

2nd place
and the grimacing face mask:
A line from Casablanca that could be from 1984: “Here’s lookin’ at you, kid.” (Gary Crockett, Chevy Chase, Md.)

And the winner of the Lose Cannon:
It would fit both Sex, Lies, and Videotape and Charly: "PERSON WOMAN MAN CAMERA TV" (Duncan Stevens, Vienna, Va.)

Two thumbs down: Honorable mentions
Das Boot and Judy: “She’s finally hit bottom! Let’s pump her out and see if she gets going again.” (Frank Osen, Pasadena, Calif.)


Apollo 13 and The Alamo: “Houston, we have a problem.” (Lawrence McGuire, Waldorf, Md.; Bill Lieberman, Ellicott City, Md.)

The Irishman and Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer: Unexpected developments challenge an aging bagman. (Mark Raffman, Reston, Va.)

On the Waterfront and The Invisible Man: “I could have been some body.” (Larry Rifkin, Glastonbury, Conn., a First Offender)

Noah and My Fair Lady: A report on rainfall causes great excitement. (Pamela Love, Columbia, Md.)

This Old House and Dexter: “You’ll want to put down plenty of plastic sheeting so it’ll be easy to clean up later. Now take your power saw . . . ” (Josh Feldblyum, Springfield, Pa.)

“Look at that beautiful powder — it’s everywhere!” would work for both White Christmas and The Wolf of Wall Street. (Bruce Reynolds, Grand Rapids, Mich.)


“We’ve been digging up dirt all day, but tomorrow . . . we get to dig up more dirt!” Holes and All the President’s Men. (Matt Monitto, Bristol, Conn.)

A line from “Pinocchio” that could be in both Roxanne and The American President: “A lie keeps growing and growing until it’s as clear as the nose on your face.” (Chris Doyle, Denton, Tex.)

A Harry Potter movie or When Harry Met Sally: “Trust me, Harry, wands aren’t magical all the time. Sometimes you just have to fake it.” (Hildy Zampella)

Barbershop and Gypsy: “How about takin’ a little more off the top?” (Lynne Larkin, Glenn Dale, Md.)

Dennis the Menace and Cast Away: “Hey, Mr. Wilson, where are you going? Come back and play with me!” (Susan Swanda, Crofton, Md., a First Offender)

Babe and Deliverance: “That’ll do, pig.” (Kevin Dopart, Washington; Frank Osen)


“Yesterday was plain awful, but just you wait”: Hamilton and Annie. (John O’Byrne, Dublin)

“Let’s go to the Neighborhood of Make-Believe”: Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood and HGTV’s Beachfront Bargain Hunt. (Jennifer Martin Broadway, Marquette, Mich.)

Treasure of the Sierra Madre and an upcoming Portlandia: “We don’t need no stinking badges!” (Howard Walderman, Columbia, Md.; Frank Osen; Mark Raffman)

Frozen and Blazing Saddles: “Did someone say, ‘Let it go’?” (Michelle Christophorou, Guildford, Surrey, England)

How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days and Last Tango in Paris: “If all he does is butter you up, get rid of him.” (Chris Doyle)

Babette’s Feast and Basic Instinct: “My, that is indeed a lovely spread.” (Mark Raffman)

Pee-wee’s Big Adventure and E.T.: “Shh! I’m trying to use the phone!” (Jonathan Jensen, Baltimore)


“I’ll think about it tomorrow”: Gone With the Wind and An Inconvenient Truth. (Lori Smith, McLean, Va., a First Offender)

The Blob and There’s Something About Mary: A little gel goes a long way. (Tom Witte, Montgomery Village)

This Old House and Saw: “Y’know, this one has really good bones.” (Sarah Walsh, Rockville, Md.)

The Longest Day and Marathon Man: Yanks are coming. (Jon Ketzner, Cumberland, Md.)

“You never really understand a person until you . . . climb inside of his skin and walk around in it”: To Kill a Mockingbird and Invasion of the Body Snatchers (Jon Gearhart, Des Moines)

The Guns of Navarone and Boogie Nights: “How many of us will we need to take it out?” (Wayne Debban, Woodbridge, Va., a First Offender)

The Princess Bride and RBG: “Oh, no! Here comes the Dread Pirate Roberts!” (Duncan Stevens)


Forrest Gump and The Help: “Sometimes life is like a chocolate pie. You better know what you’re gonna get.” (Kevin Dopart)

Still running — deadline Monday night, Aug. 24: Our contest for ideas for man-in-desert cartoons and other tropes. See

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