The Life of a Slush Reader

Would you like a peek into what it is like to read through the slush pile? Amazingly, it is quite a bit like being a high-school English teacher, if the lists being passed around the Internet are any indication.

According to the story (you can’t always trust what you read on the Internet, surprisingly enough), a few years ago the Washington Post ran a contest for English teachers to send in the worst analogies they had read in students’ papers.

From those supposed entries, here are the 56 worst:

1. The ballerina rose gracefully en pointe and extended one slender leg behind her, like a dog at a fire hydrant.
2. Her vocabulary was as bad as, like, whatever.
3. 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.
4. Her lips were red and full, like tubes of blood drawn by an inattentive phlebotomist.
5. John and Mary had never met. They were like two hummingbirds who had also never met.
6. It hurt the way your tongue hurts after you accidentally staple it to the wall.
7. He was as tall as a 6′3″ tree.
8. 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.
9. “Oh, Jason, take me!” she panted, her breasts heaving like a college freshman on $1-a-beer night.
10. The young fighter had a hungry look, the kind you get from not eating for a while.
11. 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.
12. She was as easy as the TV Guide crossword.
13. 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.
14. They lived in a typical suburban neighborhood with picket fences that resembled Nancy Kerrigan’s teeth.
15. 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 7:00 p.m. instead of 7:30.
16. His thoughts tumbled in his head, making and breaking alliances like underpants in a dryer without Cling Free.
17. Shots rang out, as shots are wont to do.
18. Even in his last years, Grand pappy had a mind like a steel trap, only one that had been left out so long, it had rusted shut.
19. Her hair glistened in the rain like a nose hair after a sneeze.
20. The hailstones leaped from the pavement, just like maggots when you fry them in hot grease.
21. He fell for her like his heart was a mob informant and she was the East River.
22. Her eyes were shining like two marbles that someone dropped in mucus and then held up to catch the light.
23. They were as good friends as the people on “Friends.”
24. 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.
25. The plan was simple, like my brother-in-law Phil. But unlike Phil, this plan just might work.
26. The little boat gently drifted across the pond exactly the way a bowling ball wouldn’t.
27. 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.
28. Her eyes were like two brown circles with big black dots in the center.
29. He felt like he was being hunted down like a dog, in a place that hunts dogs, I suppose.
30. She had a deep, throaty, genuine laugh, like that sound a dog makes just before it throws up.
31. It came down the stairs looking very much like something no one had ever seen before.
32. 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.”
33. McBride fell 12 stories, hitting the pavement like a Hefty bag filled with vegetable soup.
34. Her eyes were like limpid pools, only they had forgotten to put in any pH cleanser.
35. The politician was gone but unnoticed, like the period after the Dr. on a Dr. Pepper can.
36. 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.
37. 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 again.
38. The sunset displayed rich, spectacular hues like a .jpeg file at 10 percent cyan, 10 percent magenta, 60 percent yellow and 10 percent black.
39. She walked into my office like a centipede with 98 missing legs.
40. Fishing is like waiting for something that does not happen very often.
41. She grew on him like she was a colony of E. coli and he was room-temperature Canadian beef.
42. He was as bald as one of the Three Stooges, either Curly or Larry, you know, the one who goes woo woo woo.
43. He was deeply in love. When she spoke, he thought he heard bells, as if she were a garbage truck backing up.
44. Her face was a perfect oval, like a circle that had its two sides gently compressed by a Thigh Master.
45. The sardines were packed as tight as the coach section of a 747.
46. Bob was as perplexed as a hacker who means to access T:flw.quid55328.com\aaakk/ch@ung but gets T:\flw.quidaaakk/ch@ung by mistake.
47. 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.
48. Her pants fit her like a glove, well, maybe more like a mitten, actually.
49. It was an American tradition, like fathers chasing kids around with power tools.
50. 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.
51. 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.
52. Her artistic sense was exquisitely refined, like someone who can tell butter from I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter.
53. The lamp just sat there, like an inanimate object.
54. The dandelion swayed in the gentle breeze like an oscillating electric fan set on medium.
55. 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.
56. The red brick wall was the color of a brick-red Crayola crayon.

Now, this list might be true, but probably isn’t. Still, it is funny—and eerily similar to reading slush. None of these come from our actual submissions, but I recognize the style…

About Nick Contor

Nick Contor lives in southwest New Mexico with his wife and two children. In his spare time, he writes lyrics, plays drums, and sings in a local band.
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4 Responses to The Life of a Slush Reader

  1. jguzman says:

    This made my day. Classic, thank you… I can’t pick a favorite, but Geschpooklichkeit just made my vocabulary.

  2. Very funny. I read through these just to be sure that none of my stuff was here. Makes me appreciate the slush pile reader all the more. I don’t think the TV Guide crossword puzzle is all that easy.

  3. steven pirie says:

    Haha, very good… most amusing…

  4. Pingback: His Vocabulary was as bad as, like, whatever… | Adam Perin

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