email: cavebear2118 AT verizon DOT com

Monday, November 2, 2015

A Surprise Letter

I subscribe to The Washington Post newspaper.  Yeah, the print edition.  It also happens to be my local newspaper (living near a nation's capital can have odd twists).  But its easier to turn paper pages while I eat my lunch than mess up my laptop.  And I recycle/compost anyway, so little is wasted.  But I am also always about a month behind, so reading the political, business, and sports news can be hilarious!  I read it mostly for the editorials.

So when I received a letter from The Washington Post, I expected some notice that my subscription was unpaid due to an expired card.  Nope.  It was good news.

The Washington Post has run a humor contest called 'The Style Invitational' each Sunday for 1,150 weeks.   The weekly contests always some some odd theme or another.  Write a limerick one week, caption a silly drawing the next, combine 2 Kentucky Derby racing horse names and come up with a funny name for the offspring, create a motto for a politician, etc.

I've sent in entries a few times, but because I'm behind on the reading, the deadlines are usually past.  But I always read the winning entries because I admire the cleverness.  There are usually a top 4 of winners and a dozen or so Honorable Mentions.  Winners are referred to as "Losers" (it IS a humor column, the top 4 get prizes (like T-shirts saying "'Im a LOSER",  cheap plastic coin banks shaped as outhouses, fake Dracula teeth, etc).

First time winners get one of those cheap pine tree car air fresheners, and even that is a joke.  The air freshener is a "fir stink" (first ink).
 I got my "fir stink" in the envelope!  Hurray, I'm now a recognized LOSER!

The person who manages the contest (The Empress) doesn't have to give out very many "fir-stinks".  The weekly winners ("losers") are usually pretty much the same group of very talented humourists.  A new loser (also called a "first offender") is rare.  Hurray, I'm RARE!  And a "First Offender"!

For the record, the Week 1,142nd contest was to combine any 2 names into a Twitter handle and write a tweet by the hybrid person.  Most just used real people names.  I combined Secretariat (Kentucky Derby race horse winner) with Hillary Clinton for "@SecretariatHRClinton", and the tweet was "So I'm supposed to just keep running to the left?"

I'll leave everyone to figure that out themselves, but will explain if asked...

The winning entry was "@OrangeJulius:  Could be well mov'd.  My friends in the House are sticking knives into me."  That shows the difference between a winning entry and an Honorable Mention!  It succeeds on multiple levels.  I was, as my Aussie friends would say "gobsmacked".  No wonder some of these weekly participants win frequently! 

But I think I may try entering the contest more often.  There are, apparently, anywhere from a few hundred to a few thousand participants each week (some contests are trickier to get a grip on than others).

I am outrageously delighted with my "First Ink" and want another shot of INK!


The Adventures of Scarlett and Melly said...

Congratulations! Your tweet made me laugh out loud :)

Megan said...

An excellent entry and I'm tickled pink for you.

My husband reads Spectator magazine ( not for the conservative political articles so much, but for the columnists. I always look at the competition they have in each issue - although I've never entered. They're often quite challenging and frequently based in literature eg. write an ode about a nominated topic. Write an ode? Yeah - like how long is that going to take me?! LOL

I might send you some samples one day. There are typically half a dozen winners published a couple of weeks later and some of the names appear frequently.

Anyhoo - it's good to keep the mind active and word games and ingenuity are good mental exercise, so keep it going.

Sydney, Australia

PS. We have two newspapers home delivered every day!

Megan said...

PS. I should have said, "I'm chuffed for you!" LOL

Sydney, Australia