The Style Invitational Week 752 The Might-Mates Rite

Saturday, February 9, 2008; C02


"You just might be a . . . if . . .": It's a joke form so well worn that you can see right through to the polka dots on its boxer shorts. But then again, so is the three-panel comic strip -- and it can still yield plenty of original humor in the hand of the right creator. That would be you, yes? This week: Fill out any of these five "you just might" joke-templates:


You just might be an embarrassment to your child if . . .


You just might be from Georgetown if . . .


You just might not be an animal rights enthusiast if . . .


You just might have a substance abuse problem if . . .


You just might need a new car soon if . . .


Winner gets the Inker, the official Style Invitational trophy. Second place gets this smolderin' cool J.S. Bach action figure, donated by Randy Lee of Burke. Okay, he may not be all that dynamic to look at, but he comes with a seriously sweet prop: a stool to sit on! Do that harpsichord thing, Sebastian!


Other runners-up win their choice of a coveted Style Invitational Loser T-shirt or yearned-for Loser Mug. Honorable Mentions get one of the lusted-after Style Invitational Magnets. One prize per entrant per week. Send your entries by e-mail to or by fax to 202-334-4312. Deadline is Monday, Feb. 18. Put "Week 752" in the subject line of your e-mail, or it risks being ignored as spam. Include your name, postal address and phone number with your entry. Contests are judged on the basis of humor and originality. All entries become the property of The Washington Post. Entries may be edited for taste or content. Results will be published March 8. No purchase required for entry. Employees of The Washington Post, and their immediate relatives, are not eligible for prizes. Pseudonymous entries will be disqualified. This week's contest and Honorable Mentions name were both suggested by Kevin Dopart. The revised title for next week's contest is by Chris Doyle.


Report From Week 748, our annual contest in which we seek poems about those who died in the previous year: As usual, we had far too many outstanding verses than we could fit in the paper; you can find more of the Honorable Mentions at


4. Jerry Falwell:


Not for being greatly good --

Not because he knew he would --

Jerry Falwell's gone above,

Unto his Creator's love,

Spending every night and day

With angels black and angels gay.

God our Father knows us all well;

Knows what's Hell for Jerry Falwell.

( David Smith, Santa Cruz, Calif.)


3. Lady Bird Johnson:


Jackie's successor, a rather plain dresser,

Was viewed by the press as much duller.

For Lady Bird's way to enliven our day

Was for highways to sparkle with color.

A political wife, she spent most of her life

With a blind eye to what Hubby sinned in.

But on her ranch, though it slanted,

She successfully planted

Seven oak trees, four elms and one Lyndon. (Christopher Lamora, Arlington)


2. winner of the Steve Irwin beanbag doll:


Carlo Ponti, movie producer and husband of Sophia Loren:


The Roman figure Ponti made great:

XXXVIII-XXIV-XXXVIII (Ira Allen, Bethesda)


And the Winner of the Inker


Nonagenarian Skinny McNabb,

Who, as you'd expect, wasn't fat,

Whose stats with the Tigers were scanty and drab

(He whiffed in his only at-bat),

Has laid down his burden of tears and fatigue,

But now something sweeter he savors:

He plays every day in the Afterlife League,

Picked up by the Angels on waivers. (Brendan Beary, Great Mills)


Stiff Competition: Honorable Mentions


John Backus, developer of the Fortran programming language in early computers:


I had compiled my last regards

But then I dropped my batch of cards. (Kevin Dopart, Washington)


Barbaro, in Heaven, was asked by "the Shoe":

What's a crummy joint doing in a nice horse like you? (Peter Metrinko, Chantilly)


Benazir Bhutto:


She made herself a target

Too big to be ignored,

So Pakistan's onetime PM

Received Urdu reward.

-- P. Musharraf, Islamabad (Brendan Beary)


Benazir's protectors

Would have to be dismayed;

It's simpler killing leaders

Than covers of Parade. (Kevin Dopart)


Ernest Gallo:


How often have I said, I wonder now:

"A loaf of bread, a box of wine and thou"? (Jeff Brechlin, Eagan, Minn.)


Johnny Hart:


Higgledy piggledy

"B.C.'s" creator was

Sure his hereafter was

Shiny and bright:


Rigidly Christian, and

Smugly in Heaven now

(if he was right). (Anne Paris, Arlington)


Leona Helmsley:


Leona's checked out, and the throng of her former

Employees all hope she's now lodged somewhere warmer:

A place where Beelzebub gets the last laugh

By treating his guests the way she treated staff. (Brendan Beary)


Molly Ivins:


Enjoy a calm retirement, Dubya;

Molly's not around to "Shrub" ya. (David Smith)


Marcel Marceau:


For you Marcel, O mime sublime,

Imaginary bells now chime.

Farewell to life and all its violence:

It's RIP for Bip -- the rest is ___ . (Jeff Brechlin)


He listened to his mom's advice:

"If you can't say something nice . . ." (Kevin Dopart)


Luciano Pavarotti:


At last Pavarotti is resting in peace.

He'd let himself go, and it showed.

Let's face it, the guy had become so obese,

He had his own aria code. (Brendan Beary)


Higgledy piggledy

Charles Nelson Reilly a-

Mused us for decades, but

Died in '07.

Brett Somers also died


Henceforth ensuring

A Match Game in Heaven. (Sue Fialkoff, North Potomac, a First Offender)


Phil Rizzuto:


For Scooter, the years have exacted their toll.

Now this Hall of Fame shortstop plays deep in the hole. (Chris Doyle, Ponder, Tex.)


Mstislav Rostropovich:


Saint Peter asked, "Can we admit this Rostropovich fellow?"

God said, smiling, in reply: "There's always room for cello." (Peter Metrinko)


Wally Schirra:


Bravely flew through space to probe it;

Circled Earth, is now in obit.

Broke the bonds of life unhampered

And, you can be sure, un-Pampered. (Beverley Sharp, Washington)


Anna Nicole Smith:


Her life was weird and sad, and her death was even more so.

But when the tabloids leave, she'll still be famous for her torso. (Anne Paris)


Now Ike Turner's off the street;

They say he never missed a beat. (Beverley Sharp)


Whakahuihui Vercoe, New Zealand Anglican leader:


Archbishop Vercoe has at last been laid low,

And I hate to speak ill of a Kiwi,

But still, I just snicker to muse how a vicar

Gets by with the name "Whakahuihui." (Brendan Beary)


When Helen Walton, 87,

Knocks upon the gates of Heaven,

Sam, her husband, not Saint Peter,

Stands inside to meet and greet her. (Chris Doyle)


Boris Yeltsin:


On top of a vehicle, fist in the air,

His nose all beet red, there stood Boris.

He called for democracy, said, "Let's be fair!"

And appealed to that mass Russian chorus.

He then ruled for eight years until he resigned;

'Twas his time, then, to head for the door.

So he picked up his vodka, left the Kremlin behind,

Saying, "I simply can't Putin no more." (Christopher Lamora)


And Last:


A tragic loss! Farewell to you:

Sunday Comics, Section 2. (Jeffrey Contompasis, Ashburn)


Next Week: Opus 266, No. 3, or Flexicology



More Honorable Mentions from Week 748 of The Style Invitational, poems about those who died in 2007:


For Robert Adler, the bell now tolls

(Inventor of remote controls).

But don't get up, for that won't do;

If you would, just lift your brew.

And while a bugle taps does toot,

A moment of silence (please press Mute). (Paul VerNooy, Hockessin, Delaware)


Ivo Cappo, Papua New Guinean magistrate, death by stoning:


I don't doubt there'd been provocations;

The full truth may never be known,

But who can resist the Temptations

With "Papua's Rolling Stone"? (Brendan Beary, Great Mills, Md.)


Jerry Falwell:


Smickety smackety,

Smug Jerry Falwell knew

Just what the rest of us

Ought to believe.

He ran the gamut of


Millions may miss him, but

Many don't grieve. (Mae Scanlan, Washington)


From Lynchburg, Jerry thundered on,

A true Virginia ham.

But none of his theology

Was worth a Tinky's dam. (Jay Shuck, Minneapolis)


Leona Helmsley:


The Queen of Mean bought fine hotels,

Got taxing time in jailhouse cells.

Bought stuff to give the Palace charm.

Bought Trouble. Now she's bought the farm. (Ellen Raphaeli, Falls Church)


How hard they hunted Howard Hunt

For that office break-in stunt.

'Twas Nixon, though, to be quite blunt,

Who was to blame -- oh, what a disagreeable person. (Jacob Aldridge, Gaythorne, Australia)


Lady Bird Johnson:


Take a sec, and say a word

Of gratitude to Lady Bird

Who took advantage of her station

Planting our entire nation.

I think that we can take for granted

A rose will rise from where she's planted. (Mae Scanlan)


Evel Knievel:




He tempted; he taunted.

Death's byways he haunted.

His daring he flaunted.

"Can't catch me!" he said.

But one night a chortle

Was heard at his portal.

Knievel, mere mortal,

Expired in his bed. (Jan Stoehr, Arlington)




Higgledy piggledy

Evel Knievel soared

Over wide canyons to

Make his big mark;


Or just a moron? Which-

Ever the reason, he's

Jumped his last shark. (Anne Paris, Arlington)




Higgledy piggledy

Evel Knievel, a

Vaulter of canyons, a

Dude with a past.

Switching mechanics and

Flying with Jesus, he

Jumped to conclusions:

Grounded at last. (Coilin Owens, Alexandria, Va., a First Offender)


Ira Levin:


Wrote of death, which traps us all; except, perhaps, just maybe

Hitler clones and Stepford wives and one demonic baby. (Randy Lee, Burke)


Carlo Ponti, husband of Sophia Loren:


Carlo Ponti Sr. wed but once during his life.

Understandable that was, considering the wife. (Peter Metrinko, Chantilly)


Al Oerter, discus champion


Gold medals in Tokyo, Melbourne and Rome,

And Mexico City as well;

It seemed that for Al, the top platform was home;

He always found ways to excel.

The other competitors always looked sad

To nearby observant reporters;

It's not that their own throws were anything bad --

They only were following Oerter's. (Brendan Beary)


Luciano Pavarotti:


Higgledy piggledy,

L. Pavarotti was

Famed for his singing (and

Also his girth).

Sadly he perished, most


Boosters still think he's the

Greatest in earth. (Mae Scanlan)


Charles Nelson Reilly led

The cast of Match Game's crazies.

Brett Somers fed him straight lines;

They both now push up BLANK. (Brendan Beary)


Mstislav Rostropovich:


A whiz of a conductor and a master on the cello,

A caring friend who never put on airs, despite his fame.

There's just one nasty trait we can attribute to the fellow:

Sadistically insisting that we call him by his name. (Brendan Beary)


Anna Nicole Smith:




Your frame and your impiety brought fame and notoriety;

The tabloids fed us every bite of every impropriety.

The pics by paparazzi always focused on your cleavage,

While steamy Playboy features showed us not a fig of leafage.

The mainstream press was just as bad, their coverage appalling:

They robbed you of your dignity in ways we found just galling.

Despite the sordid coverage, I've one question left to pose:

With you face up, just how'd they get the casket lid to close? (Bob Dalton, Arlington)




The drugs, the dads, the tabloid press;

They all left Anna cold;

But she's still hot in Peter's Book

'Cause she's the centerfold. (Kevin Dopart, Washington)


Kurt Vonnegut:


O College Life! What's not to like? The trashing of the dorms,

The bland repudiation of your stupid bourgeois norms,

The booze, the weed, the girls demurely blowing lunch in chunks,

The clanging Weltanschauung of bewhiskered Marxist punks!

Well, I did none of that! I was a bookish, nerdy twerp,

I greeted my professors with a self-effacing chirp.

But, oh, I had my Vonnegut, with Mozart on the Bose!

And now he's gone, so say it all together: "So it goes." (Elden Carnahan, Laurel)


Marcel Marceau and Washoe the chimp:


Two who uttered not a word

Last year got themselves interred.

Washoe couldn't "speak," although

He got on like Marcel Marceau.

Gestures and gesticulations

Were, for both, communications.

There's one distinction to impart:

Chimps are science, frogs are art. (Brendan Beary)


Rex Humbard, Tammy Faye Bakker and Jerry Falwell (and Ike Turner, Kurt Waldheim and Leona Helmsley)


In Heaven just the other day,

The dear departed Tammy Faye

Ran into her old acquaintance Rex.

Said the former Mrs. Bakker,

"It's so nice to meet our Maker,

Though I'm quite bewildered and perplexed.

There's Ike Turner playing blues,

And Kurt Waldheim helping Jews,

Even Mrs. Helmsley being merry.

But I've inspected everywhere,

And I've found neither hide nor hair

Of our former colleague Reverend Jerry." (Dave Zarrow, Herndon)