The Style Invitational Week 987 Bank shots

By Pat Myers, Thursday, September 6, 7:01 PM


Real Washington Post headline: Md. agency on a mission to unclog greasy sewer arteries

Fake bank head: ‘Stop eating all those Big Macs,’ health dept. urges seamstresses


In this perennial Invite contest — formerly called “Mess With Our Heads” when space used to allow it in the print paper — we ask you to take any headline, verbatim, appearing anywhere in The Post or on from Sept. 6 through Sept. 17 and reinterpret it by adding a “bank head,” or subtitle (like the joke bank head offered under the actual Post headline above). For heads in the print paper, include the date and page number; for heads from the Web, give the date and copy a sentence or two of the story (even better, copy the URL from the address bar). You don’t have to use the entire headline, but don’t skip words or change the essential meaning by cutting off the end, as from “President kills bill” to “President kills.” Headlines in ads and subheads within an article (as well as actual bank heads) can be used, as well as one-line links to articles online, but not photo captions. See last year’s results at


Winner gets the Inkin’ Memorial, the bobblehead that is the official Style Invitational trophy. Second place receives an especially weird little toy from Japan, home to many, many weird toys. This one comes in a plastic capsule a little bigger than an egg, and features a teeny plastic pink potty containing two even teenier piles of bright yellow rubbery poo. Given out, appropriately, as a door prize at the Losers’ recent awards luncheon, the Flushies. Donated by Marleen May.


Other runners-up win their choice of a yearned-for Loser Mug or the ardently desired Grossery Bag. Honorable mentions get a lusted-after Loser magnet. First Offenders receive a smelly, tree-shaped air “freshener” (FirStink for their first ink). E-mail entries to or fax to 202-334-4312. Deadline is Monday, Sept. 17; results published Oct. 7 (online Oct. 4). No more than 25 entries per entrant per week. Include “Week 987” in your e-mail subject line or it might be ignored as spam. Include your real name, postal address and phone number with your entry. See contest rules and guidelines at The subhead for this week’s honorable mentions is by Kevin Dopart; the alternative headline in the “next week’s results” line is by Tom Witte. Join the lively Style Invitational Devotees group on Facebook at


Report from Week 983, our annual Limerixicon, in which we seek limericks focusing on a word from a sliver of the dictionary — this year it was eq- through ez-:


The winner of the Inkin’ Memorial


When poor Fido is “no longer here,”

We use words that are soft but less clear.

We may say he’s “passed on”

Or “put down” or just “gone” –

See, we’ve had the dog euphemized, dear. (Brendan Beary, Great Mills, Md.)


2. Winner of the rotting-zombie Mirror Clings:

From my exorcist (feeling hard-pressed)

I beseeched time to pay. Should have guessed

He would say there’s no way.

I must settle today,

Or tomorrow I’ll be repossessed. (Stephen Gold, Glasgow, Scotland)


3. If we’re asked to coin terms that define

How both Mitt and Barack cross the line

With campaigns that attack

And exhibit a lack

Of all qualms, “ethic cleansing” is mine. (Chris Doyle, Ponder, Tex.)


4. “I’ve heard what you shepherd boys do

When you’re looking for something to. . . woo.

But take me to bed

And you’ll find out,” she said,

“That I’m quite a bit better than ewe.” (Craig Dykstra, Centreville, Va.)


Lower lims: Honorable mentions


It’s a subject I’m not keen to touch on:

A blot on the family escutcheon.

The king granted arms

To Great-Grandma, whose charms

He enjoyed when I fear she’d not much on. (Hugh Thirlway, The Hague)


“If it’s true non-consensual sex, it

Doesn’t ‘take’; the gal’s body rejects it!”

So says candidate Akin.

Abort THAT mistake, an’

Show Mr. Cro-Magnon the exit. (Nan Reiner, Alexandria, Va.)


In election years, pols never fail

To say foolish things out on the trail,

Though you’ll probably not

Hear one claim, “I smoked pot

In my youth, but I didn’t exhale.” (Chris O’Carroll, Emporia, Kan.)


The upper-class lady who gloats

As she shows off expensive fur coats

Doesn’t know that the ermine

Is a weaselly vermin.

She’s wearing the skins of dead stoats! (Dixon Wragg, Santa Rosa, Calif.)


Exhibitionist Mr. van Lear

Has been told to quit flashing ’round here,

Which has left him nonplussed,

And he’s asked, “Can’t I just

Stick it out till the end of the year?” (Brendan Beary)


A printed mistake’s an erratum,

And an editor’s needed to spot ’em.

But as newspaper copy

Gets more and more sloppy,

I fear that won day we’ll hit boddum. (Beverley Sharp, Montgomery, Ala.)


In the District some think it’s all right

That integrity’s not black and white:

Where politicos stray,

The area’s Gray

And real ethics are nowhere in sight. (Kevin Dopart, Washington)


While his wife’s horse is overseas prancing,

Romney’s poll numbers aren’t advancing.

Though equestrian sport

May play well with his sort,

It’s a joke to the folks out in Lansing. (Mark Raffman, Reston, Va.)


“Fifty Shades”: just erotic, or porn?

It’s a question with many a thorn.

Here’s a clue: When your kid

Found you reading it, did

You wish fiercely you’d never been born? (Melissa Balmain, Rochester, N.Y.)


Said the lecturer: ‘Troubled digestions --

Check them, empty, for any congestions:

The patient must fast

For esophagogast-

-roduodenoscopy. Questions?” (Hugh Thirlway)


A potbellied priest told me, “You’re

Possessed by the Devil, for sure.

But your timing’s sublime

’Cause my doctor says I’m

Out of shape and should exorcise more.” (Robert Schechter, Dix Hills, N.Y.)


A clearer of timber devours

Viagra in search of new powers,

But he takes it too far:

Now he’s in the ER,

Where he’s logged more than 44 hours. (Chris Doyle)


An experienced lady from Gloucester

Told a fellow who tried to accoucester:

“Though I’m busy today,

If you’re willing to pay,

Then tomorrow you’ll be on my roucester.” (Brian Allgar, Paris)


Escargot is a dish made of snail

That sophisticates often impale

On fine forks and consume

In an elegant room

When good taste and good sense don’t prevail. (Max Gutmann, Cupertino, Calif.)


To exaggerate means overstate:

“I could pop!” means I just overate.

I can claim that this rhyme


(But that’s subject, it seems, to debate. . .) (Beverley Sharp)


After so many years’ immorality,

Would I really enjoy immortality?

I’m at sixes and sevens,

Since sex up in Heaven’s

An unlikely eventuality. (John Whitworth, Canterbury, England, a First Offender)


Great-Grandma was seldom in estrus,

But when estrus came ’round, sex was bestrus.

She undressed with finesse

And dispensed her largess

With success — thus became my ancestress. (Sheila Blume, Sayville, N.Y.)


Our relationship isn’t complex;

We hook up on occasion for sex.

Then we’re filled with self-loathing,

We put on our clothing –

And that’s the routine with my ex. (Brendan Beary)


A candidate, asked to explain

How he managed so well with no brain,

Said, “I never get flustered

When I can’t cut the mustard.

And none of my names is Hussein.” (Edmund Conti, Raleigh, N.C.)


Sure, I’m dressed in an outfit that’s steamy

And flattered you find me so dreamy.

But now should I run

’Cause that’s either a gun

Or you’re really erumpent to see me. (Kevin Dopart)


I’ve studied quite hard at theology,

Yet never quite aced eschatology:

Will the Maker require

That I roast in a fire

Or accept a few words of apology? (Graham Lester, Roeland Park, Kan.)


The Norgay and Hillary show

Conquered Everest six decades ago.

It’s different today:

You fight crowds all the way,

And the scene at the top’s SRO. (Chris Doyle)


Baby swallowed some dimes from a jar,

So we rushed to the doc. It’s bizarre;

We’re assured he’ll expel,

And soon all will be well,

But no change is apparent so far. (Stephen Gold)


My plans to get published? Defeated.

There are gaps, so my book’s not completed.

Though the writing went well,

Now it’s all gone to [censored],

Since the expletives all are deleted. (Beverley Sharp)


The =’s two little dashes;

Don’t confuse it with +s or #s,

Nor with decimal dots,

Which are nothing but spots,

As though sums were developing rashes. (Hugh Thirlway)


It’s a look that’s outlived many fads:

Just a flowery sundress and spads

(Short for “espadrilles”), yet

I admit I’m upset,

For the outfit, in this case, is Dad’s. (Brendan Beary)


And last:

I know how this contest is endin’.

Excited and proud, I will send in

Some rhymes that can’t lose,

Then the Empress will choose

Some funnier limericks by Brendan. (Robert Schechter)


And Even Laster:

A classic Style Invite submission

Requires one part erudition,

One part imbecility

And two parts puerility;

Mix well; serve without inhibition. (Nan Reiner)


Next week’s results: (A)nother (B)rilliant (C)ontest — (D)o (E)nter, or Just Keep Losing, Morons