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Copyright The Washington Post Company Apr 17, 1994

This Week's Contest was proposed by several people, but credit goes to Cindi Rae Caron of Lenoir, N.C., because she was the first to provide good examples. Cindi, who wins her choice of a live rat or a $10 gift certificate to Shoney's, suggests writing appropriate epitaphs for the not-yet-dead. Winner gets four coffee mugs featuring the three-dimensional likenesses of Popeye, Olive Oyl, Wimpy and Bluto, a value of $50. Runners-up, as always, get the coveted Style Invitational losers' T-shirts. Honorable Mentions get the mildly sought-after Style Invitational bumper stickers. Winners will be selected on the basis of humor and originality. Mail your entries to the Style Invitational, Week 59, The Washington Post, 1150 15th St. NW, Washington, D.C. 20071, fax them to 202-334-4312 or submit them via Internet at this address: Entries must be received on or before Monday, April 25. Please include your address and phone number. Winners will be announced in three weeks. No purchase necessary. Employees of The Washington Post and their immediate families are not eligible for prizes.

Report from Week 56, in which we asked you to come up with excuses to miss a day of work.

But first, a hearty Style Invitational apology goes out this week to Benjie Watts, a columnist for the News-Topic newspaper of Lenoir, N.C. Benjie, who writes under the pseudonym Tar Heel, read our question-and-answer column two weeks ago and took offense at the part where we asked, "Where is Lenoir, N.C.?" (Answer: "Who cares?") Benjie felt this was disrespectful to his town and urged his readers to call The Post to complain about our "highfalutin" ways. We wish to say we are very, very dreadfully sorry. We are certain that the only reason we have received just one call is that most folks in Lenoir haven't had time to hitch Ol' Bessie up to the buckboard, drive all the way to Mount Pilot to use the pay phone at the feed store.

Back to playing hooky:

Fourth Runner-Up: "If it's all the same to I won't be coming in to work. The voices told me to clean all the guns today." (Peyton Coyner, Afton, Va.)

Third Runner-Up: "When I got up this morning, I took two Ex-Lax in addition to my Prozac. I can't get off the john, but I feel good about it." (Chuck Smith, Woodbridge)Second Runner-Up: "I set half the clocks in my house ahead an hour and the other half back an hour Saturday and spent 18 days in some kind of space-time continuum loop, reliving Sunday (right up until the explosion). I was able to exit the loop only by reversing the polarity of the power source on exactly e+log(pi) clocks in the house while simultaneously rapping my dog on the snout with a rolled-up Times. Accordingly, I will be in late, or early." (Sydd Souza and Jim Eagles, Upper Marlboro)

First Runner-Up: "My stigmata's acting up." (Cindy Aldrich, Silver Spring)

And the winner of the fabulous talking parrot and Kodak Funsaver:

"I can't come to work today because I'll be stalking my previous boss, who fired me for not showing up for work. OK?" (E.J. Wassmer, Olney)

Honorable Mentions:

"I have a rare case of 48-hour projectile leprosy, but I know we have that deadline to meet ... " (Tom Witte, Gaithersburg)

"I am stuck in the blood pressure machine down at Giant." (Mike Thring, Leesburg)

"Yes, I seem to have contracted some attention-deficit disorder and, hey, how 'bout them Skins, huh? So I won't be able to, yes, could I help you? No, no, I'll be sticking with Sprint, but thank you for calling." (Robin D. Grove, Washington)

"I was on my way to work when this man dressed like a ninja asked me where he could find you. I thought fast and said I was meeting you at the ballpark. If there's any place I can lose him, that's it." (Fred Dawson, Beltsville)

"Constipation has made me a walking time bomb." (Chris Rooney, Blacksburg)

"I just found out I was switched at birth. Legally I shouldn't come to work knowing my employee records may now contain false information. I should get it cleared up by tomorrow." (Donna Kerns, Winchester)

"This darn brain aneurysm of mine is acting up again." (Leo Solimine, Washington)

"The psychiatrist said it was an excellent session. He even gave me this jaw restraint so I won't bite things when I am startled." (Chuck Hawkins, Oakton)

"The dog ate my car keys. We're going to hitchhike to the vet." (Ray Smith, Germantown)

"She's having ... uh, I'm having an identity crisis." (Cindi Rae Caron, Lenoir, N.C.)

"I prefer to remain an enigma." (David L. Jaquith, Free Union, Va.)

"My mother-in-law has come back as one of the Undead and we must track her to her coffin to drive a stake through her heart and give her eternal peace. One day should do it." (Chuck Smith, Woodbridge)

"I can't come to work today because the EPA has determined that my house is completely surrounded by wetlands, and I have to arrange for helicopter transportation." (Tom Witte, Gaithersburg)

"I am converting my calendar watch from Julian to Gregorian." (David L. Jaquith, Free Union, Va.)

"I am extremely sensitive to a rise in the interest rates." (David I. Gilbert, Miami, Fla.)

"My wife makes more than I do, so I have to stay at home with our sick son." (Julie Brinkman, Gaithersburg)

"I refuse to travel to my job in the District until there is a commuter tax. I insist on paying my fair share." (Tom Witte, Gaithersburg)

"I'm feeling a little disgruntled this morning. You want I should come in?" (Paul Kondis, Alexandria)

"I can't come in because the deadline is Monday and so far I only have seven different fun things to do with a barrel of snot." (Elden Carnahan, Laurel)

And Last:

"I injured myself with a wrist guillotine that I won in some stupid contest." (Paul Styrene, Olney)

ILLUSTRATION,,Bob Staake For Twp

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