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Week 190 : Office You Can't Refuse


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Copyright The Washington Post Company Nov 3, 1996

Post-It notes are convenient aids for the workplace but should not be used in lieu of pants.

Warning: Some supervisors view unapproved, long-term borrowing as theft.

In requesting a raise, it is generally not recommended to point out to your boss that the only person you know who takes more vacations than he does is Boris Yeltsin.

This week's contest was proposed, in various formats over the last two years, by Chuck Smith of Woodbridge, Robin D. Grove of Baltimore, Jean and Bob Sorensen of Herndon, Vincent "The Chin" Gigante of Brooklyn, Wally the Man With Three Buttocks, and some guy named Ed. We will find some pathetic prizes to send those people -- you know, like those stupid-looking nostril spreaders pro athletes wear -- because after all, they stole the idea from Scott Adams, who draws "Dilbert" and keeps writing books filled with cynical advice and principles from the workplace. This week's contest is to come up with a Principle For The Workplace. First-prize winner gets a hardbound copy of the American Phrenology Journal from 1866, a delightfully lunatic periodical chockablock with elaborate scientific articles establishing how one's character, temperament and abilities may be reliably predicted by one's posture, one's gait, the shape of one's head, the color of one's skin, etc. This is worth $40.

Runners-up, as always, receive the coveted Style Invitational Loser's T-shirt. Honorable Mentions get the mildly sought-after Style Invitational bumper sticker. Winners will be selected on the basis of humor and originality. Mail your entries to The Style Invitational, Week 190, c/o The Washington Post, 1150 15th St. NW, Washington, D.C. 20071; fax them to 202-334-4312; or submit them via Internet to this address: losers@access.digex.net. Internet users: Please indicate the week number in the "subject" field. Entries must be received on or before Monday, Nov. 11. Please include your address and phone number. Winners will be announced in three weeks. Editors reserve the right to alter entries for taste, humor or appropriateness. No purchase necessary. The Faerie of the Fine Print & the Ear No One Reads wishes to thank Russell Beland of Springfield for today's Ear No One Reads, and for his incessant cheerful commentary on the dreadful creative depths to which this contest has sunk. Employees of The Washington Post and their immediate families are not eligible for prizes.

Report from Week 187, in which we gave you seven real first lines from famous literary works, and invited you to complete them. The drinking duck for correctly identifying the most lines goes to Jonathan Paul of Garrett Park. Quote 1 was from "Frankenstein" by Mary Shelley; 2, from "Bad As I Wanna Be" by Dennis Rodman; 3, from "The Snows of Kilamanjaro" by Ernest Hemingway; 4, from "1984" by George Orwell; 5, from "The Final Days" by Woodward and Bernstein; 6, from "Primary Colors" by Joe Anonymous; and 7, from "Charlotte's Web" by E.B. White.

Third Runner Up: This was an extraordinary mission. No presidential aides had ever done what they were about to do

... And they were ready. "Baker, get the fire ants there by 9 p.m.," barked O'Neill. "Reynolds, the ipecac goes into the caviar. Carrothers? There you are. You have the dosage right for the carriage horses? I know fire-hose diarrhea is unpredictable, but we want to get the timing right if we can." The daughter of one of America's leading industrialists was getting married. This would be a wedding to remember (Sarah Worcester, Bowie)

Second Runner-Up: You will rejoice to hear that no disaster has accompanied the commencement of an enterprise which you have regarded with such evil forebodings.

... The Wang Fun Fortune Cookie Company is pleasing to announce felicitous proclamations that it has smiled benevolence on your resume, and will be keeping it in the files ...

(Michael Baird, Derwood)

First Runner-Up: He was a big fellow, looking seriously pale on the streets of Harlem in deep summer.

... Yes, Mark Fuhrman was now growing certain the Speakers' Bureau had made a mistake.

(Chuck Smith, Woodbridge)

And the winner of "Dogs Playing Poker":

It was a bright cold day in April and the clocks were striking thirteen.

.... But then, from that 32nd day of March, when the dazzling dame with the fine trio of knockers waltzed into my office and plunked down a D-note for me to find her husband, 10-Fingered Louie, nothing about this case had added up. (Susan Reese, Arlington)

Honorable Mentions:

Quote 6: He was a big fellow, looking seriously pale on the streets of Harlem in deep summer.

... but I knew Colin Powell could deliver us some serious votes. (Mike Connaghan, Gaithersburg)

... but he wanted to test his basketball skills against the best young players in the city, and Manute Finkelstein knew this was the place to be. (Dave Zarrow, Herndon)

In fact, he was a monstrous, writhing, 87-foot tapeworm! No, ha ha, fooled you. He was actually fictional presidential candidate Roman A. Clef, hero of yet another piece of overhyped political hack work. His wife was the tapeworm! No, ha ha. She was just his wife. Or was she? Yes, she was. (Jonathan Paul, Garrett Park)

Quote 3: "The marvelous thing is that it is painless," he said. "That is how you know when it starts."

There are lies, there are damn lies, and there is Lamaze . (Art Grinath, Takoma Park)

.. the baseball commissioner drawled nervously. "I mean, a five-game suspension is barely noticeable, Roberto." (Jonathan Paul, Garrett Park)

Quote 2: On an April night in 1993 I sat in the cab of my pickup truck with a rifle in my lap, deciding whether to kill myself.

But it wasn't going to be a quick death. I wasn't getting off the hook that easy. First, I was going to have a little fun with myself. "Do you know how to dance?" I asked myself. "What?" I replied. "Let's see those feet start moving," I hollered. To prove I was serious, I began shooting at the floor beside my feet. Terrified, I did what I said. (John Kammer, Herndon)

Quote 4: It was a bright cold day in April and the clocks were striking thirteen.

My daughter appeared wearing her three-three from ballet. "When will this ridiculous inflation ever end?" I twodered aloud. (Beth Benson, Lanham)

No one in the government office even noticed, which was ample poof of the genius of the idea. The extra hour slipped into the workday by President Perot would provide a 13 percent increase in production at no additional cost. The next innovation to try: virtual flushing. (Elden Carnahan, Laurel)

Later that night, I saw a man sitting next to me in the cab of his pickup, with a rifle in his lap, deciding whether to kill himself, but that's another story. (Art Grinath,

Takoma Park)

Quote 5: This was an extraordinary mission. No presidential aides had ever done what they were about to do.

No one had ever been asked to install a coin-operated "Magic Fingers" in the Lincoln Bed before. (Chuck Smith, Woodbridge)

Quote 1: You will rejoice to hear that no disaster has accompanied the commencement of an enterprise which you have regarded with such evil forebodings.

"Yeah, pal?" responded Murphy. "Well, I got your evil forebodings right here."

(John Kammer, Herndon)

Quote 7: "Where's Papa going with the ax?" said Fern as her mother set the breakfast table

"I don't rightly know, dear," Mother replied. "`Dogs Playing Poker' isn't supposed to be delivered until later on this week"

(Elden Carnahan, Laurel)

Next Week: Blankety Blanks

[Illustration]
ILLUSTRATION,,Bob Staake For Twp CAPTION: Attention: Sanitary toilet seat covers are not to be used as lobster bibs!


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