Week 456 (CXXIII) : A Bad-Ask Contest

wordplay and sarcasm! This is right up your alley!

Full Text (1253   words)
Copyright The Washington Post Company Jun 2, 2002


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This Week's Contest may look familiar. It is, verbatim, the contest from two weeks ago, with one slight change: You are still on Jeopardy!, and you still have to supply questions to the above answers, but the winners will be the least funny answers. That's right: Your goal is to provide entries that might be submitted by the tragically humor-impaired. First-prize winner gets a Loser Pen, but not just any Loser Pen. Every year, the Style Invitational Orders 50 new pens that say "Loser" and one that says "The Czar," for the personal use of Himself. Well, this year there was a regrettable auditory miscommunication in the ordering process. And so the first-prize winner gets a nifty wooden pen that says "Bizarre."

First runner-up wins the tacky but estimable Style Invitational Loser Pen. Other runners-up win the coveted Style Invitational Loser T-shirt. Honorable mentions get the mildly sought-after Style Invitational bumper sticker. Send your entries via fax to 202-334- 4312, or by e-mail to U.S. mail entries are no longer accepted due to rabid, spit-flying fanaticism. Deadline is Monday, June 10. All entries must include the week number of the contest and your name, postal address and telephone number. E-mail entries must include the week number in the subject field. Contests will be 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 in four weeks. No purchase required for entry. Employees of The Washington Post, and their immediate relatives, are not eligible for prizes. Pseudonymous entries will be disqualified. The revised title for next week's contest is by a lot of people.

Report from Week CXIX,

which was based upon the startling announcement by (Russell Beland, Springfield) that he was retiring from the contest because it had become a soul-devouring addiction. Your job was to come up with steps for a 12-step program for the recovering Invitationalaholic; or, alternately, to propose devious methods to lure him back. This week marks the longest winning entry in the contest's history.

{diam}Second Runner-Up: How to lure Russ back: Use reverse psychology. Declare him "an honorary Post employee," making him technically ineligible. Even better, put him in the Style Invitational Hall of Fame, but with an asterisk.

(Jeff Joseph, Leesburg)

{diam}First Runner-Up: How to lure Russ back: Promise him 72 virgins. Believe it or not, this actually works!

(O. bin Laden, Toledo, Ohio; Chris Doyle, Burke)

{diam}And the winner of the blue wig:

How to lure Russ back: Whack him smartly in the head, right upside the hippocampus. Short-term memory disappears, a{grv} la "Memento." Then comes the 12-Step Process.

1. Hey, what's this in the Style section? A contest based on wordplay and sarcasm! This is right up your alley! 2. A man calls you up. He calls himself The Czar. He begs you to "return." Before he hangs up, he says, "Russ, read your tattoos." You do. One says, "Don't trust your wife and all her lies." 3. You open a drawer and find a taxidermized frog wearing a tuxedo. What kind of idiot would own such a thing? 4. You begin to narrate a story about a Loser you once knew. He gave up the Style Invitational in the prime of his career. He hanged himself with dental floss. 5. You are chasing a man. No, he is chasing you. "Give me that T-shirt," he screams. You escape. 6. A woman finds you. She claims to be your wife. She begs you to retire from that stupid contest. You find a tattoo that says "Don't trust your wife and all her lies." Instinct tells you to placate her, so you announce your retirement, whatever that means. 7. You walk by a woman in Denny's. She looks abused. She grabs your arm and says, "Thanks for the entries, Russ." You ask: "Do I know you?" She says, "Just call me Jenny," knowing you won't remember. 8. A man calls and tells you to write "Trust the Czar" on your body. You do. 9. A woman claiming to be your wife says, "Hey, you told me you were giving that up." You look down and see to your horror that you are writing something about human excreta. 10. You find 14 T- shirts in your dresser. They all have cartoons of people trying to kill themselves. You look for a razor blade but find only dental floss. 11. Someone has written "Trust the Czar" upside down on your buttocks. 12. Hey, what's this in the Style section? A contest based on wordplay and sarcasm! This is right up your alley!

(J.D. Berry, Springfield)

{diam}Honorable Mentions:


Change the first prize each week to a night on the town with Mrs. Beland.

(David Kleinbard, Jersey City)

Just print his damn manifesto already. (Sarah W. Gaymon, Gambrills)

Remind him that he has spent his career as part of a gray federal bureaucracy, and that he basically has no soul left to lose.

(Brian C. Broadus, Charlottesville)

Build a deep pit in his front yard. Fill it with Madagascar hissing cockroaches, cover it with leaves and twigs. When Russ steps in it, wheeee! This won't lure him back, but it would be cool.

(Jonathan Paul, Garrett Park)

Call him up, tell him you understand why he had no choice, inquire after his wife, and then make that spousal whip- cracking noise.

(John Kammer, Herndon)

Taper off slowly by using pseudonyms such as (Chuck Smith, Woodbridge). (Chuck Smith, Woodbridge)

Walk up to Russ and say: "We need you back. You are the wittiest man alive and the contest isn't funny without you." First, though, get a few injections of Botox so you can do all that with a straight face.

(Joseph Romm, Washington)


1. Channel your seditious energy elsewhere. For example, get the most pedestrian hints you can think of printed by Heloise. ("A funnel works great to transfer liquids between containers without spilling!")

(Sarah W. Gaymon, Gambrills)

2. Legally change your name to "Boisfeuillet Jones." Even if you backslide and send in entries, The Post can't print them. In time you will get discouraged and give up.

(Fred S. Souk, Reston)

3. Find a hobby that's less obsessive-compulsive. Like stalking. (Chris Doyle, Burke)

4. Finally admit to yourself that women are lying when they say they are looking for men with a great sense of humor. (Chuck Smith, Woodbridge)

5. Remove all pens and pencils from your bathroom. (Jennifer Hart, Arlington)

6. Ask your doctor to prescribe Invite-B-Gone, the humor-writing equivalent of methadone. It will probably be in suppository form. If you think this is funny, it isn't working yet. (Jennifer Hart, Arlington)

7. Apologize to everyone whom you have ever hurt as a result of your addiction. Yes, Bill Clinton counts. And no, we don't care if John Bobbitt was asking for it. Well, we guess you can make an exception for Hitler. (Mark Young, Washington; Bob Dalton, Arlington)

8. Associate with more well-adjusted people: Become a Trekkie.

(Bob Dalton, Arlington)

9. Constantly seek a higher purpose in life. Like shoplifting.

(Bob Dalton, Arlington)

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