Week 508 : Letter Rip

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Copyright The Washington Post Company Jun 1, 2003

Doltergeist: A spirit that decides to haunt someplace stupid, such as your septic tank.

(David Genser, Arlington)

Giraffiti: Vandalism spray-painted very, very high, such as the famous "Surrender Dorothy" on the Beltway overpass.

(Robin D. Grove, Pasadena, Md.)

Sarchasm: The gulf between the author of sarcastic wit and the recipient who doesn't get it.

(Tom Witte, Gaithersburg)

Coiterie: A very very close-knit group.

(Jonathan Paul, Garrett Park)

Reintarnation: Coming back to life as a hillbilly.

(Barry Blyveis, Columbia)

This week's contest has been suggested, over the years, by literally dozens of clueless readers from around the country. These people's only contact with The Style Invitational occurs online, and consists entirely of having read the excellent entries like those above, ripped off from a long-ago contest. They have evidently concluded that The Style Invitational is a dreadfully boring and unimaginative contest that, week after week, for years and years, has been inviting readers to take a word from the dictionary, add, change or delete a single letter, and redefine the word. And so every so often, out of the blue, we get an entry from one of these people! This has been going on for years! These people's entries are invariably terrible. So finally, we decided, what the hell. Here we go. One more time. First-prize winner gets an amazing prize donated to The Style Invitational by the Post's Food section: Four promotional place mats produced by the Australian meat and livestock industry. Each depicts, in the style of a different classical artist, people eating lamb chops.

It is priceless.

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. Deadline is Monday, June 8. 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 Thos. Witte of Gaithersburg.

Report from Week 504,

where you were invited to come up with schmaltzy last lines appropriate to Style's "Life Is Short" Sunday feature.

Fifth Runner-Up: But she looked at me and said, "It's okay, Mommy, my fish is in Heaven with Grandpa." (Bob Dalton, Arlington)

Fourth Runner-Up: And I reflected on how "Torah" and "Koran" are spelled, realizing that the two religions differ not one bit in the middle, only at the fringes. (Leonard Greenberg, Sterling)

Third Runner-Up: Now I know that a Full House beats anything. (Jean Sorensen, Herndon)

Second Runner-Up: "Father," I decided, means more than just combining "fat" and "her." (Patrick Sheehan, Wheaton)

First Runner-Up:

As a quadriplegic, maybe I can't clap my hands or stamp my feet, but I'm happy and I know it, and I can shout "Hurray!" (Beth Baniszewski, Cambridge, Mass.)

And the winner of the book and calendar of celebrity gravestones:

And then it came to me that today is nothing more than tomorrow's yesterday, and I was no longer afraid. (David Ronka, Charlottesville)

Honorable Mentions:

Sometimes the cook needs the chicken soup the most.

(Joseph Romm, Washington)

If there are two sides to every equation, then I am the equal sign. (Jean Sorensen, Herndon)

And I realized, at last, that it's time for a nice long swim in Lake Me.

(Kelly Hyson, Wheaton)

And that is why I measure my life not in years, but in smiles.

(Brian Barrett, Bethesda)

By then, it hardly seemed to matter. (Dan Rosen, Washington)

I decided to give each and every one of my Beanie Babies a hug, even the ones that have lost 90 percent of their value. (Art Grinath, Takoma Park)

Crying is sighing squared.

(Chuck Smith, Woodbridge)

A crack in your Dale Earnhardt collector's plate affects the value only if you plan to sell it. Ever.

(Art Grinath, Takoma Park)

Saying goodbye can be just as beautiful as saying hello.

(Leigh Schneider, Weston Act, Australia)

And now I know why "diapers" is an anagram of "despair."

(Chris Doyle, Forsyth, Mo.)

What followed was an unearthly silence, like when a tree falls and there is no one to hear it, except this time it was I who wasn't there.

(Joel Knanishu, Rock Island, Ill.)

Because light reflecting off a gin bottle will never match the sparkle in a baby's eyes. (Jennifer Hart, Arlington)

You see, little Josh had painted the dog as a birthday gift to me.

(Jeff Brechlin, Potomac Falls)

Fatherhood is a man's job.

(Chuck Smith, Woodbridge)

Now the only thing that comes between me and my spouse is a hyphen. (Jean Sorensen, Herndon)

Next time around, I will be that swan. (Jean Sorensen, Herndon)

Because when you look out a window, you never know who is looking back in at you. (Bruce Alter, Fairfax Station)

And I realized I had known it all along. (Dan Rosen, Washington)

As that little girl looked at me across the room, I wished I'd had a hundred kidneys. (J.D. Berry, Springfield)

After all, the White House isn't just white. It's also a house.

(Beth Baniszewski, Cambridge, Mass.)

When I laughed at death, it just sat there, like it didn't get my little joke. (Jean Sorensen, Herndon)

I knew then that the space bar is no place to meet someone.

(Jean Sorensen, Herndon)

Sure, my wife is pregnant. But I am pregnant, too, with love and concern for her. (Tom Witte, Gaithersburg)

I look forward to God's explanation. (Paul Kraft, Bethesda)

Tears, after all, water the soul.

(Chuck Smith, Woodbridge)

Happiness lies somewhere in the middle, between zero and infinity. (Kevin Mellema, Falls Church)

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