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Copyright The Washington Post Company Sep 19, 2004

Being short: "That's just because I'm a twin. My brother stood on my head for nine months."

Being stingy: "You see, I need to save all my money so that when I die, my estate can pay for a really lavish funeral, for the comfort of my many


This week's contest was suggested jointly by Margaret Bechtel of Annandale and Russell Beland of The Pool Margaret Goes To. The idea is to come up with new excuses for any common human shortcoming or imperfection.

First-prize winner receives the Inker, the official Style Invitational Trophy. First runner-up wins a board game named Loser, "for people who aren't afraid to laugh at their mistakes. And their friends." Donated by Erika Reinfeld of Somerville, Mass., who readily admits that it "seems pretty lame," it includes a stack of cards, each asking if the player has done some loserly thing (e.g., lost his wallet, failed to vote, "had a monster hickey you couldn't hide").

Runners-up all win the coveted Style Invitational Loser T-shirt. Honorable mentions get one of the lusted-after Style Invitational Magnets. One prize per entrant per week. Send your entries by e- mail to or by fax to 202-334-4312. Deadline is Monday, Sept. 27. Put the week number in the subject line of your e- mail, or it risks being ignored as spam. Include your name, postal address and phone number with your entry. Contests are 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 Oct. 17. 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 Tom Witte of Montgomery Village.

Report from Week 572, in which we asked for limericks based on words beginning with ai- to ar-, to contribute to the very-long- term "Omnificient English Dictionary in Limerick Form" project. You can soon see many of the entries to this contest, in addition to the winners, at They will no doubt include the several fine verses about the word "anus" that the Empress didn't even try to include here, because the Empress would like to remain an employee of The Washington Post Co.

{diam}Fourth runner-up:

To shoot with a bow with the best,

Ancient maids cut off part of the chest.

Now their mythical name

Means a strong, warlike dame:

An amazon (Greek for "no breast").

(Louis Spector, Winnetka, Ill.)

{diam}Third runner-up:

Warmongers step up, take a bow,

The world's in an unholy row.

The big guns are booming

And mushroom clouds looming.

You've created apocalypse now.

(Ross Elliffe, Picton, New Zealand)

{diam}Second runner-up:

Now these beetles are marvelous things,

In the kingdom of bugs, they're the kings.

This is true of them all

Except ex-Beatle Paul,

Who is apterous now -- without Wings.

(Scott Campisi, Wake Village, Tex.)

{diam}First runner-up, the winner of the alligator-claw back scratcher and alligator-head letter opener:

When Reagan and Thatcher shared glory,

The press back then missed their love story.

Ronnie said she was hot,

And believe it or not,

Maggie said to him, "I, amatory."

(Dave Zarrow, Herndon)

{diam}And the winner of the Inker:

It's in vain that the teenagers try

All their algebra skills to apply.

Though they can, on occasions,

Solve x in equations,

They still haven't figured out y.

(Brendan Beary, Great Mills)

{diam}Honorable Mentions:

A sentence begins on a track

But suddenly changes its tack.

Let's put a sleuth on

This anacoluthon

And -- whoa, get a load of that rack!

(Chris Doyle, Forsyth, Mo.)

There's a type of bird men used to hail

As a burden that meant you would fail.

It was called albatross,

But with Bush Senior's loss,

Some have said that it should be named quayle.

(Seth Brown, North Adams, Mass.)

Just as baby gets bigger each day,

So the grocery list grows the same way:

It starts off with "Pampers &"

Often that ampersand

Leads to more money to pay.

(Bill Spencer, Exeter, N.H.)

Said the frog to the princess from Texas:

"Would you care for amplexus, Alexis?

Though I cannot convince

You that I am a prince,

Still frogs know how complex human sex is."

(Mary Ann Henningsen, Hayward, Calif.)

When the windflower wilts in Gethsemane

And the weeds are regaining hegemony,

The gardener will turn

To the maidenhair fern,

With a frond like this, who needs anemone?

(Chris Doyle)

His CDs are arranged A to Z

And he numbers his clothes 1-2-3.

Everything in his mind

Is precisely aligned;

He is anal-retentive, you see.

(Jon Reiser, Hilton, N.Y.)

Now you know I won't slip you no jive,

But that andalusite, man alive!

There's no ifs, ands or buts --

I've completely gone nuts

For this Al2SiO5!

(Brendan Beary)

Pythagoras, rod and reel dangling,

Couldn't keep all his tackle from tangling.

His plight he lamented

Until he invented

A theorem to simplify angling.

(Tim Alborn, Washington)

I ask what the deal with my toes is,

The doc says it is ankylosis.

But toes are in front!

To be really blunt,

This doc don't know ankles from noses.

(Mike Connaghan, Alexandria)

Church and state are like light in a prism:

Far more beautiful after the schism.

Some take issue with this,

And promote antidis-


(Dan Seidman, Watertown, Mass.; Seth Brown)

You've got funny stuff right in your eye.

You can't clean it out -- don't even try!

It's just goo, not a tumor,

Called the aqueous humor.

(What a cornea jokester am I!)

(Dave Zarrow)

Lawyers' archives hold motions and pleas;

Bankers' archives store records of fees.

A Realtor's, deeds;

A botanist's, seeds;

Noah's ark-hives: just one pair of bees.

(Paul Cowan, Greensborough, Australia)


I'll bash in his bwains with a thud

Then I'll bathe in his wascally bwud.

Then you can constwue

That I made bunny stew

Or my name is not Elmer Q. Fudd.

(Dan Nooter, Washington)

With arithmetic clearly you see

What the sum of two numbers will be.

With logic it's rife

(Unlike in real life,

Where one and one tend to make three).

(Chris J. Strolin, Belleville, Ill.)

A fleet can be called an armada.

The big one from Spain was tostada.

The wind and the Brits

Pounded Spain's into bits.

It won a big zilch (which means nada).

(John Held, Fairfax)

Arrangement can be first to last,

Or future, then present, then past.

It's the order that matters:

Left to right; formers, latters;

Or sober, then tipsy, then gassed.

(Hamdi Akar, Broad Run)

That gray metal arsenic is best

To bump off an unwanted pest.

Whether rat, bird or mouse,

Beetle, cricket or louse . . .

Or welcome-outstaying houseguest.

(Paul Cowan)

More Honorable Mentions appear on

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