Style Invitational Week 1067: Tinker with a quote, plus the
alternative-history winners

By Pat Myers
Published: April 10

/(Note: This week’s new contest appears farther down the page, after
this week’s results. It’s an experiment — in our new design in the print
paper, in The Post’s Arts & Style section, the results and new contest
run basically side by side, an option we don’t have online. Let the
Empress know what you think of having the results first, for a change:
Write her at .)./

**Report from Week 1064: HistoRebuffs: Actually we called it Week 1066 Minus 2, in honor of just about the only
event we knew that took place in a year we could associate with an
Invite week: The contest was to explain what would happen if some moment
in history had happened differently.

**The winner of the Inkin’ Memorial: * *

*1972: *If the Democratic National Committee headquarters had been in
the Willard Hotel, every scandal since then would have a name ending in
“lard.” (Gary Crockett, Chevy Chase, Md.)

**2nd place and a burlap sack called the Official Penitential Hair
Shirt: * *

*1963: *Because of Cold War tensions, JFK’s trip to Germany is rerouted
through several other cities to avoid Berlin. He declares to the crowds,
/“Ich bin ein Wiener, ein Bad Homburger und ein Putbusser!”/ The
president returns home in disgrace. (Frank Osen, Pasadena, Calif.)

**3rd place:* *

*1949: *What if George Orwell hadn’t written “1984”? Today, we wouldn’t
use the term “Big Brother” to refer to the [REDACTED]. (Kathy El-Assal,
Middleton, Wis.)

**4th place: * *

*1603: *Shakespeare has Horatio kiss Hamlet on the lips right after
saying, “Good night, sweet prince.” Soon, the stigma of homosexual
relationships all but vanishes in the Western world. Then, in 2123,
South Carolina legalizes same-sex marriage. (Ken Schwartz, Burke, Va.)

**Going down in history: honorable mentions* *

*1618: *John of Arc leads the French army to victory at the Siege of
Orleans. He is immediately recognized as a saint, given command of all
French forces and named second in line to the crown. (Scott Poyer,
Annapolis, Md.)

**1865: * *If Lincoln had survived, though wounded in the assassination
attempt: The president decides to bolster audience confidence in the
safety of attending plays by creating a Theater Security Administration,
requiring theatergoers to remove their clothing for a daguerreotype
before entering. (Seth Brown, North Adams, Mass.)

*1 million B.C.:* /Homo erectus /fails to tame fire. We celebrate the
Fourth of July by standing around a pile of wood. (Douglas Raybeck,
Amherst, Mass., a First Offender)

*1912:* What if the Titanic had avoided hitting the iceberg? Celine Dion
would be singing the theme song from “Costa Concordia.” (Beverley Sharp,
Montgomery, Ala.)

*66 million B.C.:* If the dinosaurs had decomposed into butter instead
of petroleum, we’d have trouble running our cars, but movie popcorn
would taste better. (Mark Raffman, Reston, Va.)

*144 B.C.:* If the Maccabees hadn’t succeeded in liberating the Temple,
there would be no Hanukkah. Then Fox News wouldn’t be able to complain
about stores wishing people “Happy holidays.” (David Schildkret,
Chandler, Ariz.)

*455:* The Vandals are driven back at the walls of Rome. The city is
saved from being sacked, but its walls are permanently scarred with
graffiti. (Konrad Schwoerke, Durham, N.C.)

*525:* What if Dionysius Exiguus had remembered to include a Year Zero
in his definition of the A.D. era? Every hundred years, crestfallen
pedants would be unable to point out when the /real/ turn of the century
occurs. (Jeff Contompasis, Ashburn, Va.)

*1517:* If Martin Luther hadn’t nailed his 95 Theses to the church in
Wittenberg, the FBI would have wiretapped John Calvin King in the 1960s.
(Kevin Dopart, Washington)

*1832:* If the June Rebellion had succeeded in overthrowing the French
crown, Russell Crowe’s singing would’ve ruined the movie musical “Les
Triomphantes.” (Matt Monitto, Elon, N.C.)

*1853:* If Elisha Otis had not invented the elevator safety brake, no
one would have bothered to invent the StairMaster. (Brad Alexander,
Wanneroo, Australia)

*1863:* Gen. George Pickett says at Gettysburg, “Let’s circle around and
surprise them from behind.” For centuries thereafter, commuters at the
American Legion Bridge curse “Pickett’s Surprise” as they line up to
show passports twice a day at the Maryland-Virginia border. (Ken Schwartz)

*1881:* Billy the Kid survives being shot and continues his outlaw ways.
When finally killed years later, he’s known as “William the Man.” (Ellen
Ryan, Rockville, Md.)

*1886:* France gives the United States a giant replica of Rodin’s
“Thinker.” The gift proves embarrassing when busy New York harbor
activity behind the structure cause scatological laughs. “The Stinker,”
as it’s soon called, is hastily removed from the harbor. All French
immigration is terminated. (Rob Huffman, Fredericksburg, Va.)

*1912: *What if Jackson Pollock had not been born? We’d have to clean up
after all our paint jobs. (John Glenn, Tyler, Tex.)

*1917:* Had the Bolshevik Revolution not happened, the Beatles’ White
Album would have started with “Back in the Land of the Czar.” (Brad

*1990:* J.K. Rowling gets a rewarding but time-consuming job, goes off
the dole and gives up writing. Kids continue to stay away from books.
Thus humanity is saved from the “Twilight” phenomenon. (Steven Steele
Cawman, Poughquag, N.Y. )

*???:* If the extraterrestrials hadn’t messed with all those ancient
cultures, the History Channel would have to make up some real garbage to
fill its schedule. (Josh Feldblyum, Philadelphia)

*1596:*If John Harrington, the inventor of the flush toilet, had gotten
the credit he deserved, instead of Thomas Crapper (who improved it in
the 19th century), then nobody would give a harry. (Bird Waring.
Larchmont, N.Y.)

*1897:*After seven years of research, note-taking, and revisions, Bram
Stoker gives up on his vampire novel. In 1942, moviegoers swoon over the
romance of “Casablanca,’ starring Ingrid Bergman and Bela Lugosi.
(Lawrence McGuire, Waldorf, Md.)

*2000:*If Al Gore had prevailed in the 2000 presidential election,
Michael Moore would still have made a movie blaming the 9/11 attacks on
George W. Bush. (Mark Raffman)

*1740: *What if George Washington had been a child in 2014 instead? He
would have said, “A cherry tree has been chopped down, and I accept
responsibility.” (Robert Schechter, Dix Hills, N.Y.)

*O: *The Big Bang: God does /not/ have an orgasm; the universe is not
created. (Tom Witte, Montgomery Village, Md.)

*1803: *If Napoleon hadn’t needed cash, there’d be great restaurants in
Des Moines.(Kevin Dopart)

/Still running — deadline Monday night: Our famous contest to “breed”
two given racehorse names and name the “foal.” See
. /



*“You’re gonna need a bigger bolt.”
— Igor *

*“All me are created equal.” -- Dolly the sheep *
(David Genser, Week 251, 1998)

*“And males to go before I sleep.” — Jenna Jameson*
(Mike Gips)

We’re bringing this contest back from 16 years ago, at the suggestion of
150-time Loser Mike Gips, who didn’t start Inviting until a mere 11
years ago. *This week:* *Alter a well-known quote slightly and attribute
it to someone else, *as in the examples above. In Week 251, the
now-deposed Czar of The Style Invitational decreed that the quote be
changed by only one letter; the Empress, however, will be a bit more
flexible, but she’s not looking for a rewrite or expansion of the
original; it should be very close. Feel free to include the (correct!)
original quote and attribution along with your altered one; the E might
include both if the original isn’t so well known. If the quote is from a
company or organization rather than a specific person, that’s fine, too.

Winner gets the Inkin’ Memorial
the Lincoln statue bobblehead that is the official Style Invitational
trophy. Second place receives an amazing bit of promotional swag that
fellow Stylista and Big Deal Radio Star Roxanne Roberts found in the
discard bin in The Post’s mailroom and immediately brought our way:
Courtesy of the National Pest Management Association — the
exterminators’ lobby — it’s Pest World,
a set of
Russian-style nesting dolls with various household critters painted on
them — you got your rat, your cricket, all the way down to your ant. And
they all nest inside (besides one another) a cylindrical wooden house
with a roof that you lift off.

*Other runners-up *win their choice of a yearned-for Loser Mug
or the ardently
desired “Whole Fools” Grossery Bag.
mentions get a lusted-after Loser magnet, either the Po’ Wit Laureate

or Puns of Steel.
Offenders receive a smelly tree-shaped air “freshener” (FirStink

for their first ink). E-mail entries to /
/ or, if you were born in the 19th century,
fax to 202-334-4312. Deadline is Monday, April 21; results published May
11 (online May 8). No more than 25 entries per entrant per week. Include
“Week 1067” in your e-mail subject line or it might be ignored as spam.
Include your real name, postal address and phone number with your entry.
See contest rules and guidelines at
. This week’s honorable-mentions subhead was
submitted by both Danielle Nowlin and Kevin Dopart; Danielle also wrote
the alternative headline in the “Next week’s results” line. Join the
lively Style Invitational Devotees group on Facebook at /
,/ and click “like” on Style Invitational Ink of
the Day at / /

*The Style Conversational: *The Empress’s weekly online column discusses
each new contest and set of results. Especially if you plan to enter,
check it out at .

*Next week’s results: Fasten Your Doublets,*or *A Show of Ands,* our
Week 1065 contest (or, as we called it, 1066
minus 1) to slightly alter any phrase of the form “A and B” and define
the new phrase.

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