Do note that almost all, but not all, of the inking entries are in the galloping dactylic meter that Gorey used in “Tinies.” I didn’t make it a requirement, but looking back at the Week 757 winners, I feel that Ellen Raphaeli’s runner-up S/T couplet — “S for Spitzer: squanders sums for sordid sex: sore luck./ T is for Testosterone: turns titan into schmuck” — seems out of place as it marches amid the waltzing couplets surrounding it.
D is for Dudzik, and also 500
I am now officially late — a status that will probably be in effect for a year — in preparing the booklet of collected ink of (Stephen Dudzik, Olney, Md.), our newest member of the Style Invitational Hall of Fame, in which Steve joins the legendary Chuck Smith, Jennifer Hart, Russell Beland, Tom Witte, Chris Doyle, Brendan Beary and Kevin Dopart. Along the way — and it’s a very long way, since Week 7 — Steve has won the Invite 15 times: first in 1996, for suggesting items for Martha Stewart’s to-do calendar (“Gild Lilies”), and most recently for a contest to caption a page from one of Bob Staake’s picture books (“Mr. Wilson went to his grave denying that he gave Dennis the Menace the special elderberry hot chocolate”).
One of Steve’s specialties in the Invitational was The Ear No One Reads, a deliberately cryptic award given out by the Czar in the first five years of the contest. As I explained in a Post online chat in 2004 (on which I just spent 15 minutes wallowing in nostalgia):
“The Ear No One Reads was published every week in the Sunday Style section over several years and credited to the winning contributors in the body of the Invitational, though it did not appear there. In newspaper lingo, the ears are the little blurbs on the sides of the masthead on the front page (where it says The Washington Post, or Style). On A1, there’s a weather ear, for example. In Style until the masthead was redesigned in the late 1990s, there was a line that said People/Fashion/Gardens.
“One week we suddenly realized that People/Fashion/Gardens didn’t exactly make a whole lot of sense, seeing as how the gardening columnist, the incomparable essayist Henry Mitchell, had, well, died. It seemed a little too brusque to just drop “Gardens,” and so the editor of the Sunday Style section at the time, one Gene Weingarten, had the idea of replacing the standard text of the ear with something “Mysteries of Life Unraveled,” to see if anyone would notice. The next week he had “Walking on Eggshells With Hob-Nailed Boots.” Then he started using ideas sent in by readers, and the Czar credited them for writing The Ear No One Reads.”