The Style Conversational
The Style Conversational
Loser-friendly discussion with The Empress of The Style Invitational

Week 979: Lend me your irritants

By the E, Pat Myers

Shooting for brevity this week. For someone who’s supposed to know about the soul of wit, I tend to be pretty soulless on Fridays.

To start with, do me a favor and don’t cutesily respond to Week 979 by sending me 25 entries in a single-spaced list of 8-point type, or in all capitals, or in 14 different colors. Or by complaining — unless it's in a reallllly funny way — that I failed to appreciate the brilliance of your entry that didn’t get ink. This is a wide-open contest for imaginatively funny people, and I’m sure that many of them will come up with interesting new ways to bother those in the general vicinity.

Your irritant may be targeted to a particular person or group of people, rather than just “people.” (I added that clarification a few minutes after the contest went up online on Thursday afternoon; it’s also in the print paper.)

I’m figuring that it might occur to some people to write something involving electricity or the lack of it. Here in Washington, there are still thousands of homes whose power hasn’t been restored after last Friday night’s storm; here at the wooded Mount Vermin, in the Maryland suburbs a few miles south of the District, we were out for a relatively easy 41 hours, and we didn’t even lose the ice cream. Many among the Greater Loser Community had it much worse: Loser of the Year Gary Crockett lived up to his title, losing power for five days after a neighbor’s tree fell on a wire in his leafy suburb of Chevy Chase, Md. And during the storm, a big tree limb speared through Ira Allen’s roof and right into a room in nearby Bethesda, Md. (He and wife Marin were unscathed, and Ira was back on Facebook within a day or so with his usual ranting about Nationals coaching.)

As luck would have it, the storm and blackout occurred during the entry window for Week 977, the Google Translate contest — one that absolutely required a significant period of Internet access. So we’re being very lenient about the Week 977 entry deadline — basically a couple of days after you get your power back. Or after some other Loser got his power back.


While the ostensible reason for Week 979 was to gin up a few more “ba-da-bing” jokes, aka standup-style, shareable one-liners, many of the inking entries for Week 975’s “Sixth Myths” also fit that bill. I’m optimistic — or at least hopeful — that even the humor-impaired community will grasp that the stereotypes served up in many entries were spoofing those sentiments, not endorsing them.

The wording of today’s Inkin’ Memorial winner, by the undeniably white Double Hall of Famer (Hall of Double Famer? It means 1,000-plus inks) Tom Witte, showed spot-on comic timing — basically, great rhythm. Tom’s entry was also the favorite of my predecessor, the Czar of The Style Invitational, with whom I shared my list over lunch this week. Tom, whose surname is pronounces as the aptonym it is, wins his first Bob-o-Linc (what the Style Invitational Devotees have taken to calling the Lincoln-statue bobblehead), but it’s his 26th first-place win in an Invitational career that started in Week 7 (!!!) and has amassed close to 1,200 blots, 141 of them “above the fold.”

Second place and the Spam shirt go to a much newer Loser, but one who’s quickly become an Invite regular: Larry Gray’s jab at bankers — the 2010s’ replacement for lawyer jokes — brought him his 24th ink and his third above the fold since his debut almost exactly a year ago.
— Ellen Raphaeli, who like Tom Witte got her first ink in Year 1, but unlike Tom didn’t get her second ink till Year 14, gets her 61st ink and 10th major win (including two Inkers) for managing to combine the ketchup-as-a-vegetable myth with the always fun paste-eating trope.
— And the intrepid newbie Robert Schechter, who seems to be turning his pursuit of Invite ink into a science, scored an amazing four inks this week, including his runner-up that was the best among several plays on “American dream” as the no-pants/never-went-to-the-class variety. This brings Bob up to 49 inks since he plunged into Loserland in Week 931.

In her weekly “HAW” choice, Style Invitational Editor Lynn Medford seems to make a distinction between “best myth” — Larry Yungk’s honorable mention about clenched white butts — and “got the loudest laugh” — Gary Crockett’s HM about women trying on the different candidates. And she also awards the (metaphorical) “special star for creativity” to Bob Schechter for his self-referential entry about self-referential entries.

A nice joke but sent by too many people in roughly the same way, for both the Presidency and the Super PAC categories: It is NOT true that super PACs allow rich people to buy the presidency and other elected offices; the transactions are strictly rentals.

A remarkable number of people shared this clever old Lincoln joke with us, and a few didn’t even try to pass it off as their own: It is NOT true that Abraham Lincoln was Jewish — people just think he was because he got shot in the temple.

And I hate to disappoint those who are feeling blue, but I don’t think I got any entries for Week 975 that were both very funny and very unprintable. If you think I’m mistaken, write to me and if there’s something I forgot to note, I’ll post it on the Style Invitational Devotees page.


The Losers are having a rare late-in-the-month Loser Brunch on Sunday, July 29, in Northwest Washington. It’s at Cafe Deluxe, across Wisconsin Avenue from the Washington National Cathedral. I’ll be there with the Royal Consort, and as always, we’re always eager to meet new Losers and the Merely Curious along with the regulars. Ridiculously Consistent Loser Kevin Dopart plans to be there — he’ll be back from his annual trip to Greece — and has offered to lead interested brunchgoers on a tour of his interesting neighborhood, Cleveland Park. RSVP to Elden Carnahan at

Stay cool, everyone, and don’t do ANYTHING to cause any more giant winds.

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