The Washington Post

Week 905: Make up an ‘Editor’s Query’ anecdote; and this year’s winning obit poems

Now that the Invite is back to its Sunday roost, we honor our neighbor The Washington Post Magazine, specifically its “Editor’s Query” for readers’ anecdotes. While the Magazine requires that the recollections be true, the Empress asks only the opposite. And that it be funny and that she not get sued: Give us an untrue anecdote responding to one of these past Editor’s Query topics: Fifty words or so max! Tell us about:

l A time when you misunderstood an advertisement.

l The moment you knew you were in love.

l A time you should have said yes.

l A time when a piece of clothing changed your life.

Winner gets the Inker, the official Style Invitational trophy. Second place receives a colorful medical poster depicting various types of ulcers, including that of the eye, donated by Jeff Contompasis (he gave up the poster, not the eye).

Other runners-up win a coveted Style Invitational Loser T-shirt or yearned-for Loser Mug. Honorable mentions get a lusted-after Loser magnet. First Offenders get a smelly, tree-shaped air “freshener” (Fir Stink for their First Ink). E-mail entries to or fax to 202-334-4312. Deadline is Monday, Feb. 7; Results to be published Feb. 27 (Feb. 25 online). Put “Week 905” in the subject line of your e-mail, or it may be ignored as spam. Include your real name, postal address and phone number with your entry. See more rules at
styleinvitational. The revised title for next week’s results is by Tom Witte. The honorable-mentions subhead is by Nan Reiner. Tom Witte contributed the term “crypt-ograms.”

Report from Week 901

our annual contest for poems about people (and the occasional animal) who died in the previous year: We had an especially strong group of, um, crypt-ograms to choose from this year: See more fine poems in our Web-only supplement at

The winner of the inker

4-foot-3 actress Zelda Rubinstein
and 7-foot-7 Manute Bol:
One can hardly compute that like Zelda, Manute
Was seen just for his size at the start.
Their success was their pride, but last year, well, they died
Just six months and a yardstick apart.
(Christopher Lamora, Guatemala City)

2 Winner of the Flarp electric noisemaker:
Humbledy, fumbledy,
Theodore “Ted” Sorensen,
Kennedy speechwriter’s
Put on the spot.
Pressed for the author of
“Profiles in Courage,” he
Counsels, “Ask not.” (Chris Doyle, Ponder, Tex.)

3Alexander Haig:
St. Peter pulled General Haig to one side,
“Considering things from your prior profession,
This bit of advice I’m compelled to provide:
You’re VERY far down in our line of succession.” (Brendan Beary, Great Mills, Md.)

4Elizabeth Post, etiquette expert:

Mrs. Post regrets that she is truly quite unable
To accept your generosity and grace your dinner table.
Seems a pressing invitation couldn’t be ignored;
The honour of her presence was requested by the Lord. (Beverley Sharp, Washington)

Further adieux:
honorable mentions

Leslie Nielsen:
O, Leslie of the platinum mane,
Although you’ve flown too early,
Your wit won’t cease to entertain.
You’ll be remembered, Shirley. (Roger Stone, Gaithersburg)

The inventor of the neutron bomb, which destroys people but not buildings:
Sam Cohen invented the famed neutron bomb;
His demise, of course, mourned by his spouse.
It should also be noted, if only in passing,
He was also survived by his house. (Mike Hammer, Arlington)

Alas, Richard Holbrooke has met his fate,
The one thing he couldn’t negotiate. (Steve Ettinger, Chevy Chase)

Sen. Robert Byrd:
He mastered Senate rules as well as country violin,
So Bobby Byrd would always know which tune was gonna win.
When Bobby got to Heaven’s gate, Saint Peter tossed his notes
Because he knew that Bobby Byrd already had the votes.
(Gary Welsh, Potomac)

Soaps actress Helen Wagner:
To Helen Wagner our hats we do doff.
As the world turned, dear Helen got off. (Marty McCullen, Gettysburg, Pa.)

Sens. Ted Stevens and Robert Byrd:
The Heavenly Senate got Stevens and Byrd,
Now freshmen angeli politicus.
In bids to make “pork” a more biblical word,
They’ve just filibustered Leviticus. (Gary Crockett, Chevy Chase)

Ali Hassan al-Majeed:
“Chemical Ali” was hanged
for gassing all those Kurds,
A major crime against the law of war,
So now it’s time to say goodbye
and tell him “Sarin-ara —
You just can’t cut the mustard anymore.” (Bob Dalton, Arlington)

George Steinbrenner:
Ty Cobb, Jackie Robinson, Roy Campanella!
Frustration is eating poor George to no end:
Just look at those great Hall-of-Famers in Heaven,
And Steinbrenner there with no money to spend! (Brendan Beary)

Higgledy piggledy,
Bob Guccione
Fond of exploiting the
Feminine bod.
Men, even atheists,
Glancing at Penthouse, would
Whisper, “My God.” (Mae Scanlan, Washington)

Senior-citizen porn actress Juliet Anderson
Higgledy piggledy,
Juliet Anderson
Lived out her golden years
Working in porn.
Proving (for once) that your
Doesn’t depend on the
Year you were born. (David Smith, Santa Cruz, Calif.)

Paul the Octopus, World Cup hero:
To a fallen octopod:
Peace be with you; go with God.
Your predictions caused a fuss;
Bless your suckers! (. . .That be us.) (Beverley Sharp)

Next week: What’s the good news, or Pollyannals



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