This Week's Contest

Week 666: Bedevil Us

Style Invitational
(Bob Staake for The Washington Post)
Sunday, June 11, 2006

Are we so deaf to the tongue of Satan, who speaketh always in riddles, that we do not know his handiwork when it is plainly before us? Liquid Crystal Display. LCD. Lucifer, Cursed one, Devil. Repent, before it is too late, specifically 11:34. Hold the cursed object upside down and see where you shall dwell for eternity!

We couldn't let this week go by without doing a contest pegged to this week number, especially since the Empress had been alerted to its impending arrival for about the past 30 weeks by agitated Losers, including Mark Eckenwiler of Washington, who suggested this contest: Give a mini-sermon (75 words or fewer) explaining how some innocuous object or event signals the End of Days, as in the example above, contributed by Washington Post columnist and anti-digital-watch activist Gene Weingarten.

Winner gets the Inker, the official Style Invitational trophy. First runner-up gets four tins of Atone Mints ("for each of your sins"), plus some Mensa pencils with the phone number 1-800-666[M]-ENSA, all donated by Loser Ed Gordon of Hollywood, Fla.

Other runners-up win a coveted Style Invitational Loser T-shirt. Honorable Mentions (or whatever they're called this week) get one of the lusted-after Style Invitational Magnets. One prize per entrant per week. Send your entries by e-mail tolosers@washpost.comor by fax to 202-334-4312. Deadline is Monday, June 19. Put "Week 666" 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 July 9. 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 Douglas Frank of Crosby, Tex. The Honorable Mentions name is by Mark Eckenwiler.

Report From Week 662

In which we gave the assignment to "humiliate yourself for ink." That could consist of sucking up to the Empress or just embarrassing yourself in general in front of your neighbors and a million-plus other readers of The Washington Post. Some Losers thought they could get by with Rodney Dangerfield-type self-deprecating but fictional one-liners, like this one (well, we assume it's fictional) from Kyle Hendrickson of Frederick: "Once I got excited at a public pool while wearing nothing but a Speedo. And nobody could tell." These all fail -- they're not humiliating until they're used as facts in your obituary.

3 The winner in the embarrassing- anecdote category: When my daughter was a toddler, our family went to the beach. Dressed in a bright red bathing suit with Snoopy on the front and her hair in a ponytail, she ran away from me as fast as she could go. As I started off to catch her, a woman called out: "What a beautiful child! She must be adopted." (Rochelle Zohn, McLean)

2 The winner in the Suck Up to the Empress category, winner of the bottle of HydroDog dog water:

To My Empress

To just say I'm your servant leaves a lot to be desired:
Please use me as your gelding when your darling feet get tired.
I'll buy you jewels, I'll scrub your floors -- the things that good slaves do.
I'll chew the Dentyne from your mouth (or underneath your shoe).
And while you eat your chocolate truffles, supine on your couch,
I'll stand at rapt attention wearing nothing but a pouch.
And, so you know for sure that of my pride there is no trace,
Please put your five-inch high heels on, and tap-dance on my face.
I'd love to wash your dishes, ma'am, while on your throne you sit.
I'd eagerly lick forks and spoons for traces of your spit.
So, tell me I am worthless, I am ugly, that I stink.
Hell, call me a Republican! Please, ANYTHING for Ink!
(G. Smith, Reston)

And the Winner of the Inker

Fred Dawson
(Courtesy of Fred Dawson)
Looking Down Toward My Feet (Fred Dawson, Beltsville)

The Ig-Nominees

For a 1989 physical, I collected, um, fecal samples, put the strip up on top of a bookshelf to dry, and forgot about it for 12 years. On my 43rd birthday, I rediscovered the sample -- mounted in a frame, as a gift from my wife. (Jeff Brechlin, Eagan, Minn.)

I still have every pair of eyeglasses I have ever owned, going back to the first set from 1962. (Elden Carnahan, Laurel)

When we moved into our house, a billing mix-up led to our gas being shut off for a few days. We took sponge baths from bowls of water heated in the microwave. When the serviceman came to turn the gas back on, he looked at me and said: "Uh, ma'am, that's an electric water heater." (Jennifer LaFleur, Rosemont, Tex.)

I was a member of the Duke men's lacrosse team. The 1957 team, but still. Plus, we went 2-7. (Howard Walderman, Columbia)

For ink I'll stitch my Style Invitational prize magnets into a loincloth and parade before the gathered Losers. Don't worry about anything showing, though: I'll have you know that I already have three magnets. (Wilson Varga, Alexandria)

If you Google "poop" and "dopart," four of the six hits are by me. The others are (1) a typo and (2) in Dutch. (Kevin Dopart, Washington)

When I agree with what's coming out of his mouth, I find Dubya kinda sexy! (Christina Courtney, Ocean City)

Mark Eckenwiler, Pat Nixon, 1974 National Spelling Bee
(Mark Eckenwiler - From the Tulsa Tribune)
As the sixth-place finisher in the 1974 National Spelling Bee, I got to meet Pat Nixon at the White House. It only looks as if I'm ogling the national assets. (Mark Eckenwiler, Washington)

I have been a writer all my life. I was teaching journalism at a major university when the Empress was still working on her high school paper, and the only time I can get my damn name in The Washington Post is in this stinking column. (Ira Allen, Bethesda)

My college application essay was about winning Rookie of the Year in The Style Invitational. (Beth Baniszewski, Somerville, Mass.)

Every single week, I send in my Style Invitational entries with an e-mail beginning "O Empress, My Empress," followed by a rhyming poem begging for ink, like this one in Week 660: "After all these pretty rhymes / And many wonderful times / With you I willingly flirt / Just for a loser T-Shirt . . ." (Drew Bennett, Alexandria) [This is true -- and they're always that bad.]

Years ago at a party, I used the hallway bathroom just off the crowded living room. When I turned around while zipping up, I saw that the door had swung halfway open. There was only minor applause. (Dave Prevar, Annapolis)

I sent in an entry calling the Empress "a whore" and later I met her in person and she asked me about it. (Elliott Schiff, Allentown, Pa.)

Cecil J. Clark, David Blaine
(Courtesy of Cecil J. Clark)
Inspired by the selfless heroism of David Blaine, I will immerse myself alive in the bathtub for eight days. I'm just sad I have to pretend to humiliate myself just to get a little publicity for this amazing feat, especially since I am doing it as a plea for world peace and an end to hunger. (Cecil J. Clark, Asheville, N.C.)

Humiliation has to be public. My private hell -- 114 failed attempts to get ink from the Empress -- is private, so it doesn't count. (Ross Elliffe, Picton, New Zealand)

Next Week: Worth at Least a Dozen Words, or Litter of the Pics

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