Week 741: Well, What Do You Know?

Style Invitational
(Bob Staake for The Washington Post )
Saturday, November 24, 2007

At the supermarket: "Express lane" is a term meaning "Do not under any circumstances have your money ready."

It could be true that everything YOU need to know you learned in kindergarten. But the rest of us, we're afraid, need a broader perspective. This week: Tell us what Major Life Lessons can be derived from any of these venues or situations.

1. From watching a presidential campaign debate

2. On the pot

3. At the DMV

4. At the supermarket

5. From having the flu

Winner gets the Inker, the official Style Invitational trophy. Second place gets, in the spirit of the season, Poo-Pooing Santa Claus, who ejects jolly little red and green candies from a ho-ho-hole in his pants. It would be nice if we could get the Inker to do this too, but he has no pants.

Other runners-up win their choice of a coveted Style Invitational Loser T-shirt or yearned-for Loser Mug. Honorable Mentions (or whatever they're called that week) get one of the lusted-after Style Invitational Magnets. One prize per entrant per week. Send your entries by e-mail to losers@washpost.com or by fax to 202-334-4312. Deadline is Monday, Dec. 3. Put "Week 741" 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 Dec. 22. No purchase required for entry. Employees of The Washington Post, and their immediate relatives, are not eligible for prizes. Today is National Empress Day. Pseudonymous entries will be disqualified. This week's contest was suggested by Russell Beland, who remembered a contest like this from seven years ago. The revised title for next week's contest is by Brendan Beary. This week's Honorable Mentions name is by Russ Taylor of Vienna.

Report From Week 737

In which we asked for songs to commemorate an occasion other than Christmas or Hanukkah, set to a well-known tune. Song parodies are an exacting genre -- there are millions of them out there, but few very good ones. The finest not only match the originals' meter and rhyme schemes (and often play cleverly off the original lyrics), but also build up to a strong ending, basically a punch line. The definitive parodies may be those from Mad magazine of the 1960s and '70s, but the tradition endures. One specialist is Loser Barbara Sarshik of McLean, who over the years has penned a whole Passover's worth of fabulous "Seder Songs" set to show tunes; you can see them at http://www.barbarasarshik.com.

3. Birth of a child (to "Makin' Whoopee")
A girl and boy,
They hug and dance,
They wed in joy,
Goodbye romance!
Amor is fleein',
For they've a wee 'un
Who's makin' poopie.
(Mae Scanlan, Washington)

2. The winner of the Slang Flashcards:
Valentine's Day (to "Under the Sea")
You wonder what you should do to
Make me want your body more,
Why the red lace thong you bought me
Is still lying in my drawer.
How could you be more alluring?
Babe, you haven't got a clue.
Just sit tight and listen closely
To the things that you should do:
Take out the trash, hang up your pants.
It wouldn't hurt to iron a shirt to
Get more romance.
Don't buy a case of fine French wine,
Just grab a jug of 409!
I will be lusting, when you are dusting.
Take out the trash!
(Barbara Sarshik)

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