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Oh, man: A treatise on male pattern badness

Below the Beltway
(Eric Shansby)
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The sweetest part, he said, was that some guy in a little sports car had sat there smugly waiting for the spot, certain that Bernie would fail. "After a while, he just gave up and left. That was a great moment."

First Runner-Up: Bernie the Attorney, Potentate of Parallel Parking.

The grand-prize winner for Distinguished Ultra-Male Behavior is Seth Brown of Massachusetts.

Seth is a freelance writer, looking for work. His roommate Tom is an artist, looking for work. The two guys don't see much of their third roommate, Mandy, so they pretty much are in charge of their own upkeep, which suits them just fine. It's not as though guys can't fend for themselves.

Seth has taken over the cooking chores, and for months he and Tom have eaten splendidly, without female accompaniment or advice.

What do you guys eat?

"Potatoes. Fried, sometimes baked. Salt, vinegar. We've got a dish called Smoky Cowboy Rice and Beans. And burritos. I fry burritos with beans and rice and whatever else is on hand. Beef. Baba ghanouj. You know."

The two guys were doing great, until something happened. Can you tell the readers what happened, Seth?

"We got scurvy."

The guys didn't like fruits and veggies, so the guys didn't eat fruits and veggies. One day, Tom's mom 'n' dad came for dinner, noticed this dietary omission, and jokingly mentioned the peril of contracting the obscure deficiency disease most famously seen among filthy 18th-century sailors. At this point, Tom and Seth revealed to the parents -- and to each other -- that they'd been noticing mouth sores, swollen gums, loose teeth, etc.

So they started eating oranges provided by ... Mandy. Cured them in a week.

Seth, you win first prize. You have a choice between two books. One is "Webster's New World Dictionary." The other is "How to Good-Bye Depression: If You Constrict Anus 100 Times Everyday. Malarkey? Or Effective Way?"

"The second one."

As if there was any question.

E-mail Gene at

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