Week 69 : Laying Down The Law


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Copyright The Washington Post Company Jun 19, 1994

Murphy's Law: If Anything Can Go Wrong, It Will.

Zymurgy's First Law of Evolving Systems Dynamics: Once you open a can of worms, the only way to recan them is to use a larger can.

Law of Selective Gravity: An object will fall so as to do the most damage.

Jenning's Corollary to the Law of Selective Gravity: The chance of the bread falling with the buttered side down is directly proportional to the cost of the carpet.

Gordon's First Law: If a research project is not worth doing at all, it is not worth doing well.

The Nonreciprocal Laws of Expectations: Negative expectations yield negative results. Positive expectations yield negative results.

This Week's Contest: We recently discovered these wonderful principles in a book by Arthur Bloch titled "Murphy's Law, and Other Reasons Why Things Go Wrong." The book was published in 1978, so we figured it is high time to identify some exciting new principles that explain why things happen the way they happen. Send us some. First-prize winner gets a spectacular sunbleached steer skull, a real one just like in Georgia O'Keeffe paintings, with big horns and crummy rotting teeth and everything, suitable for mounting on a wall if you are really weird, a value of $80. Runners-up, as always, get the coveted Style Invitational losers' T-shirts. Honorable Mentions get the mildly sought-after Style Invitational bumper stickers. Winners will be selected on the basis of humor and originality. Mail your entries to the Style Invitational, Week 69, The Washington Post, 1150 15th St. NW, Washington, D.C. 20071, fax them to 202-334-4312 or submit them via Internet at this address: Entries must be received on or before Monday, June 27. Please include your address and phone number. Winners will be announced in three weeks. No purchase necessary. The two pseudonymous Chuck Smith entries below were submitted by Edward T. Tweddell of Berkeley Springs, W.Va., who has a funny name, and Fred Darfler of Elkton, Md., who has a funnier name. Employees of The Washington Post and their immediate families are not eligible for prizes.

Report from Week 66, in which we asked you how to solve the problem of (Chuck Smith, Woodbridge), specifically that over the last year this contest has been more or less hijacked by one precocious bureaucrat from some dirtball Washington suburb.

Third Runner-Up: Begin to assign him little nicknames in print. Like, (Chuck "Poopy Drawers" Smith, Woodbridge). Or, (Chuck "Sexually Transmitted Disease" Smith, Woodbridge). (Earl Gilbert, La Plata)

Second Runner-Up: Get the Tobacco Institute to prove there's no such thing as Chuck Smith of Woodbridge. (Joan Delfattore, Newark, Del.)

First Runner-Up: Announce that Week 70 is a contest to write threatening letters to the president. Then forward Chuck's entry, and only Chuck's entry, to the Secret Service. (Paul Styrene, Olney)

And The Winner of the Bust of Richard Nixon: In order to discourage me, alter my entries prior to publication so I seem to be a complete jackass. (Chuck Smith, Woodbridge)

Honorable Mentions: Get the Bullets to select Chuck Smith as their No. 1 draft pick. That will guarantee no one will ever hear from him again. (Steven King, Alexandria)

Have all contestants start entering under the name "Chuck Smith," until the real one just sort of shambles away. (Chuck Smith, Elkton, Md.; also, Chuck Smith, Berkeley Springs, W.Va.)

Renegotiate his pact with the Devil. (Stephen Dudzik, Silver Spring)

Tell Chris Smith that "as long as your old man is alive you'll never have a shot at the big prize." (Stephen Dudzik, Silver Spring)

Slowly kill him through T-shirt poisoning. (Steve Ahart, Sterling)

Have him and (Elden Carnahan, Laurel) compete in a quicksand-sinking contest. (Fred Dawson, Beltsville)

Ask him to stop using gags I give him when he gets me drunk. (Don Maclean, Burke)

Do you think he has declared the value of all those shirts? Turn him in to the IRS. That's how they got Capone. (Sarah Worcester, Bowie)

Call him every 15 minutes, day and night, and ask, "Have you come up with anything funny yet?" (John Vogel, Upper Marlboro)

Award him the Pulitzer Prize. This will stoke his gigantic ego, and loosen his defenses. Send the prize to his home, in a box. It will be spelled the Pull It Sir, Prize. It will have a pull tab. It will be a hand grenade. (Peyton Coyner, Afton, Va.)

And Last: Select winners based entirely on distance the entry has traveled. (Woody Franke, Canberra, Australia)

ILLUSTRATION,,Bob Staake For Twp

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