Wednesday, December 10, 2008

If Only

Every week, the Washington Post has a little contest called "The Style Invitational." A few weeks back, the Invitational was "If Only!" — a one liner explaining how the world would be different had some event not occurred.

The printed results for "If Only!" are below the fold (emphases mine, all a matter of personal preference):
in which we asked you to tell us what would be different had some event not taken place: We acknowledge that some of these effects might not withstand the most rigorous logic....

4. If the chairs had been bolted down on the Titanic's deck, we would have been spared one overused cliche. (Chuck Smith, Woodbridge)

3. If Watergate hadn't happened, reporters would be coining each new scandal "Something-pot Dome." (Larry Yungk, Arlington; Russell Beland, Fairfax)

2.the winner of the Potty Elmo: If newspapers hadn't been invented, we'd be shouting crossword puzzle answers at the town crier. (Stephen Langer, Chevy Chase)

And the Winner of the Inker

If Napoleon to had been exiled to Egypt, instead of the palindrome "Able was I ere I saw Elba," we'd have "Zeus was I ere I saw Suez." (Chris Doyle, Ponder, Tex.)
What Might Has-Beens: Honorable Mentions

If Shakespeare hadn't written "Hamlet," an infinite number of monkeys would be looking for jobs. (Beverley Sharp, Washington)

If Ralph Nader had not run for the presidency in 2000, Uday Hussein still would be the chief motivator of the Iraqi soccer team. (Howard Walderman, Columbia)

If her father had owned a more down-market lodging chain, Paris Hilton might have been named Indianapolis Motel 6. She'd still be just as talented, though. (Andy Bassett, New Plymouth, New Zealand)

If Noah hadn't been so OCD about getting two of every last animal, I'd be able to sit on my deck without lighting all those citronella torches. (Kevin Dopart, Washington)

If God hadn't given the Ten Commandments to Moses, Judge Roy Moore would have been ordered to remove the statue of Baal from the courthouse. (Mike Turniansky, Pikesville, Md.)

If Abraham Lincoln had not been assassinated, then Andrew Johnson would never have been president and, uh, well, lots would have changed. Like, instead of "Bush 41" and "Bush 43" we'd have had "Bush 40" and "Bush 42." (Zack and Russell Beland)

If Philo T. Farnsworth hadn't invented the TV, guys would have to sit on the couch all weekend reading the football newspapers. (Kevin Dopart)

If Herman Melville hadn't written "Omoo," countless crossword puzzle constructors would have been ruined and might have turned to a life of 34 Down: Illegal act. (John Shea, Lansdowne, Pa.)

If Wham! hadn't come along, Andrew Ridgeley would be practically unknown today. (John Shea)

Had the Anglo-Saxons not named their goddess of spring Eostre, then that place in Polynesia with the big heads that look like John Kerry would be called Passover Island. (Roy Ashley, Washington)

Had guns never been invented, the Washington Wizards would still be known as the Washington Poison-Tipped Arrows. (David Garratt, Glenn Dale)

If Eve had never tasted the apple, you'd be reading this naked. (David Garratt)

If Alexander Graham Bell hadn't invented the telephone, Superman would have to change in port-a-potties. (Randy Lee, Burke)

If the endoscope had not been invented, we would have ended up relying completely on space aliens for anal probes. (Larry Yungk)

If McDonald's hadn't been founded, American cuisine would be unknown to the rest of the world. (Russ Taylor, Vienna)

If the South had won the Civil War, Virginia would have named every school and road after a Southern general -- in other words, three more than there are now. (Larry Yungk)

If Hope and Crosby had never stopped making those "road" films together, well, it would be kind of creepy trying to make a movie with two dead stars. (Russell Beland)

If the Albany Perforated Wrapping Paper Co. had not invented toilet paper in 1877, for the last 130 years pranksters would have had to litter front yards with corncobs. (Larry Yungk)

If The Style Invitational had never been created, I would have seen the best minds of my generation destroyed by madness, starving hysterical naked. (Ira Allen Ginsberg, Bethesda)

If Barack Hitler Obama hadn't changed his middle name, he might not have gotten elected. (Chuck Smith)

Readers, care to play? Political entries not required. Be serious or not, as is your wont. You may submit more than one entry — in the comments section here, of course. No prizes given. however.

(An excerpt from the above was crossposted to THE ASTUTE BLOGGERS)

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posted by Always On Watch @ 12/10/2008 08:24:00 AM