Rhymes & mis­de­meanors: Win­ning scolds in verse

The Washington Post Sunday - - DIVERSIONS - BY PAT MY­ERS

In Week 1124, the Em­press sought short po­ems of ad­vice in five mat­ters. See more words to the wise (from the wiseguys) in the on­line In­vite at bit.ly/in­vite1128.

4th place

Don’t re­cline your air­plane seat:

I snore, I pass gas, I rat­tle; My row-mates have fled — it’s me only; They said they could not stand my prat­tle, So please do lean back — I’m so lonely! (Mike Gips, Bethesda)

3rd place

Don’t chew with mouth open:

Thy beauty causeth ev­ery head to turn. Thy come­li­ness could launch a thou­sand ships. But suit­ors will be few till thou dost learn To mas­ti­cate with firmly closèd lips. (Nan Reiner, Alexan­dria)

2nd place and the zom­bie gar­den gnome:

Use your park­ing brake:

If you drive all the girls at school wild With your dare­devil ways and they’ve smiled At your fast-mov­ing pace, Use your “park­ing” brake, ace, Or your “ac­ci­dent” might be a child. (Jon Gearhart, Des Moines)

And the win­ner of the Inkin’ Me­mo­rial

Don’t re­cline your air­plane seat:

Though the flight at­ten­dants are quite rude, Their nas­ti­ness is out­done by their food; We’re packed in like sar­dines but with less room In cabin air that’s piped in from a tomb, Our bags have been mis­han­dled by their han­dler, The in­flight fea­ture fea­tures Adam San­dler. This flight has lots of things you can put down; Your seat­back isn’t one of them, though, clown. (Frank Osen, Pasadena, Calif.)

The versed ad­vice yet: hon­or­able men­tions


To light one match is bet­ter than The dark­ness just to curse. But if that match should light the rest, You’re gonna need a nurse. (Gary Crock­ett, Chevy Chase) How do I love thee? I’ve counted the ways: One less now you’ve set my apart­ment ablaze. You’re a smokin’ hot mama, but not all that bright, And I kick my­self now, hav­ing asked for a light, For you kin­dled the match with the cover un­tucked, And my room­mates and I are now roy­ally home­less. (Mark Raffman, Re­ston)


Do not re­cline your air­plane seat. It’s risky; You’re apt to spill the guy-be­hind-you’s whiskey. If you’re ap­palled by road rage on the high­way, Just wait till you’re a vic­tim in the sky­way. (Mae Scan­lan, Wash­ing­ton) You have a pair of ton­sils but don’t know it Un­til they get in­flamed, and then they’ll show it. All an ap­pen­dix ever does is fail, And use an ash­tray, you could go to jail! Re­gard your seat-back but­ton the same way, A use­less ves­tige of a by­gone day. Its only pur­pose is to cause a fra­cas, Till planes evolve with pal­lets that can stack us. (Frank Osen) If you are seated in the seat That’s cur­rently be­fore me, Do not re­cline or else I’ll scream In­vec­tive loud and stormy. (This rule, of course, makes per­fect sense. But please do not re­mind me Of the rule’s ex­is­tence if you’re seated right be­hind me.) (Robert Schechter, Dix Hills, N.Y.)


Last night, good buddy, as we dined, This thought, un­spo­ken, crossed my mind: “What makes you think that I’ve a Wish to see the way saliva In your mouth com­bines with chicken When it’s chewed? It makes me sicken.” But some things sim­ply can’t be said, And so I wrote this poem in­stead. (Robert Schechter) Be­side the sight of man­gled munch the last half-hour I’ve spent: When I sug­gested “seafood lunch,” that wasn’t what I meant. (Nan Reiner)


If you should use your van for “some­thing” other than just driv­ing, Re­mem­ber now this lit­tle tip to guar­an­tee sur­viv­ing: Make sure the park­ing brake is pulled, ’cause ul­ti­mately your goal Is safety first — in other words, to rock and not to roll. (Frank Mann, Wash­ing­ton) Pull up your brake When parked on a hill. If you don’t stop your car Trust me, some­thing else will. (Ellen Ryan, Rockville) On My Fail­ure to Use the Park­ing Brake in the Swiss Alps When I stopped and we yo­deled My poor Audi got to­taled. (Mike Gips)


A rose by any name would smell as fine; That (more or less) was Shake­speare’s fa­mous line. But all the rose’s scent is in the flower; The roots have no such aro­matic power. So take my coun­sel, friend (it wouldn’t hurt): Get sniff­ing while you’re still above the dirt. It’s point­less smelling roses, it’s been found, When you, like them, are planted in the ground. (Bren­dan Beary, Great Mills) Bet­ter stop and smell those posies, ‘Ere they tag one of your toe­sies. (Barry Koch, Catlett, Va.) More hon­or­able men­tions at bit.ly/ in­vite1128. Still run­ning — dead­line Mon­day: Our TV se­ries spinoff con­test. See bit.ly/in­vite1127.


This week’s mi­cro-prizes for mi­cro-drone ideas: Full-size Post mug is there just for scale.

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