Rhymes & misdemeanors: Winning scolds in verse
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.
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)
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
CLOSE COVER BEFORE STRIKING
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)
DON’T RECLINE YOUR SEAT
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.)
DON’T CHEW WITH YOUR MOUTH OPEN
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)
USE THE PARKING BRAKE
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)
STOP TO SMELL THE FLOWERS
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.