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Arnie tries contest 'end run'


I could hardly believe my eyes. My boss, Dr. Oldguy, was throwing away pieces of mail without even opening them.

I could hardly believe my eyes. My boss, Dr. Oldguy, was throwing away pieces of mail without even opening them.

He just looked at the envelopes, saved some and dropped others right into the trash. At the time, it seemed like a risky and somehow rude practice to me. Now, 30 years later, I find myself doing that same thing practically every day.

Then, back on February 6, the unbelievable happened. Every piece of mail that came in that day was worthy of attention. One letter of particular interest bore the incredible news that I may already have won $10 million! It was from Megasell Magazine Company. All I had to do to find out was to place some stickers in the appropriate places on the entry blank. Naturally, I ordered a bunch of magazines, also. Heck, I can afford it now that my $10 million is practically on the way!

I even considered retiring immediately, but my wife thinks I should keep working until the check actually arrives.

The same day, the mail also contained a free sample of a new miracle room deodorant, a dried up roundworm that Mrs. Scooper found in her cat's litter pan, and a check for $1 from the Rebate Pet Tag Company.

However, all of the things I've mentioned so far pale in comparison to one very important letter. It was the first entry in the Mike Obenski Writing Contest and was submitted by Dr. Einra of Allentown, Pennsylvania. I could tell instantly that it was a feeble attempt by my friend, Arnie, to disguise his name. The story he submitted went something like this:

Some clients invited Dr. Einra to go along on a little camping trip that they were planning for last August. Unfortunately, the three-day excursion, which was to include quite a bit of hiking, fell on one of the hottest days the Allentown area has had in years.

The wisest of the hikers were careful to keep their backpacks as light as possible and to bring plenty of water. Naturally, they were surprised to see one of Dr. Einra's clients show up dragging, of all things, a car door. When questioned about it, he informed the other hikers that he had purchased it at the junkyard for this camping trip.

"Why would anyone want to drag a 70 pound car door on a hike?" they all wanted to know.

"It's simple," he said. "If we get too hot, we can roll down the window."

I called Arnie to let him know that I recognized his work and that he was disqualified because the contest is for true stories, not old jokes.

"I suppose then," he said, "that you don't want me to send in the story about the veterinarian who fell into a lens grinder. I understand he made a spectacle of himself."

"That's right," I told him. "Besides, that joke is older than you are."

Sensing that the conversation was getting me nowhere, I decided to go for his throat.

"Arnie," I said. "I almost forgot to tell you that I got a phone message for you today. It was from your proctologist. He had some good news. It seems that he found your head."

"That's quite a coincidence, Mike," he said. "Because I got a phone message for you today, also. It was from Hollywood. They were thinking of making your life into a TV show, but they couldn't figure out which actor would play you, Beavis or Butthead."

"Well, if they ever need an actor to play you, Arnie, they'll have to teach Mr. Ed to always face away from the camera."

And so the conversation went on getting nowhere, as our conversations usually do. Arnie, I'm sure, will have more contributions for us in the next few months. I hope yours are better than his.

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