On irregular occasions, the Premium subscribers get a “Tagline Challenge”, one of the several “extra” features that are found only in the Premium issues. This page has a sample of a Challenge story — and the readers’ entries.
How do you submit your entry? Simply Reply — issues always come from my real address. (Premium issues come from an address that gets higher priority than his more public address.)
Hints and Tips for the Challenge:
- It’s fine to send more than one entry, but please send them all in the same email.
- It’s handy if you include your first name and location (state, or country if outside the USA) so I don’t have to look it up. Please don’t send back the issue: I’ve already read it. Thanks.
- “Clever” and witty is always best, unless the story demands irony, a pointed barb, or an angry retort. Taglines should be “funny, ironic, and/or opinionated” (aka thought-provoking).
- Please avoid the now-cliche “This, $20. That, $40. The result: Priceless” bit. (Also, limericks have to be quite good to be chosen.)
- Don’t shy away from sending an entry because you think “many” others will suggest a particular tag. Pretty much every time, someone will say “You’ll probably get this one 100 times” — and they’re the only one to suggest that angle. What seems “obvious” to you probably won’t be obvious to “many” others!
- Have fun with it!
The May 2018 Challenge
An example of the idea to aid future challengers.
A Uniquely American Accomplishment
Reporters surrounded Don Gorske as he sat down at a McDonald’s in Fond du Lac, Wisc., and ate a burger. It was Gorske’s 30,000th Big Mac since he first had one at the same outlet on May 17, 1972, which comes out to not quite two a day, every day, since then. Indeed, he has only missed eating at least one eight days in the past 46 years, including after trudging there in a blizzard, only to find the restaurant was closed. He guards against that now by keeping extras in his freezer; he says they microwave well. Gorske, 64, a retired prison guard, is now listed in the Guinness Book of World Records for the feat; 30,000 Big Macs — which would weigh just over 7 tons — represent about 6,000 pounds of beef, and (at 540 each) 16.2 million calories. Admitting he has OCD, Gorske has kept meticulous records of each burger, which helped when Guinness looked in. He’s not obese: the newspaper describes him as “tall and lanky,” and, Gorske says, “At my last medical check-up I had low cholesterol and my blood pressure was perfect.” As he left the event, he stopped by the counter to grab something for dinner: his 30,001st Big Mac. (RC/Fond du Lac Reporter) …
Results for the Above Challenge Story
In All, 32 of You Sent at least one entry, and I chose the Top 10 (not ranked in order, except the last two). Simon in South Australia was first, with the most-suggested theme: “…Did he have fries with that?” Jeffrey in Nevada: “…Give a man a fish and he eats for a day. Build him a McDonalds and he eats for a lifetime.” Harvey in New York: “…Now that the word is out, some guy in Florida is probably going to try to beat his record in just a few days.”
Naturally, there were a lot of health-related ideas. Casey in Iowa is hopeful: “…Low cholesterol and perfect blood pressure? I’ll have what he’s having.” Bill in South Carolina: “…Shucks, I expected Don Gorske to be the Honorary Unsubscribe plus a Darwin Award winner.” Maurizio in England: “…Offered a carrot and steamed broccoli, Gorske ended up in hospital as his cholesterol levels and blood pressure suddenly shot up.” Andrew in Texas: “…I didn’t know Guinness had a ‘Records No One Should Ever Attempt’ category.” Chris in California: “…Now everybody will want the name of his genetic engineer.”
The Runner-Up is Dave in Illinois: “…So you’re saying the prison guard has a record?”
And the winner is Donald in New York: “…You have to wonder about a prison guard seduced by ‘You deserve a break today!’”
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