Let’s hear it for the best cheering squad — then try an odd mode of word choice

The Verse or Worse public has spoken once again, and has left little doubt as to the winner of the extended competition for unusually constituted squads of cheerleaders.

By the largest margin in Verse or Worse history, Tom Olson walks away with the stupendously agreeable MinnPost T-shirt (suitable for leading cheers) for this fabulous entry:

Male cheerleaders from a western Wisconsin city wearing miniskirts: The LaCrosse Dressers.

Your genial host takes seriously the note struck by some recent contestants that these competitions have been perhaps too difficult. So this week, he proposes . . . Well, first, a story:

On a trip with his kids quite a few years back, your host had a thought: Why not try to say all that he had to say — that’s right, all of it — in words of just one sound? The way he wrote this last bit of prose.

It turned out that it was not hard to do. In fact, he kind of got a kick out of it, and kept it up for a long time. A real long time.

Too long, it seems. At one point, well on in this deal, while your host thought he was at the top of his game, so to speak, his son Joe, then 8 or so, turned to him and said, “Dad?”

“Yes, Joe?”

“Shut. Up.”

Back to the here and now:

The competition this week is to write a paragraph or two (200 words or less), with at least a bit of a giggle in it, that — in words of one syllable — reports and reacts to (praising, complaining about, making fun of, etc.) the following news development:

Popular television weatherman Paul Douglas has been fired.

This is not hard. You might not write the most tip-top piece, nor the one with the best laugh, but you sure can write it in words of one sound. You will get points for a big laugh, of course, but there are points, too, for the most ’round-the-barn way to say, in one-sound words, a thing that has more than one sound, such as a name.

Let’s say, just for fun, that the deal was to tell this bit of news and add a bit on how it sits with you: Bob Dylan won a Pulitzer. Here’s a so-so stab at it:

A well-known guy named Bob, whose last name is the same as the first name of a big-deal rhyme-guy from the Green Isle and whose last name (the rhyme-guy’s last name, not the last name of the guy named Bob) is a long way to say “Tom,” has won a huge prize. He sings and writes songs and plays the thing with six (or is it twelve?) strings played by both Les Paul and Prince, and he comes from our own state (he grew up on the Range). It must be said that he got this prize for his songs and their words, not for how he sings them. He kind of drones.

So. Once more, here’s the deal: In two-oh-oh words (a fifth of a grand; two Cs; oh-point-two K) or less, tell us — with words of one sound that make me laugh at least a bit — this news (and be sure to add a note on how it makes you feel):

Popular television weatherman Paul Douglas has been fired.

Clear? Please E-mail to asicherman [at] minnpost [dot] com by 5 p.m. on Thursday, April 17. At 5:01, your host will take the no-doubt huge pile of mail from all of you, and go far off to read each piece — and to brood on how he might have spent his life with more. . . .

Wait a minute! Abracadabra! The accursed spell is broken! I can palaver polysyllabically again! Blessed relief! (Incidentally, speaking strictly multisyllabically doubtless registers higher upon anyone’s difficulty continuum.)

Your genial host will post what he feels are the five best entries Monday, April 21. You will have until Thursday afternoon, April 24, to vote for your favorite, which will win an ecstatically lyrical MinnPost T-shirt. The name of the victorious monosyllabicator will be posted on
Monday, April 28, along with a new challenge. And now, in words of one sound, Go!

No comments yet

Leave a Reply