Tag Archives: competition

2270. On a mission

Laurie was the grumpiest man on the street; in fact he was possibly the grumpiest man in the town. He grew strawberries in his garden, and one thing was certain: none of the sweetness of strawberries had rubbed off on him.

He would sell strawberries at his gate in little plastic containers. There was an honesty box. Some people thought he under-charged but he said if the price was too low then people were welcome to go to the supermarket and purchase the more expensive, sourer, inferior strawberries. The supermarket manager resented that Laurie had labelled his strawberries as inferior. Laurie was undercutting business.

Further down the road, in fact on a nearby but different street, lived Velda. She would buy quite a few of Laurie’s strawberries apparently to make jam. She didn’t make much of a profit with the jam she said but it was an interest. It fills in a rainy day – as she was wont to say.

Laurie didn’t like Velda making jam with his strawberries. Adding sugar to his carefully grown fruit was a sacrilege. One day he saw Velda coming with a pram (she always brought an old pram to load it up and push the strawberries to her house). He rushed out to his gate and informed Velda that he didn’t like her buying so many of his strawberries. “There are other people in the world that might enjoy some.”

“Oh,” said Velda, “I was just coming to tell you that I heard several of the fruit in your garden have been injected with poison. I wouldn’t touch a single strawberry for the rest of the year if I were you.”

And Velda sauntered off to the supermarket where she triumphantly announced to her husband, the Manager: “Mission accomplished”.

2262.  The world I woke to

Some of the parents with more liberated ideas were furious with their children’s school policy.  Halloween and Thanksgiving were fast approaching and the school had organized a Pumpkin Festival. In reality it was a pumpkin competition; whoever grew the biggest pumpkin would win a pair of rather expensive snow boots.

“That’s right,” swore parent Kim Buckwell, “fill the children with an ugly competitive spirit.”

There were two pairs of snow boots awaiting the competition; both suitable for either a girl or a boy. In the interest of equity the school decided one pair should go to the girl who grew the biggest pumpkin and one to the boy who grew the biggest pumpkin.

Now Joseph had seen Nigel’s pumpkin. It was huge. There was no beating it. Joseph’s pumpkin was big but not as big as Nigel’s. Joseph’s parents concurred with his decision; he would call himself Josephine, tie the hair into a ponytail, and change a pronoun or two. Having done that he entered his hefty pumpkin into the girls’ section of the competition.

The girls were horrified. Maizie declared that her pumpkin was big but nowhere near as big as Josephine’s. “I would win the snow boots if that horrid boy hadn’t turned into a girl,” said Maizie.

The judges agreed with Maizie. Nigel won the boys’ section and Maizie won the girls’ section. Josephine was disqualified. It was grossly unfair.

“It was like a kick in the balls,” said Josephine.

2257. The swing bridge

The canyon wasn’t wide but it was very deep. From the swing bridge that crossed the canyon the river at the bottom looked like a thread of cotton. In a wind, even a light breeze, the bridge would be closed. That meant a two-hour drive to get to the other side, rather than a five minute walk on the bridge. But safety came first.

Now Garrett had always been a bit of a dare-devil, so no one was particular surprised when he entered a local radio competition. The radio was going to string a hammock underneath the bridge and the contestant would have to spend a night sleeping there. All for a hundred dollars.

Don’t worry, said the radio, the hammock is quite safe and has been checked by expert engineers. It’s not going to fall.

That might be true but unfortunately Garrett got up to go to the bathroom.

2005. Ornamental argument

Christine disliked garden ornaments immensely; ugly gnomes and pink flamingos, plastic things that spun in the wind, little tinkling bamboo and metal wind chimes… The unfortunate thing was that Joanne, Christine’s next door neighbour, loved garden ornaments.

“Her place,” said Christine of Joanne’s garden next door, “looks like a junk yard.”

“Her place,” said Joanne of Christine’s garden next door, “looks so bare and sterile.”

The time came at last when their differences could be decided officially. The city was organizing a street by street competition: which house in each street has the best garden? And then all those selected would go into the final part of the competition: who has the best garden in the whole city?

Joanne went all out. She purchased ceramic lizards and butterflies, outside wall mirrors that made the garden look more spacious than it was, little battery driven water fountains… On the other hand, Christine maintained her garden to perfection – the perfect lawn, not a weed in sight, the recycling bin in a hidden corner…

The garden judges came. The garden judges left. A winner was announced. Congratulations Cassandra.

Award 20: The Terrible Poetry Contest

This is not an award as such but the writer of this blog has won the Terrible Poetry Contest three times. My special thanks to Chelsea who initiated and manages such a fabulous event.

Each time the poems seems to get badder and worser. Such inspiring brilliance emanating from my writing device perhaps stems from an anonymous poem which was my favourite in my teens (and possibly still is):

What a wonderful bird the frog are
When he walk he fly almost
When he sing he cry almost
He ain’t got no tail hardly either.
He sit on what he ain’t got almost.

Being thrice the winner of such a notable thing as the Terrible Poetry Contest has prompted me to reflect upon other highly successful moments in my life of seventy years. There have been so many fabulous successes that I barely know where to start.

1. Rugby coach. Many years ago, when I coached rugby, the team had won every game in the rugby-playing season. There was only one game left to play to make it an “unbeaten season”. We arrived at the playing field to compete against Newlands College. My team came to me and protested: “They’ve stacked their team with better players who are not in their usual team.”

“Don’t worry,” says I. “Just beat them. Victory will be so much sweeter.”

After a very long game no points had been scored. And then in the last minute, Newlands College scored some points. Have you ever driven a bus home with 20 or so eighteen year old men bawling their eyes out? “Don’t be silly,” says I, “it’s just a game.” But on arrival home I shut the door and had a good cry myself.

2. Just recently my local village ran a competition. The village is called “Stratford” so every street is named after something from Shakespeare: Prospero Place, Romeo Road, Ariel Street, and so on. Four new streets were waiting to be named. There was a monetary reward for the person who came up with the best suggestion. Not only, the blurb said, should the name be connected with Shakespeare, but it should also if possible have something to do with the history of the village.

I came up with the perfect suggestion! In fact, it was so perfect that I spent the reward money on firewood ahead of the winning announcement.

My suggestion was “Arden Street”. Not only was Mary Arden William Shakespeare’s mother’s name, but “As You Like it” was set in the Forest of Arden, and a hitherto unknown-authored play – “Arden of Faversham” – had just been declared as “now known with certitude to have been written by the Bard”. On the local front, an early settler in the village here was Joseph Arden whose landscape paintings hang in galleries up and down the country.

I had certainly thought up a winner. Anyway the local town council chose Midsummer Street. Thank goodness I’m not a bad loser. They can shove their stupid midsummer pile of crap up their noses for all I care, the bat-poo infested, snot-ridden creeps.

3. Around about 1957 the local rural schools of the area held a combined festival. There were all sorts of categories that the primary school students could be involved in. I chose the event “Design a carpet pattern”. I drew on paper around several things from my school bag and coloured them in. And there! On exhibition day! The twenty or so entered carpet designs were pinned on a large display board. There was 1st place, 2nd place, and 3rd place – with two “Highly Commended” designs. Mine was highly commended!! I never saw that they made a carpet out of it but I wouldn’t be at all surprised.

Years later, when I lived in St-Victor, Quebec, a number of my friends worked as fabric designers for curtains, bedspreads, and so on. I never told them they were talking to an award-winning carpet designer. They would’ve been so jealous.

That about takes care of all my successes in life. Thanks again to Chelsea for initiating and keeping the Terrible Poetry Contest. Do visit.

And as an Addendum: If you have sort of enjoyed reading this, don’t hesitate to nominate me for any Blogging Award that comes your way, deserved or not. Despite the naming of Midsummer Street, it seems to be raining here a good deal of the time and I’m stuck inside with little to do other than create terrible poems and compose award acceptance blogs such as this.

I hope your days are as filled with stunning accomplishments as mine.

1407. Fate in a flash!

Kelvin Farquhar entered every competition he could lay his hands on. Businesses were forever running promotions with attractive rewards and prizes. Kelvin had never won a thing. He would love to win a car. But what he most wanted was to win was a house. Once a month the Heart Foundation ran a raffle for a house!

Kelvin Farquhar didn’t have that much money. There was no way he could afford a house on his meagre income. His old car rattled and puffed. When that stopped he didn’t quite know what he was going to do. Winning a house would help him get by.

There’s no doubt that Fate can change everything in a flash! Today was the day the house draw took place. Would the phone ring? Kelvin Farquhar had worked out that they would probably phone the winner in the afternoon, so he drove to get the groceries in the morning.

On the way his car overheated. It was no good for anything after that except towing away. And he never won the house either.

1394. Winner of a car

Travis was excited, but worried. He had entered a win-a-car competition at the supermarket. It was a promotion. And although he had never won anything in the past, at least entering automatically by buying $50 worth of groceries gave him a chance. Indeed! It was to be his lucky day!

This was the day the keys to the car were to be handed over. It was a bright red car. Travis had already seen it for it was parked near the entrance door to the supermarket so that everyone would see it and spend at least $50.

So Travis was excited! Why he was worried was because the Press would be there taking photos and he didn’t really know what to wear. He wondered if he should get a nice pair of trousers with a brand new pullover. Modest in colour – not too bright and not too dull; casual yet appropriate.

So he did that; he went to town and got himself fitted out. It was more expensive than he thought it would be, but not to worry.

Now all he needed was for his name to be pulled out of the hat.

1327. Potatoes

News Report: Mr and Mrs Stanley McBride are so proud of their daughter Mary (pictured). She had just come fifth in a Grow the Biggest Potato competition at her school.

“We are so proud of our daughter’s efforts at growing a potato,” said Mr McBride. “She just stuck a sprouting spud in the dirt and voilà! Look at that beauty!”

“There’s no doubt that our daughter takes after her late grandmother,” added Mrs McBride. “They both have green fingers as can be seen by the size of that potato. And she’s only nine! There were four boys ahead of her, but she beat eighteen other boys and two girls with her potato.”

Letter to Editor I: I am shocked and horrified that the parents of the “girl” who got fifth in the potato growing competition have already determined the gender of their child. She is only nine, for goodness sake, and already she is having her parents’ old-fashioned definitions of sexuality rammed down her throat. Who said the child wants to be a girl? Who determined at such a young age that she should be female? While I congratulate the child on getting fifth with her potato I am sure the child shall come somewhere near the bottom when it comes to coming to terms with its own sexuality.

Letter to Editor II: How dare the school run a competition. A competition exists to make those who do not win feel bad about themselves. The school could have had instead a Celebrate the Potato Week. But no! They have to go and tell most of the students that they are losers. Even the little girl who got fifth is a loser. There can be only one winner in a competition and that is the person who gets first. The girl is a big-time loser and that is all this potato competition is telling her.

Letter to Editor III: Why did we see a photograph of the girl who got fifth in the potato growing competition? Was it because she was a girl? I would like to have seen pictures of the boys’ potatoes. A couple of the boys holding onto their potatoes would’ve been much more stimulating than seeing a girl holding a spud and getting fifth. What is the world coming to?

Letter to Editor IV: I would like to join with others in congratulating the little girl who got fifth in the potato growing competition reported in your paper last Thursday. The photograph of her is stunning, and she looks wonderful in her summery frock purchased, I believe, from my shop on Duke Street. I am putting this brand of children’s wear at half price during this week as a way of celebrating. But be in quick. They will sell fast – Like a hot potato!

Letter to Editor V: I hope the girl’s potato was grown organically. These days too many gardeners grow their potatoes using sprays. We eat only what we grow ourselves. I haven’t sprayed my potatoes now for five years. My wife says, Oh for God’s sake spray the potatoes this year, because she’s hanging out for a boiled spud, but no! I refuse, even though Colorado potato beetles decimate my crop every year. I really hope the little girl at the school, and the boys too, learn from my example.

Letter to Editor VI: I always piss on my potatoes. The same for lemons. The potatoes love it. I think the little girl who got fifth in the potato competition should get some extra points. It’s a lot easier for boys to piss on their potatoes than it is for girls so she’s at a disadvantage from the start. Judging from the size of the girl’s potato I wouldn’t be surprised if she got her father to take the occasional slash out the back of the garden shed.

Letter to Editor VII: My little girl didn’t get anywhere in the potato growing competition. She grew a sweet potato and was disqualified. A sweet potato is apparently not a potato in terms of the competition. They said the only reason my little girl grew a sweet potato was because she’s fallen victim to stereotypes. Being female should not be regarded as “sweet”. My son grew an unbelievably huge carrot. He didn’t get anywhere but he wasn’t disqualified. They said he was welcome to stick his carrot in the competition. There seems to be one standard for girls and one for boys.

This correspondence is now closed: Editor.

1324. Frederick’s tango

With the dance competitions coming up Frederick and Anika practised and practised the tango. They were very good at it.

On the evening of the competition they put their heart and soul into the event. They didn’t win, but they got second. Frederick and Anika were thrilled. Everyone said they would have got first if Frederick didn’t think he was the cat’s pyjamas. He walked around like he was the best thing since sliced bread. Even though the tango is an arrogant sort of dance there’s no need to strut up and down like a painted canary.

But only Anika knew. The tango was on Frederick’s bucket list. The doctor had given him only a few weeks.