Saturday, January 26, 2019


When The New Yorker introduced a cartoon captioning contest a few years back, I was an eager participant. After a while, when the winning captions seemed to me to be much inferior to my own entries, I lost interest in playing.*

This week, however, the latest cartoon caused my caption-writing juices to start flowing:

I immediately tossed off the caption “He’ll be here on the 8.06.” And sat back in anticipation of a victory in a few week’s time.

But what I hadn’t counted on was that once the machine was cranked up, it would keep churning out captions. So while I lay in bed last night, these were some of the alternatives that kept me from my shuteye:

“You have no idea how fast the pizza delivery is.”

“The basement was too small.”

“You’ll never guess how my husband and I met.”

“Unfortunately, it’s only a branch line.”

“You just have to remember to “Stop, Look, and Listen.”

“Thank goodness John never had the desire to be an airline pilot.”

“Historically, the house was here first.”

“In 1948 Harry Truman gave a whistle-stop speech in the dining room.”

“Bruce is absentminded. Yesterday he left his conductor’s cap behind.”

“In return, they gave us the dining car concession.”

“The salesman talked Eliot out of getting HO gauge.”

“That draft is from having to keep the house doors open.”

“And I’m married to a stay-at-home husband!”

“The only inconvenience is having to change at Jamaica.”

“Henry got the idea when he was banned for drunk-driving.”

“Unfortunately, the monthly commute costs are outrageous.”

“Next summer we’re going to electrify it.”

“When you marry someone named Casey Jones . . . .”

“The only downside is the smell from the cattle cars.”

“My husband left without a word last Monday. I figure he’s probably near Cleveland now.”

“The neighbors are so jealous!”

“What makes you think my husband is over-compensating?”

“Unfortunately, my mother-in-law has a Senior Pass.”

“I’ll frank your visit.”


* I not only never won the contest, I never even became one of the three finalists. I readily admit that my all-time best entry was topped by an even-more-witty submission. 

Picture a prisoner about to be executed by a firing squad. The firing squad, however, is composed of a dog, a cat, several children, and a senior citizen or two (at least that’s how I remember it). Prisoner speaking.

My caption was something like “Boy, you really are the Irregulars.”

The winning (brilliant) caption: “My wife couldn’t make it?”

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