I usually enter the New Yorker caption contest – the one where a captionless cartoon is presented, and readers must come up with a clever/funny caption for it. It is voted on, by readers and staff, and a winner is chosen. They receive thousands of submissions. Thousands, which must be sifted through, and collated as: FUNNY/SOMEWHAT FUNNY/NOT FUNNY. I think I know which category they receive the most of.
I enjoy the exercise of brainstorming, and coming up with captions that match the scenario presented in the cartoon. It taxes the creative side of my brain nicely, if nothing else. I then submit it and check in two weeks to see if my caption won. This would then fulfill a lifelong dream of having a cartoon of mine (sort of) appearing in The New Yorker.
Imagine my surprise when I saw that my caption was selected (and ultimately won) one week! The scenario: The great Sphinx is inside a typical office, before a man at a desk who is saying something, typical job interview cliche. My caption: WHERE DO YOU SEE YOURSELF IN 20,000 YEARS. I won! Yup. However, someone had submitted the exact same caption. Even that exact number. I had read what I thought was my caption, and in my excitement, did not notice that it was submitted by a lady in California. The injustice of it issued a low pressure system that remained in my brain pan for a few days. Prevailing breezes of sense made me gradually come to the realization that they had obviously come across that person’s submission first, thus negating any similar or exact copies.
I’ll still submit now and then – I’m not THAT jaded. I love the gag cartoon format too much for that. Ever since I was a kid I’d zoom to the Saturday colour comics, my highlight of the week. That might explain a lot, given my lack of smarts in world affairs.