Beliefnet
O Me of Little Faith

So I have a small problem. There were fewer entries yesterday than I’d hoped — I’m pretty sure the stringent caption rules had something to do with this — but those who entered did an excellent job.

However, my favorite entry came an hour and 43 minutes after the announced contest deadline. It was Bryan Schneider’s, which I love because a) it’s very dry; b) it gives a sense of something happening beyond the photo; and c) it’s written in perfect journalistic newspaper captioning style. Totally perfect. Here’s his caption, along with the photo:

Former mall santas and co-workers seen suffering in hell for usurping the real meaning of Christmas. The real St. Nick (not pictured) commented only that he never really enjoyed being called a “right jolly old elf” and feels that without remorse, the punishment seemed appropriate.

Only Bryan didn’t stick to the rules. He missed the deadline.

If the rules are going to turn people away, then I absolutely cannot override the rules in order to give the prize to the best caption. Integrity, right? Sorry, Bryan. How do you like the bittersweet taste of your “victory”?

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While we’re on the subject, I really liked the tone of J Wright‘s entry. I loved the atmosphere and brooding he devised for the caption, only he didn’t follow the rules exactly, either. Here’s his submission:

We all had code names: Ms. Tree, Ms. Ice, I was Ms. Gnome; the St. Nicks were the brains of the operation. For the jolly old elf in the wheelchair, it would be a Chanukah he’d not soon forget.

That’s good stuff, only you forgot one word in the required phrase “right jolly old elf.” It kills me to turn it down for such a nitpicky point. Sounds like a literary snapshot from a great story. But again, rules are rules.

———–

That leads us to the winner I’d selected before Bryan posted. I picked this for one simple reason. Actually two: 1) it followed the rules; and 2) it made me laugh out loud.

Since St. Peter was busy, St. Nicholas, manning the pearly gates, escorts a right jolly old elf into heaven’s outdoor Towne Centre food court.

The idea of an ersatz “Towne Centre” food court in heaven strikes me as really funny. Good job, Adam. Shoot me your mailing address and book choice and I’ll get your winning entry in the mail.

Congrats, Bryan and J Wright for your almost-winning submissions. Honorable mentions go to Bryce for posting a caption-as-limerick, Lauren for packing a paragraph’s worth of information into two complete sentences, and Chase for an excellent Narnia shout-out.

If you’re wondering, the real caption for the photo was this:

(Reuters) A man dressed as Santa Claus pushes his colleague in a wheelchair as they and others in costume arrive for the World Santa Claus Congress at an amusement park north of Copenhagen. More than 150 ‘Santas’ from all over the world convened for the 52nd congress.

That’s right: the World Santa Claus Congress. Awesome.

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