Robert Benchley Society/Espree Magazine 2005 Humor Writing Competition Winners

BOSTON, May 20, 2005--The Officers and Directors of the Robert Benchley society announce the winners in the Robert Benchley Society/ Espree Magazine humor-writing competition. "It was not easy to pick one best entry from so many funny and well written essays," said Robert Benchley Society chairman, David Trumbull. The first-place winner, Horace J. Digby of Kelso, Washington, will see his essay When You Can't Sleep published in Espree; he will also receive from the magazine a hand-signed original caricature of Robert Benchley. "Mr. Digby skillfully takes a well-known Benchley theme ("How to Sleep") and gives us a thoroughly enjoyable funny sequel that is both original and yet so in the style of Benchley that one can almost hear "Sweet Old Bob" himself speaking the words," said Mr. Trumbull of the winning entry.

Coming in Second Place by a nose, with special commendation for verisimilitude was The Zen of Red Nail Polish. Benchley was a great observer and recorder of the details of everyday life. Consuelo M. Ohanesian's phrase "painting a nail in three perfect, unwavering strokes of cerise serenity" is delightfully written and memorably describes an action many of us have seen but which few have observed with such attention to detail.

Return to Sunny Los Las by Ed Tasca finished in Third Place for humorous use of Benchleyesque non-sequiturs.

In total, the Society received twenty-five essays from sixteen individuals. The following were singled out for honorable mention:

  • Nursery Crimes by James R. Koncz with special commendation for zaniness for weaving of absurdity, word-play, and topical reference that captures the spirit of Benchley at his most whimsical.
  • How to be in a Coma by Christopher Morgan, for capturing the befuddled essence of the instructor in a typical Benchley "How to..." piece.
  • Mr. McGregor in the Suburbs by Steven B. Hackett, for good use of details regarding Mr. MacGregor (but we cannot approve of changing the Scots "Mac" to Irish "Mc".)
  • Exercise in Futility by Dan Burt, for his depiction of Benchley's "everyman" confronted with a world that just seems to be out to get him a thousand minor ways.
  • Touched By A (Fallen) Angel by Kim Goldsworthy, for giving us, in the manner of Benchley, an original look at an old theme, the good and bad guardian angels.
  • Whither, Ox Tail Soup? by Thomas J. Saunders, for a truly Benchley-like "rant."
  • Call Me Anything, But... by Connie DeVere, for a Benchleyesque delight in the amusing peculiarities of English spelling and pronunciation.

    "We commend all the writers on their efforts," said Trumbull, "and we hope that members of the Society and others will enjoy reading all these essays as much as the judges did." Here are the remaining entries:

  • Welcome Back, Bob
  • Commuting Pains [not available online]
  • Sharing My Desk with Fang
  • Spidey Update
  • More Desert Fauna
  • Stubby Returns and Stubby Goes Free
  • Peter in Stockholm
  • Wisdom of the Ages
  • Signs of the Times
  • Tips on Visiting Seattle
  • Cliches, Quotations, Words of Wisdom, & Old Chestnuts
  • Special Relativity -- in a nutshell where it belongs
  • Parthenogeneticists, Give My Baby Back To Me
  • The Dilemma of Modern Dining
  • Business Venture