On Your Marker Contest Winners

Feb 19 2011

On Sunday, I shared an artistic masterpiece I created at the tender age of 11.  Because nothing says “Happy B-day, Mommy” like a frowning man in a dress.

By way of a contest, I invited you to rewrite the inside of the card (without revealing my original message), and, boy howdy, did you come through.  At every response, I deeply regretted issuing the challenge because I have some sort of bronchial mess going on, and you made me laugh and cough and laugh and cough.

Lough.  You made me lough.

Unfortunately, I’m a lousy contest judge (hey – live and learn – next time I’ll browbeat some folks into helping), and I just couldn’t decide on one winner.

Here’s the card one more time.

And here are our four contest winners, in no particular order:

Happy B-day, Mommy!  I HOPE…

…that the operation goes well.

Happy B-day, Mommy!  I HOPE…

…you have a happy beard-day!

Happy B-day, Mommy!  I HOPE…

…that you know that if anything ever goes wrong with Dad, Chewbacca called and wants a date.

Happy B-day, Mommy!  I HOPE…

…you have a happy birthday! Instead of a wrapped present, this card is redeemable for one hour of babysitting so you can go to the barber for that face and leg shaving you’ve been talking about. Maybe you can also have your pinkies reattached (again, sorry about that.)

Thanks to Cathie, Mark, Kristen and Nate for these winning entries (respectively).  Send your address to fivekidsisalotofkids@gmail.com for your signed reproduction, hand-drawn in historically accurate marker.

Now it’s time for the Big Reveal.

What’s on the inside of that card, anyway?

Well, in classic 11-year-old fashion, it’s a stretch.

The truth is, this isn’t actually a birthday card for my mom.

It’s a birthday card for my dad.

Didn’t see that one coming, did ya?

See, I wrote this card when my mom went back to work and my dad did time as our primary child-care provider… roles neither of them included in their original life plan.  But, like every good parent I’ve ever known, they sucked it up and did what had to be done.

To honor my dad’s commitment to his family, I dug down deep in my bag of writing tricks, and I rewrote the Marine Corps Hymn.  This is the inside of the card, complete with spelling errors:

The Mr. Mom Hymn

From the halls of Montezuma

To the Shore of Tripole

Your the best Mr. Mom

In the air on land and sea

First to be nice to everyone

And to keep your honor on

You are proud to claim the title of

The United Mr. Mom

Bad, right?

Alright, I’ll take terrible.  That’s fair.

There’s a lot of awfulness there on which to dwell.  I’ll give you a minute.

All done?

Here’s what I’m thinking about this monstrosity…

Poor cadence and misspellings aside, I wonder how exactly one keeps one’s honor on.  Like, do you pull your honor up by its boot-straps?

Do you cinch it around your waist?

Tie it to your noggin with a strap like a headlamp, perhaps?

And what if it slips?  Is that embarrassing?

If I could go back and ask my 11-year-old self these questions, you bet your Crayola markers I’d do it.

No doubt she’d wonder what the crazy old bag’s carrying on about.

Kids those days.

Sheesh.