Welcome back! First we’d like to thank Stevie Nicks, Kenye West and Justin Bieber for their stunning rendition of “Free Bird” during the commercial break. But now, let’s continue with the final segment of The First Annual Best Columnist Pageant.
For those just joining us, a quick review of how our contestants are chosen. We invited columnists from across this great land to submit three samples to our panel of celebrity judges: comedian Scott “Carrot Top” Thompson, who writes his own jokes; L.A. Dodgers manager Don Mattingly, who writes lineup cards; and Bill McDougall, who in 1969 wrote a couple of op-ed pieces that were considered for publication in his lodge’s newsletter.
Our panel members have narrowed the field to three. Unfortunately, two of our finalists had tickets to see the debut of “Man of Steel” and declined to attend. This leaves us with Dave Molter, who also had tickets to see “Man of Steel” but gave them to the other two finalists.
You’re probably thinking this gives Mr. Molter the title of Best Columnist by default. But we know that Americans want pageants to be more than a meat market. That’s why the final selection is based not only on talent and beauty, but also on the ability of our finalists to think on their feet, to exhibit the qualities that best represent the ideals of the American reading public. That is, their columns should always be around 600 words and use correct punctuation.
Therefore, before awarding the crown we will ask Mr. Molter a final question. Should he fail to answer to the satisfaction of our judges, the title will pass to our first runner-up, which in this case would be whichever finalist first comes out of “Man of Steel.”
“It’s traditionally ‘Your Majesty’ on first reference, Regis.”
“Ha ha! There’s that wit that at least some of us have come to know and love! Now, Dave …”
“I was serious, Philbin!”
“Well, then. Your Majesty, here is the question that, should you answer it with poise, dignity and thought, will allow you to carry the title of Best Columnist 2013 for the next 12 months. Are you ready?”
“I believe I am.”
“And here it is: Who is the current president of the United States?”
“OK, Regis. I’ll get back to you in two weeks.”
“You are required to answer tonight, Your Majesty.”
“Wow! Man, that’s really pushing things. I usually take two full weeks to form an opinion. You know … we columnists have a process. Sitting. Observing. Procrastinating. Opining. If I’d known you wanted an opinion right away, I’d have held on to those movie tickets.”
“But this question has only one right answer …”
“Really? Then it must be working for peace and love and the children and little baby animals of the world. Or jobs. No … wait … it’s – oh, crap, what’s his first name? It’s a place where army men sleep. Barracks. Barracks Obama. That’s my final answer.”
“Judges? It seems that Carrot Top and Mattingly are arguing over a called third strike, but McDougall has indicated that he will accept the answer. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you Best Columnist 2013. Your Majesty, your subjects await!
“And while our new monarch walks the runway, let’s listen to Sam the Sham sing the great “Wooly Bully,” with special lyrics written just for this occasion.”