At long last, after much delay occasioned by feckless judges who are next thing to derelicts and juvenile delinquents, using Numéro Cinq expense accounts to go on sea and surf vacations in Guadeloupe, stock their wine cellars, and buy braces for their kids. One judge financed matching face lifts for himself and his dog out of his NC per diems. This is what the management has to put up with. On the other hand, the judges are in unanimous agreement for a change. Their matchless literary tastes have coincided. And who cares about their personal foibles as long as they deliver pristine and irreproachable judgments—eventually?
And to this end, all the NC judges agreed, that for wit and arrogance, this time, no one could touch Sarah Braud’s entry (with or without the “illegal” numbers). The finalists were brilliant, but there was just too much twist in the tail of Sarah’s last line to resist. And in a literary world where often the words are delivered by and meant for men, this entry flips the entire culture on its head—starting with the words “rules” followed by the deliciously subversive “Avoid exercise.” It does it with sublime timing, exuberance and mischievous glee.
Congratulations! Three cheers! 21-gun salute! You are now the object of envy of the Entire Literary World, possibly the Universe. Soon people who barely know you will be asking for help with their entries for the next NC contest (and possibly small loans). One piece of advice: Do not accept emails from NC Contributing Editors asking you for credit card and bank account information. It is simply not true that Rich Farrell needs your help to succeed to that $1 million inheritance from his Mexican uncle.
The list of OFFICIAL ENTRIES for this year’s contest is here. And the PEOPLE’S CHOICE winner is here. The Official Finalists are here.
The winning entry reads:
I have laid down the Rules:
1. Avoid Exercise.
2. Make art.
3. Follow a man who helps you and lets you hit him.
Hooray for Sarah B.! I’ve read/heard your pieces on Burger King B.O., old man lovin’, and now lethargic creative spousal abuse. What ever could be next? I can’t wait.
Yay Sarah!!!! Well-deserved.
Nice work, Sarah!
Good choice. Good advice.
’twas my favourite!
Congrats Sarah B.
Your “Rules” makes me smile every time I read it.
All hail! Talisker will be waiting.
Oh, I liked this one very much! Congrats, Sarah!
this is all so unexpected! i did not prepare a speech, but, of course, I’d like to thank the academy. and the judges. and talisker, of which, i am sure had a great deal to do with the judges choice. and though the burden of being the literary envy of the universe is a great one, i will do my best to carry it.
Woo-hoo! I’m delighted with the judges for their selection this time. Sarah B., I am so with you, honey. The only caveat is that I find exercise to be a compelling procrastination activity at packet time.