Ellis Rosen’s cartoon is set in an office. A casually dressed man sitting at his desk is looking at an older and even more casually dressed man wearing nothing but briefs and socks. In his left hand the nearly naked man is holding a file, and he’s saying something to the guy at the desk.
I first thought of a casual Friday joke highlighting each character’s strikingly different definition of casual: “You want casual Friday? I’ll give you casual Friday.”
A shorter and therefore possibly better version of the same joke is, “I’ll give you casual Friday.”
Showing up at work (or your old high school) in nothing but your underwear is a common anxiety dream, so I next thought of this caption: “When you get a minute, Jenkins, wake me up.”
I like the name Jenkins for a co-worker, so I used it for my next two captions:
- “Jenkins, do you have the rest of the Thomson file, and my clothes?”
- “Do you have the time, Jenkins? I forgot my watch.”
Finally, I had the older man defending his lack of clothing on the grounds that it furthers the company’s goals: “Above all else, the firm values transparency.”
Now let’s see how you did.
There were a lot of “causal Friday” jokes, and these were among the best:
- “I’ve decided to make Friday more casual.”
- “You have your casual Friday and I have mine.”
- “We’re rolling out Undie Monday.”
I’m embarrassed to include that last entry, which is frankly juvenile—my 14-year-old twin daughters loved it—but I couldn’t in good conscience leave it out because it really made me laugh (as completely asinine jokes sometimes do).
The next batch of captions all highlight the older man’s bizarre double standard:
- “Do you really think that shirt is appropriate for the office?”
- “How can you parade around in that ridiculous shirt?”
- “We’ve had some complaints about your shirt.”
- “Those exposed cords are an eyesore, Bill.”
- “This is an office, not a luau!”
I want to address those last two entries.
Number four is good—I love the reference to the extension cords (a detail no one else mentioned)—but it ends badly. The punchline is “eyesore,” and that should be the last word. The name “Bill” adds nothing to the joke; it just detracts from the power of the punchline.
I like number five, even though it ends with an explanation point. I usually hate explanation points—they’re used far too often in the caption contest—but this is a fine example of the proper use of such punctuation because it matches the speaker’s angry expression.
Just as there were a lot of “casual Friday” captions, there were many about anxiety dreams:
- “Living the dream.”
- “This job feels like a nightmare.”
- “I’m still dreaming, right?”
Here’s a caption that addresses a specific type of anxiety: “I heard you need help with public speaking.”
Many of you presumed the older man had no clothes because he’d just been through a financially brutal divorce:
- “I wish I had hired her lawyer.”
- “She took everything.”
- “My divorce is final.”
Those are all good, but they don’t address the office setting. Here’s a better caption that presumes the older man got taken to the cleaners, as it were, in the context of doing business: “Those people know how to negotiate.”
Many companies now allow their employees to work from home. Some of you referenced that trend, but only one did it this concisely: “I usually work from home.”
Here’s a similar caption that offers an almost reasonable explanation for the older man’s appearance: “Oh, you’re here….I thought I had the office to myself on weekends.”
There were a lot of puns, and a few were pretty good:
- “I want you to take a look at these briefs.”
- “You missed this morning’s briefing.”
- “Here are the briefs you wanted to see.”
- “The boss just dressed me down.”
As someone who saw an amazing hypnotist perform at Connecticut College in 1982 and put several classmates in a trance and make them do things they would never normally do—throw a punch at someone and freeze just before making contact, revert to the age of five and start to cry when she couldn’t remember the name of the boy sitting next to her in kindergarten, bring down the house by singing a truly emotional and ultimately rousing version of “Memories” (a song few people liked before that evening’s performance)—I appreciated this caption: “Last night’s hypnotist totally bombed.”
Here are two nice examples of taking a common statement and giving it a special meaning in the context of the cartoon:
- “You wanted to see me?”
- “I feel like I’m forgetting something.”
And here’s one from left field that made me laugh out loud: “You got a problem with white before Memorial Day?”
But that wasn’t the week’s best entry. That honor goes to, “We’ve had some complaints about your shirt.”