In Drew Panckeri’s cartoon, a man who’s sitting on his front step as if it were a throne is holding an icicle as if it were a scepter. He’s flanked by five vaguely threatening snowmen, and they’re all looking at a postal worker who’s delivering the mail. The man who would be king is addressing the postal worker.
The drawing almost demands a reference to the United States Postal Office’s unofficial motto, “Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds,” and this was my best attempt at such a reference: “How can you say snow doesn’t keep you from the swift completion of your round? I’ve built five of these guys while waiting for you.” Way too long.
I then assumed the man who’s speaking has magical powers he uses to transform mail carriers into snowmen:
- “The first five brought me nothing but bills.”
- “It’s not an icicle, it’s a wand. And watch your tone.”
Now let’s see how you did.
As a homeowner who routinely makes life hell for his postal carrier by failing to clear his front steps of snow—and yes, I feel bad about that—I appreciated these two captions:
- “Sorry, Jeff, but at the request of my new friends, I will no longer be shoveling the driveway.”
- “I’m sorry, they wouldn’t let me shovel the walk.”
They’re variations on the same joke, but the second version is shorter and therefore better.
Like I did, several of you assumed the man who’s speaking was turning mail carriers into snowmen:
- “No, I don’t know what happened to all the other mail carriers.”
- “You’re the sixth postal carrier this month.”
- “Hello, number 6!”
Again, they’re all variations on the same joke and, again, the shortest in best.
The next three captions all highlight the threatening nature of the snowmen:
- “It better be good news.”
- “You better have the top hats I ordered.”
- “And you thought dogs were your worst nightmare.”
Like the “top hats” entry, this next caption alludes not just to mail but to the fact that the snowmen are missing an important accessory: “The pipe catalog!”
In stark contrast to the entries that make the man who’s speaking a somewhat sinister character with magical powers, the final four captions presume he’s ordinary and maybe even a little sad:
- “Since I retired my wife says I have too much time on my hands.”
- “Out here I rule. In there, not so much.”
- “I decided to make some new friends.”
- “I get lonely.”
Tough contest. I don’t know that I’ve ever highlighted so few entries, though I have to admit that I struggled with Panckeri’s drawing, too. It’s a great cartoon, but hard to caption. Nevertheless, there were several strong contenders for best of the week, and my vote goes to, “Hello, number 6!”