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George makes you laugh out loud. Seriously.
July 2007 - Waters Wins 2nd Place In Robert Benchley
Humor Prize Competition!

Dave Barry, the judge for the 2007 Benchley humor writing contest, and longtime Benchley fan, has awarded my attempt at writing in the style of the great humorist "second prize," in a photo finish which humor writing contest entrants will be talking about for years to come. All that remains now is for me to whack* the guy who won first.

[*whack: (verb) To congratulate heartily]

Click here to view the other award-winning essays. Below is mine, in which I attempted to evoke Benchley's love of giving idiotic instructions in a very authoritative manner on a subject about which the writer knows nothing.

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T'ai Chi For Beginners, or War and Peace
By George Waters
2007

If there is one thing I cannot stand (and, really, is one ever enough?), it is sloth. That is why I took up the ancient Chinese art of T'ai Chi in an effort to improve my backswing.

Some people believe that T'ai Chi is only good for providing work for words which end in "i." This is malarkey.

T'ai Chi consists of a series of slow-motion, choreographed exercises (developed some 1200 years ago by Anonymous, and don't think for a minute he ever lets you forget it) in a state of relaxation so complete you could do them in your sleep, which would certainly be preferable.

Every human being, you see, is filled with a life force called "chi." (Some of us are more full of it than others).

Performing T'ai Chi helps this life force flow through one's body freely, especially if one keeps in mind the simple proportions of gin and vermouth required for lubrication.

As Karbunkel discusses in his "T'ai Chi Ist Fur Die Verliebten," the T'ai Chi enthusiast increases his flexibility, longevity and flatulence, if used as directed.

To begin with, you must first become acquainted with your "dan tien." (A simple "How's the Missus?" will do). The dan tien is your energy center, a point located two to three inches (or .29 fathoms) below the navel.

"Move from the dan tien!" is the common cry of the T'ai Chi instructor, especially if the dan tien is blocking the drink cart.

To begin T'ai Chi, take a stance on your front lawn, placing your feet about shoulder-width apart and breathing deeply into your dan tien, until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.

Next, swivel your hips in a "hula" fashion while gradually bending your knees until you are attracting small children laughing scornfully. Now you are on the right track!

Extend your arms outward as far as you can. If you find it hard balancing, remove the olive from your martini, and you are back in business.

Finally, well, this is usually as far as I get before I start chasing the children with a stick, but you get the idea of the thing.

You, the T'ai Chi novice, will soon be learning routines like "Stretch Bow to Shoot Tiger (Then Run Like Hell)" and "Flying Bees Through Leaves," although the latter is one procedure which is best left to T'ai Chi experts. Believe you me, the honey is not worth it.

However, during my years touring with "Pinafore," I perfected a few of my own exercises, like "Arising With A Hangover" and "Hiding A Dropped Ash With Your Shoe." My "Drawing To An Inside Straight" is not half bad either, if viewed from a prone position.

In conclusion (where I always go this time of year, for the dry heat), I stand behind T'ai Chi as a wonderful aid to health.

I will admit, however, it has insinuated its way into my chip shot something awful.

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Nov. 2006 - Waters Wins First Prize In Will Rogers Writing Contest, Proclaims "I'm going to Oklahoma!"

I am proud to announce that the judges for the Will Rogers Writing Contest named my essay, "A 21st Century Rope Trick," the winning entry in 2006. The contest required writers to craft an original essay capturing the homespun wit and wisdom of the great man while mimicking his writing style (complete with misspellings and his other trademarks). First prize was registration in the Will Rogers Writers' Workshop in Oklahoma City in March 2007, which brought together some of the top columnists in the country. I learned a lot, met many fellow writers, and had a great time. Yonder is my homage to Will, in which I imagine him a little amused by the technology of today.
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A 21st Century Rope Trick
By George Waters
2006

I read in the papers where they have jobs now in what they call the "technology sector," where a fellow can sit at a desk all day, not do anything that any reasonable workingman would call "work," and get paid top dollar for it. Kinder like a Congressman. What I want to know is what these technology birds do at that desk all day, so I can do it too.

I got one of 'em to show me his computer gadget, which he acted mighty proud of, like he'd just hatched it himself. These computers just seem a lot like typewriters to me, but with all the soul siphoned out, sort of like the Democratic Party these days. But what do these computer boys actually do to get paid better'n a dentist? At least with a dentist, he hands you the tooth he just pulled and you have something to show for what you paid him.

So I went down to that Google company to poke around a little bit and figger out what these gentlemen consider work. One fellow told me he "codes" all day. I felt a little better then, because I know a little something about encryption. The wife practices it on me every time she talks to one of her lady friends on the telephone inside my earshot. Next thing you know, I'm signed up to go to somebody's wedding.

These Google boys tell me that they've had a lot of success with what they call their "algorithm." The wife learned me about that too. So now every time I go to one of these weddings, I have to demonstrate mine out on the parquet floor. But mine don't net me $400 per share like theirs do.

I ain't one to criticize, mind you, but a sap who lays out $400 for one tiny piece of a company that don't produce nothing is on a collision course with what we call in Oklahoma a "life lesson." You just look at the price of Google stock and you wonder whether P.T. Barnum was being conservative regarding the birth rate of suckers.

Modern technology is a mighty fine game, but the problem with it is, as soon as you buy a fancy contraption, like one of these cellular telephones, you just know next week they'll make one that's cheaper and smaller. The way technology is headed, eventually that phone will cost a nickel, but you won't be able to see it.

I heard a speech last week by this fellow Bill Gates. You might know him as the comedian who started up a company that's famous for making windows that cause people to pull out their hair. Now that's what I call a real 21st Century rope trick. Any man who can sell like that ought to be in politics. Well, Bill said that pretty soon your computer and your lamp and your toaster will all talk to each other and your life will be as easy as pie. That gag got over pretty good with the crowd, but I ain't biting. I figure the day I see my toaster talk is the day I walk right down to the Capitol and ask them to reinstate prohibition.

I've been around the block enough times to know that folks pretty much get what's coming to 'em, though. If it's high technology they want, that's what us red-blooded capitalists will give 'em, until the next great fad comes around, like farming, or voting Libertarian.

Speaking of which, the November elections is just around the corner, and Thanksgiving too. The first is almost enough to ruin your appetite for the second, but I guess we'll muddle through like always. Politicians talk a good game, but they're mostly harmless. The incumbents, anyway. They'll tell us all the great shakes they are that the other scoundrel ain't, and you can believe 'em too. About 10% worth. It's like anything else in life. Ten percent is about all you can get your rope around for sure. The rest is just a whole lot of applesauce.

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