At P.C. Vey’s cocktail party, a woman standing by the buffet is holding a drink in her left hand and chatting with a man. On her head is a futuristic contraption (maybe a death-ray?) pointing at the man to whom she’s talking.
She’s wearing the space age gadget like a hat, complete with a chin-strap, and I thought her family background might explain this peculiar fashion choice: “Mother was a milliner and father was a mad scientist.”
I then went with the death-ray angle:
- “Don’t worry. Or move.”
- “It’s a conversation ender.”
- “Right now I could turn you into a heap of ashes. Canape?”
I then imagined the man beginning a conversation by asking, “What’s that on top of your head?” If the woman were oblivious, this conversation might lead to her asking, “Oh, you mean on top of the wig?”
Finally, I came up with three captions based on the idea that the contraption on the woman’s head is simply for the cocktails:
- “Can I top that off for you?”
- “Let me freshen that up for you.”
Now let’s see how you did.
Pretty well, as it turns out. Vey’s cartoon inspired more good caption than I’ve ever seen for a single contest.
Many entries alluded to the line commonly used to chastise a man who’s too busy staring at a woman’s breasts to look her in the eyes, and the best of these captions was the simplest: “My eyes are down here.” I also appreciated this spin on the same joke: “My breasts are down here.”
Those captions, however, fail to address exactly what the woman is wearing on her head, or its purpose. Most of you assumed it’s a death-ray:
- “I wouldn’t call it a death-ray, at least not yet.”
- “Did the little red light just turn on? That’s not good.”
- “Here’s to new beginnings and horrific endings.”
I like the way that last caption alludes to both the budding romance between two strangers (and the expectations they have for their new relationship) and the death-ray’s awesome destructive powers.
The next set of captions suggest that the woman has already used, or is willing to use, these powers:
- “Just don’t say the wrong thing and you’ll be fine.”
- “Do I look like I’m kidding?”
- “I’m sure you agree.”
- “Sheila? She had to go.”
- “Let’s talk about money, politics, and religion.”
- “I have something that will blow your mind.”
- “Excuse me, I’m going to say hello to my ex-husband and his new girlfriend.”
- “Let’s not talk about my previous boyfriend.”
That last entry, which is great, would be even better if “previous boyfriend” was replaced with “ex-boyfriend.”
Here’s another terrific ray gun caption—“I meet the most interesting people at parties and then I kill them”—but a comma before the word “and” would add a pause that makes the joke even more effective.
Here’s a good ray-gun caption that could have been great: “I used to be the life of the party, now I’m the death of the party.” The first ten words are completely unnecessary and serve only to explain a joke (“I’m the death of the party”) that needs no explanation.
Here’s a political and anti-NRA take on the ray gun joke: “Nadion particle beams don’t kill people, people kill people.” I wish the comma were a period, but it’s still a strong entry.
The best ray-gun entry may be a reference to the iconic scene from the movie, “Goldfinger,” where James Bond is strapped to a table with his legs spread wide apart. Moving slowly toward his groin is a laser beam that’s burning through the heavy table to which he’s strapped. An increasingly desperate Bond asks Goldfinger, “Do you expect me to talk?” To which Goldfinger calmly replies, “No, Mr. Bond. I expect you to die.” This retort has replaced, “Bond. James Bond,” as the most famous line from any of the 007 movies, and it served as the inspiration for this entry: “No, Mr. Bond. I expect you to get me a drink.”
A few of you assumed the ray-gun had a less lethal setting (like stun) or purpose (like warming up drinks, removing blemishes, or entertaining pets):
- “Oh, I’m stunning all right.”
- “Let me know if your cider’s cold.”
- “Don’t move. There’s something on your eyebrow.”
- “The cat loves it.”
Like I did, many of you assumed the death-ray would be the opposite of a conversation starter, and here are two especially good entries:
- “I find it’s a great conversation ender.”
- “Actually, it’s more of a conversation stopper.”
Others posited that the contraption on top of the woman’s head is not a death-ray, but a machine for deciphering or controlling another person’s thoughts:
- “Do you mind if I pick your brain?”
- “Actually, I really do know what you’re thinking.”
- “I don’t think we’re on the same wavelength.”
- “A penny for your thoughts, or should I just extract them?”
- “Looks like someone needs an attitude adjustment.”
I thought my joke about the woman’s being the product of a milliner and a scientist was unique, but one of you had the same idea: “My father was a rocket scientist and my mother was a milliner. I’m just peculiar.”
Like I did, a few of you assumed the contraption was for the drinks, and I especially liked this entry: “Want some seltzer with that?”
As I’ve mentioned in previous commentaries, I always like a caption that presumes the character who’s speaking is oblivious, and this was the best such entry for this week’s contest: “I forgot to take it off again, didn’t I?”
And here’s the week’s best sex joke: “I couldn’t help but notice you checking out my equipment.”
“This old thing?”—a common (to the point of being clichéd) response to a compliment a woman receives about her clothing or accessories—fits the drawing perfectly even if it doesn’t address the “old thing’s” purpose.
This week’s best entry, which captures the way people talk at cocktail parties and explains why the woman is wearing a space-age gadget on her head and (most important) is also funny, is, “That reminds me of the time I was abducted by aliens.”