The late, great Leo Cullum’s cartoon is set in what appears to be an attorney’s office. The lawyer is a human man, and seated across from him are a dog and a cat, who are anthropomorphic. The dog is wearing a business suit, while the cat is wearing a sweater over a blouse. The dog is speaking.
I first assumed the cat and dog are seeking a divorce, and the dog is explaining why they can’t stay together:
- “Irreconcilable differences.”
- “We fight like, well…you know.”
- “She’s a cat person, and I’m a dog person.”
I then thought the dog is offering his services to a personal injury lawyer: “I can help you chase ambulances.” That caption, of course, doesn’t quite work because it doesn’t address the cat.
Finally, I came up with a pun: “We need someone who specializes in domestic pet relations.”
Now let’s see how you did:
Here’s a caption that is identical to one of mine but for the punctuation, and I think this entrant had a better sense of where to place the ellipses and commas: “We fight like. . . well, you know.”
And here are three more entries that go after the same joke:
- “Then how should we be fighting?”
- “We can’t fight any other way.”
- “What else would you expect us to fight like?”
Like I did, a lot of you assumed the dog and cat are seeking a divorce. In fact, so many of you made that assumption that I had to break the best of them down into subcategories.
There were puns that alluded to the anthropomorphic nature of the animals:
- “The problem is that she’s a cat person and I’m a dog person.”
- “I’m more of a dog person.”
- “She’s not a dog person.”
- “I’m not a cat person.”
Entries that alluded to what will happen after the divorce:
- “She can have the furniture. I want the backyard and the car.”
- “I’ll have more trouble landing on my feet.”
And explanations for why the couple split up:
- “She doesn’t know the meaning of the word loyalty.”
- “I never should have married an Episcopalian.
- “So I like to chase tail, is that so wrong?”
- “One year with her was like seven.”
- “Irreconcilable differences. Very.”
That last caption is very close to one of my own, but it adds an unnecessary word at the end that detracts from the punchline.
In the following entry, the dog denies any responsibility for the couple’s problems: “I have never strayed.”
Some of you assumed the lawyer specializes in a practice that has nothing to do with domestic relations.
- “She can push papers and I can chase ambulances.”
- “We’re here to formalize our disagreement.”
- “We want compensation from YouTube.”
- “Will she need nine wills?”
And a couple of you suggested that the dog is also an attorney:
- “My client agrees to your terms, but only if there are strings attached.”
- “My firm is going to bury you and then forget where we buried you.”
Here are two clever references to an English idiom:
- “We met during a rainstorm.”
- “We’re here to make it rain.”
That second entry is especially strong as it alludes to lawyers who make a lot of money.
As usual, I’ll conclude with several good captions that don’t fit neatly into any category:
- “The Smyth report was completed sir, but my assistant here kept swiping it off the table.”
- “The Human Resources Department is not responsive to our needs.”
- “Next time, I’ll do the presentation without a laser pointer.”
- “We’re domesticated partners.”
This week’s winner is, “We’re here to make it rain.”
Lawrence Wood has won The New Yorker’s Cartoon Caption Contest a record-setting seven times and been a finalist four other times. He has collaborated with New Yorker cartoonists Peter Kuper, Lila Ash, Felipe Galindo Gomez, and Harry Bliss (until Bliss tossed him aside, as anyone would, to collaborate with Steve Martin). Nine of his collaborations have appeared in The New Yorker, and one is included in The New Yorker Encyclopedia of Cartoons.