All right, readers, gather round. The esteemed Nightstand Official Word Game for a Prize jury has been deliberating over (and laughing at) your finger tattoo ideas (see "Fist Fite," Dec. 4, 2002) for these six weeks, even graciously accepting late submissions from apologetic stragglers, and on behalf of said distinguished jury—who came to congress on a recent evening at Linda's, unfortunately not at that desirably round table under the window but at that weird western deco tree trunk disaster of a table kind of toward the back—now it's time to award a prize.
For those who don't recall, the contest called for the best-written hand tattoo—something eight letters long to go across the fingers that face you when someone clenches both of their fists; something that reads left to right and, also, split in half and reversed, in case the tattooed person switches the order of their hands; something whose meaning is amplified by it being a hand tattoo; and something capable of making the Nightstand laugh or cry or urinate with glee.
Is everyone present? Excellent. Here we go: None of you wins anything.
We are not exactly sure why this should have happened. As this was our inaugural competition, we had a lot riding on this, taking it, as a matter of course, that our readership is the more desirable demographic than, say, fans of the column Small World. (Small World and the Nightstand are currently engaged in a personal and hugely bitter feud about Michael Cunningham's terrible, horrible, hideous novel The Hours, which the scribe behind Small World thinks is "beautiful." Pardon us while we wretch.) You, dear readers, are an esteemed band of graduate students, Boggle aficionados, and Elliott Bay Book Company employees. You know who Lionel Trilling is, you love Dawn Powell, and you've heard of Andr頇ide. You have smooth complexions, black evening wear, glasses, friends, and a clue. You do not blog.
And, truthfully, you all didn't come up totally empty. Heather Slater, of Tacoma, came up with REST LESS (can be switched to LESS REST) and HAND SOME (which reverses, apropos of the medium, to SOME HAND). Derek Carr, whose entries indicate either a perverse wit or psychological problems, suggested TEST DRUG (which reverses to DRUG TEST), FAGS HURT (which reverses into a hate crime), and SPAM MAPS ("Maps of Spam could be quite fascinating," he wrote). And Jessamyn West emerged with an effluvia of estimable ideas (BARS TOOL, CONS TRUE, MEAT USES), including one that's both a Jewish holiday (PASS OVER) and a highway feature (OVER PASS).
But the best, at least in our estimation, is DIET COKE, for three reasons: (1) The Nightstand is addicted to the stuff—we know, it's so bourgeois, but there's nothing we can do; (2) there's something very 2003 about the idea of conflating what's corporate and what's corporal; and (3) the reverse, COKE DIET, is awesome. Sadly, DIET COKE was submitted informally over brunch by our friend Claire, who now wins (drum roll please) lunch with the Nightstand and an autographed copy of 1999's Ally McBeal: The Official Guide (seasons one and two) by Seattle Weekly staff writer Tim Appelo, available in English or, if Claire would rather, Czech (translation: Ally McBealovἯI>). Congrats to Claire, and thanks, everyone, for playing.