I've received a free copy of David Wilton's new book, Word Myths: Debunking Linguistic Urban Legends
, courtesy of Oxford University Press. So I'm having a contest to give it away. The book has just been published. I'm not sure it's even out in stores yet, but you can get a copy here... if you win the contest.
First, what's the book about? Wilton debunks all those stories about where words come from, such as 'is GOLF really an acronym for Gentlemen Only, Ladies Forbidden?' or 'does SOS stand for Save Our Souls?' or 'was F**K originally an acronym meaning For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge?' You'll have to get the book to find out the answers. It's a lot of fun, and quite enlightening.
Here's what I've decided for the contest: urban legend haiku. I figure this is appropriate since it's a book about urban legends and language. Whoever comes up with the best haiku describing an urban legend (or a hoax, since this is the Museum of Hoaxes) wins the contest. What's 'best' will, of course, be subjectively decided by me.
If you need inspiration, examples of urban legend haiku can be found here
. I'm not going to be a stickler about whether or not entries maintain proper haiku form (three lines: first line five syllables, second line seven syllables, third line five syllables), since apparently the idea that haiku must adhere strictly to this form is itself a bit of an urban legend. Keep it to three lines, but if the number of syllables isn't perfect, I don't care.
Here's my own rather weak attempt at a hoax haiku. It took me all of a minute to write:
Enclosed in glass,
Soon she'll be rectangular,
My Bonsai Kitten.
You'll have to do better than this to win the book.
The contest will end on Nov. 20, about a week from today (oh, and you can submit as many haiku as you like).
And one more thing, submit your entries as comments. Don't email them to me directly.
Okay, the contest is now closed. I need a day or two to review all the entries.