In my fellow Chicagoan Pat Byrnes’ drawing, two mobsters have fitted their latest victim with concrete shoes and thrown him off a pier and into the river. His head, however, remains above water because he’s landed safely on top of a pile of other victims. He’s saying something to the mobsters on the pier.
My first set of captions was inspired by a famous quote from Stephen Hawking:
- “Each generation stands on the shoulders of those who have gone before them.”
- “I stand on the shoulders of those who have gone before me.”
- “As Stephen Hawking once said…”
Because there are so many drowned corpses in the water, I imagined the latest victim commenting on the mobsters’ long history of killing people by throwing them in the river:
- “I’m guessing you’ve done this before.”
- “Not your first time?”
- “Well, it’s not a rookie error.”
- “Your work’s piling up.”
Finally, an awful pun: “I don’t fit in with this pier group.”
Now let’s see how you did:
Here are just two of the many captions submitted by entrants who were inspired, as I was, by the Hawking quote:
- “I stand on the shoulders of those who went before me.”
- “I would like to thank all those who came before me.”
Though brevity is the soul of wit, some captions benefit from what might initially seem like too many words. Here’s a good example: “I swear I’m sinking. You can leave now. I’m as good as dead. Seriously, fellas.” This unusually long caption works because it captures the way someone in these circumstances might actually talk while trying to persuade his murderers to walk away. But then I saw this caption and realized the shorter version of the same joke works better: “I’m sinking. No need to watch.”
The following entry is similar to but longer than one of my captions: “You’ll never finish a job if you let work pile up.” It’s also better than mine, and an exception to the rule that less is more. It works so well because it addresses not just the fact that the mobsters have murdered a lot of people, but that their past work is preventing them from killing their latest victim.
The next two captions also go further by commenting not just on the number of times the mobsters have thrown someone into the river, but on the fact they always do it in the same exact spot:
- “You guys are surprisingly consistent.”
- “Do you come here often?”
I especially like that second caption because it’s a common phrase that takes on an entirely different but fitting meaning in the context of this cartoon.
Here are a couple entries—variations on the same joke—that came out of left field and were a nice surprise:
- “If it’s any consolation, I’ll probably get a nasty sunburn.”
- “Would you toss me some sunscreen?”
The longer of these two captions is yet another exception to the rule that less is more because it addresses not just the sunburn angle, but the mobsters’ failure to accomplish their goal.
Finally, here’s a not bad pun: “You’re on your pier, I’m on my peers.”
I feel guilty about my selection for this week’s winning caption because it’s so close to one of my own, but I swear I’m not trying to take credit for the win: “I stand on the shoulders of those who went before me.”