In Kendra Allenby’s cartoon, joggers and cyclists and dog-owners are running and biking and strolling through Central Park. In the air above them is a woman with her arms extended out to the side. She’s dressed like a jogger and addressing one of the runners below her. She looks annoyed.
Why is she up there? Is she floating or flying? If she’s floating, is she full of helium? If she’s flying, is she a spirit? If so, did she die jogging? Is she flying by flapping her arms? If so, why is she dressed like a jogger?
Assuming the woman inhaled helium: “Why do you think my voice sounds funny?”
Assuming she’s dead:
- “I’m dead two weeks and already you’re running around with another woman?”
- “I just now slipped and hit my head on a rock and, apparently, I died.”
Assuming she took to the air by furiously flapping her arms: “Jogging’s great for cardio, but nothing works the triceps and shoulders like flapping your arms.”
Now let’s see how you did:
I thought “Runner’s High” worked best as a title for this commentary—especially because it could indicate a reference to either (a) the feeling of euphoria one experiences after sustained aerobic exercise, or (b) the fact that the runner in the cartoon in the air—but several of you used the phrase to create strong captions:
- “It’s a runner’s high.”
- “You call that a runner’s high?”
- “What, you don’t get Runner’s High?”
Here’s a similar entry I liked: “I get high from running.”
Many of you noted that flying could help the woman avoid running-related injuries:
- “I don’t believe in weight-bearing exercise.”
- “It helps with my shin splints.”
- “It’s easier on the knees.”
- “It’s easier on my knees.”
- “I have bad knees.”
And there’s another advantage: “And you don’t have to count steps.”
Here are the best of the helium captions:
- “I’m on a helium-based diet.”
- “Helium is not a performance-enhancing drug.”
- “Did my voice startle you? Must be the helium.”
Like I did, one of you assumed the floating woman is the ghost of a recently-deceased and jealous lover: “I’ve been dead a week and you’re already jogging with someone else?”
A similar entry suggests that the flying woman is not dead, but is jealous and surprisingly competitive: “But can she do this?”
Here’s the week’s best pandemic joke: “Actually, it’s a great time to fly.”
Here are the two best puns:
- “Brad, I’m so over you!”
- “Jogging is so beneath me.”
And here’s the best twist on a common expression: “You can run, but you can’t fly.”
As someone who used to have recurring flying dreams, which felt incredibly liberating, I like this entry: “Dreams do come true!”
I love this caption—“Sorry, I sweat a lot”—which cleverly suggests that the male jogger looked up before the flying woman said anything, but I’m not sure it fits the woman’s expression. Wouldn’t she look more apologetic than annoyed? Maybe not. Maybe she’s defensive.
I received two nearly identical versions of this caption: “I’m training for the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.” The other version had an exclamation point, but the understated version is funnier.
Running against a headwind is hard, but flying against one presents even greater challenges: “Well, sure. But it’s much tougher against the wind.”
Many of you submitted some variation on the warning one gives while passing a runner, but this was the best: “On your upper right.”
Finally, one of you suggested that the woman who’s speaking is just now realizing one of the advantages of flight: “Yeah, why am I following the jogging path?”
This week’s winner is the beautifully concise, “I have bad knees.”
Lawrence Wood has won The New Yorker’s Cartoon Caption Contest a record-setting seven times, and been a finalist two 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.