Emdashes—Modern Times Between the Lines

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Clip-On Parrots and Doppelgangers

Filed under: Seal Barks   Tagged: , , ,

I just spoke with the good-natured, self-deprecating Adam Szymkowicz, winner of the most recent caption contest. "I was psyched to win. I’m finally known for something!" he laughed. He's out West snowboarding at the moment, but happily agreed to do an email interview with cartoonist Drew Dernavich (whose cartoons he likes a lot) in coming days. Look for that soon.

I warned Adam that other contest winners have reported getting cantankerous letters from readers. "Uh-oh, I hope they don't have anything against clip-on parrots!" Yes, about that caption: He wasn't sure if it "was necessarily in the vein of The New Yorker," he says, so he was extra-pleased it was chosen.

Meanwhile, he's already contending with one of the drawbacks of fame: being impersonated. Another Adam Szymkowicz, a New York playwright and screenwriter (Pretty Theft, Deflowering Waldo), keeps getting congratulated for winning the contest. As our Adam reports, "we've had this little email thing going on for a couple of days." From his jesting letter:

So you don't know me...

But you have something of mine. My name. yeah, my name. Adam Szymkowicz. When I took it, hell, I thought no one else would want that lackadaisical jumble of consonants and just two and a half vowels. Apparently I was wrong.... [W]e're gonna have to have it out over this shit at some point. It'll be a total literary style high-noon showdown. Totally. OK corral style; complete with dust, blood, shotguns and scantily-clad prostitutes watching furtively from behind grimy half veiled upstairs saloon windows.

I like that half a vowel—it reminds me of an improv bit my friend Scott Prendergast did in which the letter Y showed up to rehearsal for Vowels—The Musical!, although he'd been told to come in only "sometimes." In any case, as Caption Adam notes, "He put it on his blog, so I guess he's not mad." Emily Fox Gordon and I know well that having a name clone can be inconvenient, but it does have a big plus—it makes you seem really, really prolific. Congratulations to the new Szymkowicz in town, and don't touch that dial; look for his dialogue with Drew Dernavich here soon. (Update: Real soon—these guys are prompt!) Come join the youth and beauty brigade!


Other Emdashes caption-contest interviews:

  • David Kempler, winner #100 (“Don’t tell Noah about the vasectomy.”)
  • David Wilkner, winner #99 ("I’d like to get your arrow count down.”)
  • Richard Hine, winner #98 ("When you’re finished here, Spencer, we’ll need you on the bridge-to-nowhere project.”)

  • Carl Gable, winner #40 ("Hmm. What rhymes with layoffs?”)
  • T.C. Boyle, winner #29 (“And in this section it appears that you have not only alienated voters but actually infected them, too.")
  • Evan Butterfield, winner #15 ("Well, it's a lovely gesture, but I still think we should start seeing other people.")
  • Jan Richardson, winner #8 ("He's the cutest little thing, and when you get tired of him you just flush him down the toilet.")
  • Roy Futterman, winner #1 ("More important, however, is what I learned about myself.")

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