Leslie Knope: Hello citizens of Pawnee. I’m Leslie Knope, and Oim Irish M’Lady, Cheerio!!!
I’m not Irish. I’m actually from Pawnee. It’s kind of crappy but we love it anyway.
Sir? No. Sir? I will deal with you when I’m finished. Also your jacket is on fire.
Big smile, Knope. Big smile.
Wait. Did I say that out loud? I said that out loud didn’t I.
Nathan invited me here to announce the finalists in the first paragraph competition, and I thought, sure, first paragraph competition, what this party really needs is a festival! So everyone look under their seats where there are two color coded binders, which reveal the location of the real binders, one through seventeen, which will give you your…
No groaning! Now, I know what you’re thinking. This is too awesome to even contemplate. I know, I’m thinking that too. That’s why I’m wearing my hottest cargo pants.
Where were we? First paragraphs! Right! Let me turn my attention over to my boss, the great Ron Swanson. Give him a big Pawnee welcome. Ron?
Ron: Thank you, Leslie.
I hate first paragraphs. I think that first paragraphs are an abomination unto God, freedom, and bacon. My ex-wife Tammy loved first paragraphs, and so did my other ex-wife Tammy. First paragraphs are a fetid disease that pollutes people with a love of reading. I don’t believe people shouldn’t read, with the sole exception of the Constitution of the United States and the collected works of Ayn Rand. Books just give people ideas, and when people have ideas they complain. So I hate them.
That is all.
Leslie: Annnnnd thank you Ron Swanson! Isn’t he great? He’s really the greatest boss in the world. Loooves those paragraphs too.
Okay! It’s time to announce the finalists of the… no wait. That’s not right. Because that would be weird. Bee boo. Moving on.
The honorable mentions! That’s what I meant. These individuals win a shoe shine from Andy Dwyer and a free improvisational musical experience courtesy of April Ludgate!
Also I tried April’s musical experience and she just throws a harmonica at you, so watch out.
Josin L. McQuein
And the finalists!!
Nathan gave me strict instructions. In order to vote for the winner, please leave a vote in the comments section of this post. You will have until Wednesday 6pm Pacific time to vote. Please do not e-mail him your vote.
Also: No campaigning for yourself or your favorites out there on the Internet. Don’t make me use my power to petition for grievances.
Anonymous comments have been closed for the duration of the voting. There will be no blog post on Wednesday as the votes are being tallied, but we will return on Thursday to crown the victor and talk about what worked for Nathan in the first para… Oim Irish again, laddy! Oim going to go down to the pub to talk about powygraphs!
I’m really not Irish.
The six finalists!!! In no particular order!! Are!!!
The funny thing about tennis, my father used to tell me, was no matter how hard you worked, no matter how good you got, you’d never be as good as a wall. My father didn’t like most sports. Football players, he said, were just drunks in training. Golf was what rich people did when they didn’t want anyone to call them lazy. Hockey was exercise for the criminally insane. And soccer? Well, let’s just say that, all debates of free speech aside, some things are inappropriate for a team of ten year old girls, and the next time he sets foot in the Hamilton County Sports Metroplex, he’ll likely face a $2000 fine and six months in jail. Not that it would matter to him.
From a bird’s eye view, the sight is beautiful, pristine. The symmetrical gridlines of Shelter’s streets rest on the jagged landscape of the Colorado Mountains, an obvious imperfection that only makes them more charming, like a scar on a beautiful woman. On Monday evening, the streets are vacant. It’s local custom to shell up in a living room and anesthetize your dread of the coming week with a massive dose of televised entertainment. It’s what people do, it’s normal. For the few who walk outside, the October wind is their only companion. Tonight, Charles Crawford is on the other side of the windowpanes and misses the meaningless comfort of being normal.
I was born during an electrical storm. They told me when Matilda saw me for the first time the lights flickered, and in that moment of blackness, my sister leaned over and whispered, “I missed you.” Like I had just returned from a trip.
Wolfgang Benjamin Zuttliburg Mullenbottom IV was the most imaginative boy to ever live. When he was born, he floated right out of the doctor’s hands and nearly out of the nursery. (He would have made it too, if the doctor hadn’t once been a poisonous snake wrangler with Animal Control and still had his lightning reflexes.) “This will not do,” his father, the stoutest in a long line of stout German fathers, said as his son bobbled in the nursery like a helium balloon. So when it came time to make out the birth certificate, he chose the heaviest name possible so his son would keep his feet on the ground.
Kate Tyler Wall!
It was Ricky Dick of the Turds who said that Del and I would end up together in the Punk Rock Old Folks Home someday. We were all sitting around the fire on one of the last nights at camp, but Del and I weren’t singing along to “Beat on the Brat” with the others because as usual we were knee to knee, talking about some book or maybe the latest song we were writing or how I would have to find another day job next week. Ricky couldn’t jeer at us to “just go in the woods and screw already” like he would to anybody else because people were finally figuring out by then that we weren’t about that. Jimmy Spittle from Cybyl probably came closest to putting his finger on the nature of the relationship. He once said Del and I were each other’s “muses,” a word Ricky Dick had probably never heard of. Jimmy was a pretty deep guy, as punks go. Anyway, everybody laughed, and Del told Ricky where to go, and then Steve from Head Lice started playing “I Fought the Law” on his guitar and another sing-along began. Just another August night at Camp Punksatawny; one that everyone might remember fondly at middle age if they didn’t OD or die of cirrhosis first.
Jesus Arturo Alvarez was born on the thirteenth of September in the year of the Lord, after Whom he was named, nineteen hundred and ninety. It was a Friday, and also market day in the village of Guadalupe, Arizona, which lay just east of Ahwahtukee and southeast of Phoenix proper. During her most severe labor pains his mother screamed at the nurses for a drink and his father pinched her hard on that soft skin just above the elbow and told her to shut up. She didn’t feel the pinch but she told him to go to hell anyway and then bit him on his left hand between the thumb and forefinger. Forever after Jesus’ father had a crescent-shaped, dotted-line scar that he would rub absentmindedly with his right thumb during conversation.
Congratulations to the winners! I admire you as much as my mother, Hilary Clinton, and former Secretary of State Madeline Albright. Combined. No, multiplied. And squared.
S.L. Bookworm says
Anonymous! Though Daniel is a close second.
I'm sure someone has already mentioned this in one of the 305 other comments, but should the first listed entry be allowed since it plagiarizes a Mitch Hedberg joke?
Corinne O'Flynn says
wow – they are all really interesting and have grabbed me.
Daniel Wheatley gets my vote.
There were several interesting paragraphs in the submissions that I'm sorry didn't make it into the finals. Congratulations to those that did. Of them, there is only one that would make me want to read beyond the first sentence: Anonymous.
Thanks, Nathan, for a fun and interesting experience.
My vote is going to Ben – I'm already interested in the hero, if that's what he is. All of the others, however good – and they are – feel like I've seen them before.
Screwed up my last post. Ah, well.
I vote for Anonymous!
Kim Batchelor says
Both birth stories were at the top of my list, but Anonymous barely edged out Jesus.
Michael G-G says
The Sasquatch. The voice is top notch.
Deniz Bevan says
Congratulations to all! I vote for The Sasquatch.
Sommer Leigh says
Bethany Brengan says
All so good, but my vote goes to Anonymous.
(Though can I say how much Hilary's style reminds me of Gabriel García Márquez?)
Amazing that they all had exclamation points in common in their first names. I've never seen that before!
Anonymous and The Sasquatch as a close second.