Wow, who knew everybody wants to be a cartoonist?
Two weeks ago when we asked readers to complete a blank-captioned Clay Bennett cartoon published in the Life section, we honestly didn’t know how many would respond.
Almost immediately, hundreds of entries began pouring in through the mail and online. All told, more than 400 readers took the bait.
Our winner, chosen in a secret ballot by 25 newsroom judges, was submitted by Greg Anderson, a 56-year-old Ooltewah resident.
Anderson’s caption has a counselor telling his patient: “At $250 an hour you can Occupy that sofa all you want.”
Many readers took the opportunity to turns things around on Bennett, who normally gets to be the stone-thrower.
“It’s easy to understand Bennett ... he believes left is right and right is wrong,” was a caption submitted by Joy S. Gibbons.
Others took a swing at 2012’s polarizing presidential race, with roughly equal numbers taking jabs at the Obama administration and the GOP primary debates.
“It’s not your mama, it’s Obama” was a caption submitted by a reader who identified himself only as David.
“I dreamed President Romney solved our national debt problem ... with a personal check,” wrote Charlie McRory, of Soddy-Daisy.
Here, in order, are the Top 10 ENTRIES AND OTHER FINALISTS
1 “At $250 an hour you can occupy that sofa all you want.”
— Greg Anderson, Ooltewah
2 Patient says: “The referral said, ‘proctologist.’’’
Psychologist says: “It did. But in this economy, I now treat both ends.”
— Pam Griffey, Hixson
3 “I bill multiple personalities separately to encourage you to integrate them.”
— Scott Tredwell, Advance, N.C.
4 “You’re not paranoid, Mr. Littlefield. They really ARE out to get you.”
— Anita Gaddy, Chattanooga
5 “Don’t feel weird about cheating on your spouse. It’s the main reason people come in. Now, if you’ll excuse me, your wife is due in 10 minutes.”
— Jack Rose, Knoxville
6 “Erlanger didn’t give you an executive bonus?”
— W.E. Hammer, Harrison
7 “After analysis, your problem’s not two wives. It’s two mothers-in-law”
— Wade Kerns
8 “In layman’s terms, Mr. Bennett, you’re nuttier than squirrel droppings.”
— Michael Matheson, Tullahoma, Tenn.
9 “I really like the new health-care reform. Previously I was only able to play a doctor on TV.”
— Rebekah Corey
10 “Believing you were an editorial cartoonist was a dream, Mr. Bennett, just a dream.”
— Bob Lyons, Signal Mountain
“Here is a prescription. What are your symptoms?”
— Dale Stout, Colorado Springs, Colo.
“You just feel over-taxed, right?”
— Helen Malmquist, Cleveland.
“Well, to my profession, Clay Bennett really has been a godsend.”
— George Standifer, Chattanooga.
“I dreamed that President Romney solved our national debt problem ... with a personal check!”
— Charlie McRorie, Soddy Daisy.
Patient: “The referral said ‘proctologist.’’’
Psychologist: “It did. But in this economy, I now treat both ends.”
— Pam Griffey, Hixson
“No, your insurance would not cover the therapy needed for being a Vols fan.”
— Martha Horn.
“Your problem is not your Mama, it’s Obama.”
— David. (No last name given.)
“Tell me about this moon base idea.”
— Kevin DiStasion, Chattanooga.
“How long have you felt Weston has qualities other that his last name.”
— John Moore, Jasper, Tenn.
“After analysis, your problem’s not two wives, it’s two mothers-in-law”
— Wade Kerns.
“You’re not crazy because you keep wetting your pants, you just need to wear pants with a zipper.”
— Bill Guinn, Ringgold.
“You’re not alone. It’s called DAD -- Debate-induced Anxiety Disorder.”
— Sharon Farber, Chattanooga.
“Having a jealous wife means if you come home with a hair on your coat, you’d better have the horse to match.”
— Marilyn Evans, Chattanooga.
“Will you board the Newt, Cain cheating train?”
— Linda Talley, Hixson.
“Now look here Romney, there’s really nothing to worry about.”
— Jo Ann Follis, Hixson.
“They call you ‘Three Fingers.’ So?”
— Elliott Moren, Ooltewah.
“Relax Mr. Smith, I’m writing your bill not your diagnosis.” — Rossville.
“You say you’re broke, have bad credit, and you’re filing for bankruptcy. Oops, we’re out of time.”
— Hazel Tucker, Chattanooga.
“So you are concerned that your Republican brain may destroy your Democrat soul.”
— Fred Greeson, Guild, Tenn.
- “Your wife called. It seems you’ve been advocating a family values ticket of Gingrich/Cain.”
— Jerry Jeansonne, Chattanooga.
“What is this obsession you have with annexation, Mr. Littlefield.”
— Mark Reynolds, Chatatnooga.
“Your depression is from living paycheck to paycheck. That will be $75, please.”
— Sandy Mauser, Chattanooa.
“By the way, I now accept payment in Euros.”
— James Appugliese, Chattanooga.
“Yes, it’s conserva-phobia. I’ll prescribe a subscription to National Review and make some friends outside the media.”
— M.T. Schmoll, Signal Mountain.
“Your wife will check your answers. Be careful.”
— Bill Noseworthy, Chattanooga.
“If you want to stop these violent mood swings, you’ll have to quit reading Bennett’s cartoons.”
— Jim Shearouse, Hixson.
“Your obsession with meaningless and despair masks more troubling issues.”
— Michael Kavkewitz, Chattanooga.
“You do know that liberalism is a mental disease.”
— Susan Skeels, Fairfield Glade, Tenn.
“I’m sorry Clay. You can lead them to culture buy you can’t make them think.”
— Hank Hill, Chattanooga.
“It’s easy to understand Bennett — he believes the left is right and the right is wrong.”
— Joy S. Gibbons.
Mark Kennedy is a Times Free Press columnist and editor. He writes the "LIfe Stories" human interest column for the City section and the "Family Life" column for the Life section. He also writes an automotive column, “Test Drive,” for the Business section. For 13 years, Kennedy was features editor of the newspaper, and before that he was the newspaper’s first Sunday editor. The Times Free Press Life section won the state press award for ...