This is the column in which I was going to announce the winners of the 97th annual Onion Young Patriot Essay Contest, but none of the entries was deserving of a prize. The Onion received only four essays concerning this year's topic, "What Our Great Republic Means To Me," and the lack of care with which they were written is appalling. The finest of the four, if it could be called such, was written by 11-year-old Josh Dorman of Valdosta, Geo., and reads as follows:
U.S.A. rules! Go Braves! Yankees suk! Do I get first prise now?
You most certainly do not, Josh Dorman of Valdosta, Geo.! The only prize a churlish young whelp like you should get is a good hiding! The other three essays were even worse, filled with misspellings, grammatical errors and poor logic. One of them was merely a bug crushed on a piece of paper!
The Young Patriot Essay Contest will be discontinued due to the indolence and torpor of the modern youth. Instead of stealing penny sweet-meats from the local mercantilist or whiling away the hours listening to recordings of voices, these idle hooligans should be home sewing samplers by candle-light or slaving in the textile mills.
It saddens me to see this proud contest fall into oblivion, for it was once a very important event for American school-children. The Onion offices were once flooded with entries, and it would take months for us to read them all and decide who was most deserving of the coveted grand-prize, a sack of corn-meal. Yes, it was a simpler time, and people had more faith in their betters in government and business alike.
I remember the best essay we ever received. In 1910, answering the question "What Is The Greatest Thing About Our Great Republic?" a young Jewish immigrant told of how his family had endured pogroms in his home-land of Russia, and how they barely escaped with their lives. Settling in the Lower East Side slums of New-York City, his family made six cents a week weaving pot-holders. You would think this would be gratification enough, but the boy said that the greatest thing about America was that it was the place where he had the best chance to grow up and become just like his idol, T. Herman Zweibel.
God bless the boy! I shall remember his kind words always. However, since I was and have always been opposed to immigration, I pulled a few strings at the Bureau of Immigration & Naturalization and had him and his family deported back to Russia on false subversion charges.