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Josephine Lives!
Finding gold, if you're not careful, changes a person for the worse.

Another World
A volunteer from Virginia experiences the disturbing reality of life on the border.

The Gift Comes Full Circle
Sometimes when you cast your bread upon the waters, you don't have to wait long.

Angel Loop September
This year's best poem

The St. Ignatius Day Parade
When you need your very own saint, sometimes you have to improvise.

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War Rages Between Men and Women!

Plus signs you're a senior citizen and deep thoughts.


Annals of auto repair… We begin on a philosophical note, of sorts, with this from The Packrat Out Back:

"A mechanic was removing a cylinder head from the motor of a Harley motorcycle when he spotted a well-known heart surgeon in his shop. The surgeon was waiting for the service manager to come and take a look at his bike. The mechanic shouted across the garage, ‘Hey, Doc, can I ask you a question?'

"The surgeon, a bit surprised, walked over to the mechanic working on the motorcycle. The mechanic straightened up, wiped his hands on a rag and asked, ‘So, Doc, look at this engine. I open its heart, take the valves out, fix 'em, put 'em back in, and when I finish, it works just like new. So how come I get such a small salary and you get the really big bucks, when you and I are doing basically the same work?'

"The surgeon paused, smiled and leaned over, and whispered to the mechanic: ‘Try doing it with the engine running.'"


Losing the battle of the sexes… Next we move on to a bumper crop of dispatches from the front lines of the gender wars, starting with this litany of "Man Rules" from GeeRichard:

"We always hear ‘the rules' from the female side. Now here are the rules from the male side!

"Men are NOT mind readers.

"Learn to work the toilet seat. You're a big girl. If it's up, put it down. We need it up, you need it down. You don't hear us complaining about you leaving it down.

"Crying is blackmail.

"Ask for what you want. Let us be clear on this one: Subtle hints do not work! Strong hints do not work! Obvious hints do not work! Just say it!

"Yes and no are perfectly acceptable answers to almost every question.

"Come to us with a problem only if you want help solving it. That's what we do. Sympathy is what your girlfriends are for.

"Anything we said six months ago is inadmissible in an argument. In fact, all comments become null and void after seven days.

"If you think you're fat, you probably are. Don't ask us.

"If something we said can be interpreted two ways and one of the ways makes you sad or angry, we meant the other one.

"You can either ask us to do something or tell us how you want it done. Not both. If you already know best how to do it, just do it yourself.

‘Whenever possible, please say whatever you have to say during commercials.

"Christopher Columbus did NOT need directions and neither do we.

"ALL men see in only 16 colors, like Windows default settings. Peach, for example, is a fruit, not a color. Pumpkin is also a fruit. We have no idea what mauve is.

"If we ask what is wrong and you say ‘nothing,' we will act like nothing's wrong. We know you are lying, but it is just not worth the hassle.

"If you ask a question you don't want an answer to, expect an answer you don't want to hear.

"When we have to go somewhere, absolutely anything you wear is fine. REALLY.

"Don't ask us what we're thinking about unless you are prepared to discuss such topics as baseball or motor sports.

"You have enough clothes.

"You have too many shoes.

"I am in shape. Round IS a shape!

"Thank you for reading this. Yes, I know, I have to sleep on the couch tonight. But did you know men really don't mind that? It's like camping."


Then there's this yarn from Glenn:

"A judge was interviewing a woman regarding her pending divorce. He asked, ‘What are the grounds for your divorce?'

"She replied, ‘About four acres and a nice little home in the middle of the property with a stream running by.'

"‘No,' he said, ‘I mean what is the foundation of this case?'

"‘It is made of concrete, brick and mortar,' she responded.

"‘I mean,' he continued, ‘what are your relations like?'

"‘I have an aunt and uncle living here in town, and so do my husband's parents.'

"He said, ‘Do you have a real grudge?'

"‘No,' she replied, ‘we have a two-car carport and have never really needed one.'

"‘Please,' he tried again, ‘is there any infidelity in your marriage?'

"‘Yes, both my son and daughter have stereo sets. We don't necessarily like the music, but the answer to your question is yes.'

"‘Ma'am, does your husband ever beat you up?'

"‘Yes,' she responded, ‘about twice a week he gets up earlier than I do.'

"Finally, in frustration, the judge asked, ‘Lady, why do you want a divorce?'

"‘Oh, I don't want a divorce,' she replied. ‘I've never wanted a divorce. My husband does. He said he can't communicate with me.'"


Briefly, next, from CharlesC:

"A recent study has found that women who carry a little extra weight live longer than the men who mention it."



And finally, yes, this from Ned Ludd really does fit the category:

"A 16-year-old boy came home with a new Chevrolet Avalanche and his parents began to yell and scream, ‘Where did you get that truck?!' He calmly told them, ‘I bought it today.'

"‘With what money?' demanded his parents. They knew what a Chevrolet Avalanche cost.

"‘Well,' said the boy, ‘this one cost me just $15.' So the parents began to yell even louder: ‘Who would sell a truck like that for $15?'

"‘It was the lady up the street,' said the boy. "I don't know her name — they just moved in. She saw me ride past on my bike and asked me if I wanted to buy a Chevrolet Avalanche for $15.'

"‘Oh my goodness!' moaned the mother. ‘She must be a child abuser. Who knows what she will do next? John, you go right up there and see what's going on.' So the boy's father walked up the street to the house where the lady lived and found her out in the yard calmly planting petunias. He introduced himself as the father of the boy to whom she had sold a new Chevrolet Avalanche for $15 and demanded to know why she did it.

"‘Well,' she said, ‘this morning I got a phone call from my husband. I thought he was on a business trip, but learned from a friend he had run off to Hawaii with his mistress and really doesn't intend to come back. He claimed he was stranded and needed cash, and asked me to sell his new Chevrolet Avalanche and send him the money.

"So I did.'"


Share your dispatches from the gender wars, or just your favorite funnies. Send to diary@desertexposure.com.


You're only as old as you feel… Stick with this longish yarn from the Silver City Greek — it's worth it:

"‘$5.37!' That's what the kid behind the counter at Taco Bell said to me. I dug into my pocket and pulled out some lint and two dimes and something that used to be a Jolly Rancher. Having already handed the kid a five-spot, I started to head back out to the truck to grab some change when the kid with the Elmo hairdo said the hardest thing anyone has ever said to me. He said, ‘It's OK. I'll just give you the senior-citizen discount.'

"I turned to see who he was talking to and then heard the sound of change hitting the counter in front of me. ‘Only $4.68,' he said cheerfully.

"I stood there stupefied. I am 63, not even beginning to get old yet! A mere child! Senior citizen? I took my burrito and walked out to the truck wondering what was wrong with Elmo. Was he blind?

"As I sat in the truck, my blood began to boil. Old? Me? I'll show him, I thought. I opened the door and headed back inside. I strode to the counter, and there he was waiting with a smile. Before I could say a word, he held up something and jingled it in front of me, like I could be that easily distracted! What am I now? A toddler?

"‘Dude! Can't get too far without your car keys, eh?'

"I stared with utter disdain at the keys. I began to rationalize in my mind: Leaving keys behind hardly makes a man elderly! It could happen to anyone!

"I turned and headed back to the truck. I slipped the key into the ignition, but it wouldn't turn. What now? I checked my keys and tried another. Still nothing.

"That's when I noticed the purple beads hanging from my rear-view mirror. I had no purple beads hanging from my rear-view mirror. Then, a few other objects came into focus: The car seat in the back seat. Happy Meal toys spread all over the floorboard. A partially eaten doughnut on the dashboard.

"Faster than you can say ginkgo biloba, I flew out of the alien vehicle. Moments later I was speeding out of the parking lot, relieved to finally be leaving this nightmarish stop in my life.

"That is when I felt it, deep in the bowels of my stomach: hunger! My stomach growled and churned, and I reached to grab my burrito, only it was nowhere to be found.

"I swung the truck around, gathered my courage, and strode back into the restaurant one final time. There Elmo stood, draped in youth and black nail polish. All I could think was, ‘What is the world coming to?' All I could say was, ‘Did I leave my food and drink in here'? At this point I was ready to ask a Boy Scout to help me back to my vehicle, and then go straight home and apply for Social Security benefits.

"Elmo had no clue. I walked back out to the truck, and suddenly a young lad came up and tugged on my jeans to get my attention. He was holding up a drink and a bag. His mother explained, ‘I think you left this in my truck by mistake.' I took the food and drink from the little boy and sheepishly apologized.

"She offered these kind words: ‘It's OK. My grandfather does stuff like this all the time.'

"All of this is to explain how I got a ticket doing 85 in a 40-mph zone. Yes, I was racing some punk kid in a Toyota Prius. And no, I told the officer, I'm not too old to be driving this fast.

"As I walked in the front door, my wife met me halfway down the hall. I handed her a bag of cold food and a $300 speeding ticket. I promptly sat in my rocking chair and covered up my legs with a blankey. The good news was that I had successfully found my way home."



Kids say the darnedest things… Skip this one from Pop if you're easily offended. But you'll be sorry:

"A teacher was using Life Saver candy to teach colors to her young class. The students began to identify the flavors by their color:

"Red = Cherry

"Yellow = Lemon

"Green = Lime

"Orange = Orange.

"Finally, the teacher gave them all a Honey Life Saver. None of the children could identify the taste. The teacher said, ‘I will give you all a clue. It's what your mother may sometimes call your father.'

"One little girl looked up in horror, spat her Life Saver out and yelled, ‘Spit them out! They're ass-holes!'"





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