Great Scott! I like attention as much as anybody but I do wish that one of the roughly 170 pieces I wrote for the Washington Post between 2006 and 2012 had generated a response like this photo did when it ran on the Post site yesterday. Here I am in uniform (though the cargo shots are not exactly regulation, as has been observed) as Neptune, Roman god of the sea, one-eighth of a clue in the 2013 Post Hunt.
"Earth" was the answer to the riddle the eight of us embodied. The 12,000-plus (says the Post) participants who showed up were instructed, via a sandwich-board sign, to FIND WHAT'S MISSING. A lovely girl from the Post's investigations team named Amy was dressed at the sun, in bright yellow shorts and a top, along with clown-sized yellow sunglasses, and seated in a plastic chair near the western boundary of Pershing Park. One at a time, the rest of us walked -- or stumbled over our diving flippers -- into the crowd to do an "orbit" around her.
Mercury - A fellow dressed as a thermometer, with a giant red sphere suspended via lots of tape over his crotch. I kept thinking of the codpieces worn by Alex and his droogs in A Clockwork Orange.
Venus - My dear pal Liz, wrapped in a sheet, arms tucked inside her T-shirt to approximate the Venus de Milo. Which Liz, with her sense of serene entitlement, already does anyway. Which means we probably didn't need to cover her face with toxic white paint to sell the illusion, but I'm glad I got to do that nonetheless.
Mars - Roman god of war, as indicated by his plastic helmet, chest-plate and sword.
Jupiter - My buddy Derek, wearing a pink yarmulke and brown trousers, and exclaiming "Oy vey!" with a decidedly un-semitic fervor each time he missed a (pretend) golf shot with his (real) putter. A Jew-putter, do you see?
Look, you: The guys who wrote this puzzle, Dave Barry, Tom Schroder and Gene Weingarten, have at least three Pulizers among them. What do you want me to say? Derek also MacGuyvered together the box-top and tree-branch trident I carry in the photo after the prop promised by Post Hunt organizers failed to materialize.
Saturn - My friend Alexis, who blew both hips out hula-hooping around the square all afternoon to depict the rings of Saturn. She'll never walk again. The Washington Post Company thanks her for her efforts and reminds her she is an independent contractor.
Uranus - Annie Mueller, long-suffering housemate of my friend Rachel, who roped all of us into this, wearing a gigantic, strap-on butt with backpack straps.
Neptune - Hi! My Getty image is now available in a variety of sizes, formats and licensing options.
Prices start at Really?! and go as high as You Must Be Fucking Kidding Me. I am entitled to a royalty of 0.00% of all sales, so please give generously. My eyes are up here, by the way. Jerk.