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For Jack, McCartney and Neologistic Glory

by Bob Levey

Jack Bailer is not a musician (though his son is). He's not particularly enamored of the Beatles (he prefers folk singer Tom Paxton). And Jack didn't follow the path of proven success by submitting only one entry (he submitted 11).

So how in the world did Jack win our November neologism contest? The way dozens of others have – by sitting back and hoping that lightning will strike. In his case, it struck louder and longer than it struck anyone else, at least in my estimation.

Jack was among 3,000 or so think-up-a-word specialists who took aim at the November renewal of our monthly neologistic challenge. The challenge was:

You're a baby boomer who has adored the Beatles since you were a teenager. You think of the Lads from Liverpool as being yours. But your teenage child says to you one day, "Hey, Dad, I heard this great new singer. His name is Paul McCartney. I think he used to sing with some group once." The emotion you feel is called...

Jack's winning entry:


Just in case you can't tell, that's a nice "join" of "melancholy" with Mr. McCartney's first name. As the mop-topped foursome might express it, yeah, yeah, yeah.

Our winner spent 33 years on the staff of Bell Atlantic before it got fancified into Verizon. He worked in customer service and billing and collections.

Jack was born in Washington and raised in Suitland. He graduated from Suitland High School 45 years ago this spring. After graduating from George Washington University, he spent nearly five years as an officer in the U.S. Navy before joining Ma Bell.

He and his wife, Bev, "still live in our first house," in Camp Springs, Jack said. Their daughter, Amy, works for a high-tech company in Northern Virginia. Their son, Matt, lives in California, where he's trying to crack the music world. According to Jack, neither Amy nor Matt ever embarrassed him by "discovering" the Beatles.

Jack retired in 1994, but he sounds pretty busy for a man in that category.

He works as a consultant from time to time. He serves as president of one statewide volunteer organization and as president of a nonprofit children's foundation. He spent 27 years on the board of Prince George's Community College before he was finally term-limited into retirement in 1997.

As the Beatles might say, he worked eight days a week and could never quite let it be.

Jack says he'll enter this contest again, whenever lightning reappears. I predict it will, often. Chap's got the right stuff. Great work by a worthy wordsmith.

Almosts and Nearlies for November were:

Fabsolescence: Zora Margolis.

Beatlemonia: Steve Mohyla Jr. first, then 11 more just like his.

Nos-Paul-Gia: Patty Hovde, of Rocky Ridge, Md., and Ilona Altman, of Arlington.

Ringo Mortis: Lynne Weil.

deFabrillation: Sally Stokes, of Silver Spring.

Lennoncoly: Debbie Chewning.

Onomie: Patrick O'Leary.

Beatlementia: Another popular choice. Sharon Durham, of Laurel, was first. Forty-three others were hot on her heels.

Beatlepania: Marybeth Shea, of College Park, and Dan Entwisle.

Yesteria: Linda Webb.

Humiliyeahyeahyeahtion: Former champ Tom Witte, of Gaithersburg.

Sixty-fourlornness: Jan Verrey.

Beatle Fatigue: Linda Wetherby.

Ringovulsion: Bruce Cornwell.

Jude Awakening: Clarence M. Johnson, of Beltsville.

Yesterdaze: Thirty-one of you chose this. Jim Charron was first.

Nowheremantiquatedness: Wade Mayonado, of Leonardtown.

Appaulled: William Olivari was the first of a dozen on this one. Another dozen submitted similar forms.

Boomerangst: Jan Miller.

Discomfabulated: Jami Bryan.

Beatlewania: Deb Schaub.

Fabforlorn: Don Stewart.

Nowhere, Man: Razel Solow, of Charlottesville.

Apple-plectic: Razel Solow again, followed by eight others.

And Yellasubmarined: Mary Topar.

Truly fab, gang. Can you keep up the pace in December? I know you can. Here's the challenge for the 12th month:

You walk into a fast-food restaurant and order a triple-decker hamburger with double cheese, barbecue sauce and extra pickles. Then you order a diet soft drink because you don't want to gain weight. A person who does this is called a... (Click to see winning entries)

First prize is as constant as the bulge around so many waists: a free lunch, at a restaurant of the winner's choice, in or sensibly near Washington. Levey promises not to sneer if you order diet Coke to wash down your chocolate cake.

Contest rules: You may enter as often as you like, on one piece of paper or several. Joint entries are welcome. So are entries submitted by fax (202-334-5150) or e-mail ( Entries must bear day and evening phone numbers, including area code(s). All entries become my property. Entries will not be accepted by phone or returned. In case of duplicate winning entries, I'll choose the one I receive first.

Please mail entries to Bob Levey, The Washington Post, Washington, D.C. 20071. Entries for the December contest must be received by Dec. 31.

© 2001 Bob Levey (
This article is reproduced with the kind permission of the author.

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