It’s time for another Urban Semiotic Contest!
Our Gordon Davidescu was lucky enough to get his hands on the coveted Gillette Fusion Power Razor as he told us yesterday:

At my supermarket they have a promotional item of the week. If they don’t mention it to you at the checkout counter and you point out that fact they have to give it to you for free. This week the promotional item was the Gillette Fusion Power. Since they didn’t mention it to me I got one for free. Since I can’t use it I’d like you to have it. At the very least you get an extra blade and coupon for $2 off the blades. How fun!


Gordon and I decided to provide even more fun here in this Share a Close Shave Contest where you, YES YOU, can be the proud owner of a Gordon Davidescu autographed Gillette Fusion Power Razor!

 Gillette Fusion Power Razor

The Contest

Write a comment to this post to officially enter the contest. Tell us
about a “close shave.” You will define what “close shave” means in your
entry. You will choose to be funny or stoic or sad or tragic or
something else. Your entry will be as long or as short as you wish. You
will enter as many times as you wish.

The Rules

1. The contest commences immediately and will end at 5:00pm Eastern time on Monday, February 6, 2006.

2. Gordon Davidescu will choose the winner and provide a 300 word critique of why he chose the winning entry.

3. Mr. Davidescu’s vote is final and cannot be challenged here, in email, or in an international court of law.

4. We reserve the right to cut you like a kosher cow if we discover you have stolen your entry
from someone else.

5. Preference in winning will be provided to “Urban
Semiotic Regulars” in order to avoid outside “Ringers” who might pay to
employ a professional “hit-man”
for writing assistance.

6. An “Urban Semiotic Regular” is defined as a person, pet, or thing
that has posted at least one comment here over the past three weeks.

7.
We do not discriminate based on gender or genus. All are welcome to
enter the contest. The Gillette Fusion Power Razor works equally well on beards, legs and that wispy piece of fur between your claws that can’t be tamed.

8. Preference in winning will be provided to bipedals.

9. International entries are welcome. We ship anywhere! Mr. David W. Boles, MFA will pay any and all shipping costs Mr. Davidescu doesn’t feel like providing.

10. All entries must be original to this contest and previously unpublished in the known universe.

GOOD LUCK!

68 Comments

  1. Close shave: One Saturday morning on the way to the library, library card in hand. I got the walk signal at the crosswalk and started across.
    Half way, I noticed a black Dodge Ram truck turning left, as it came at me I thought he would see me and stop. When I realized he wasn’t stopping I knew I had to move faster or get slotted in the road.
    I almost made it out of the way but he clipped my trailing left hand and spun me to the ground. My glasses and library card flew across the street. Luckily he stopped otherwise he would’ve continued right over me.
    As I was getting up; “What I’m effing invisible?” Apparently I w s because he told me he never saw me. My hand hurt and my library card sustained a ding in it (which incidently matches a small protruburence on the headlight assembly of a Dodge Ram).
    Being the brave Hector that I am I just went on my way. The wife made me got to the emergency room where they discovered a chipped bone in my hand. I was in a cast for a few weeks and on light duty at work for six weeks.
    A close shave indeed, hadn’t I not been paying attention I could’ve been hit square on and possibly injured a lot worse.
    Mik
    (note new blog address)

  2. Mik!
    I love your story, thank you! If you are a barnyard animal or a professional shill, we welcome you as well!
    :mrgreen:
    Seriously… your story is pretty scary! I am happy to know you are okay and you have a smart wife who made you go get checked out.
    Here in NY and NJ pedestrians are invisible as humans and we become inanimate neon targets for many drivers as they see how close they can get to us to scare us without always hitting us.
    I’ve had drivers SPEED UP as I crossed the street just to see if they could time their almost “not hitting me” with the light changing to green. I hate being a walking form of entertainment for bored and psychotic drivers.
    You are currently in First Place! Now we know we will have a winner, thanks to you so Thank you!

  3. Mik!
    I love your story, thank you! If you are a barnyard animal or a professional shill, we welcome you as well!
    :mrgreen:
    Seriously… your story is pretty scary! I am happy to know you are okay and you have a smart wife who made you go get checked out.
    Here in NY and NJ pedestrians are invisible as humans and we become inanimate neon targets for many drivers as they see how close they can get to us to scare us without always hitting us.
    I’ve had drivers SPEED UP as I crossed the street just to see if they could time their almost “not hitting me” with the light changing to green. I hate being a walking form of entertainment for bored and psychotic drivers.
    You are currently in First Place! Now we know we will have a winner, thanks to you so Thank you!

  4. You’re welcome
    Always amazes me that crosswalks are put right on intersections and that people can park right there too, meaning sometimes you have to step out to see if anything is coming.
    But I’ve been on a crosswalk in France where drivers just sped through without any thought of stopping.
    At least I am now used to traffic coming from the opposite than I’m used to.
    Mik

  5. You’re welcome
    Always amazes me that crosswalks are put right on intersections and that people can park right there too, meaning sometimes you have to step out to see if anything is coming.
    But I’ve been on a crosswalk in France where drivers just sped through without any thought of stopping.
    At least I am now used to traffic coming from the opposite than I’m used to.
    Mik

  6. Mik —
    Yes, you make an excellent point about crosswalks. It is hard to see around those gigantic SUVs, too.
    You are smart to check the opposite direction — even on a One-Way street — there’s always something coming from the other direction… a scooter, a bicycle, a skateboarder, a motorcycle… looking to run you down.

  7. I haven’t had any close shaves in a while. It must be my twin-blade Sensors. One of these days, I’ll have to upgrade to the 5-blade model.
    To add to the pedestrian stories:
    In Chicago they have traffic monitors who stand in the middle of busy intersections with a ticket book in one hand and a whistle in the other. They keep the traffic moving — both pedestrian and vehicular.
    It’s a scary job, but they do a great job of keeping cars from trying to turn right on red into a pack of people in the crosswalk.
    The monitors also have no fear. I’ve seen a monitor stand with her back to oncoming traffic and do hand signals to the cars while watching something up the road that was more interesting than the cars whizzing at her back. They also yell at cars to stop, move, etc. It’s fascinating to watch.
    Speaking about checking both ways before crossing and a close shave, there was a recent story about a kid in East Chicago, Indiana who stopped in between two sets of train tracks to allow one train to pass. Another train on the other track came the opposite way and knocked him over. He couldn’t hear the train because of the noise from the first passing train. The kid survived the incident with a minor injury.

  8. Chris —
    I appreciate your almost-entry in our contest and if Mik somehow falls out of the contest we’ll give you the runner-up trophy.
    😀
    We have those crossing guards here in Jersey City and they’re mainly there to help the kids cross the streets on the way to school and back home again. One walked us across the street last week. She said “C’mon!” and waved at us to follow her. We didn’t want to because we didn’t have the light and cars were streaming by but she said, “They’ll stop.”
    They did!
    She parted the waves of cars just by stepping into the street. She didn’t look at the drivers. She didn’t get any honking. She just strolled us across six lanes of roads — the notorious “Five Corners” intersection — and told us to have a fine day when we arrived at the other side. It was strange how the second we’d pass a lane of cars they’d take off so she’d stop one steam only to have another stream directly behind us start flowing again – when we were in the middle of the intersection cars were streaming on both sides of us. It was a little creepy!
    I am so glad the trains did not kill that kid! The fact that it is a known deadly crossing should get some action to avoid that kind of temptation of death again!

    Chris, I am going to email you on the email address you use for this blog — if that isn’t a good address, shoot me a note through the Contact form here so I can know how to best reach you via email.

  9. Chris —
    I appreciate your almost-entry in our contest and if Mik somehow falls out of the contest we’ll give you the runner-up trophy.
    😀
    We have those crossing guards here in Jersey City and they’re mainly there to help the kids cross the streets on the way to school and back home again. One walked us across the street last week. She said “C’mon!” and waved at us to follow her. We didn’t want to because we didn’t have the light and cars were streaming by but she said, “They’ll stop.”
    They did!
    She parted the waves of cars just by stepping into the street. She didn’t look at the drivers. She didn’t get any honking. She just strolled us across six lanes of roads — the notorious “Five Corners” intersection — and told us to have a fine day when we arrived at the other side. It was strange how the second we’d pass a lane of cars they’d take off so she’d stop one steam only to have another stream directly behind us start flowing again – when we were in the middle of the intersection cars were streaming on both sides of us. It was a little creepy!
    I am so glad the trains did not kill that kid! The fact that it is a known deadly crossing should get some action to avoid that kind of temptation of death again!

    Chris, I am going to email you on the email address you use for this blog — if that isn’t a good address, shoot me a note through the Contact form here so I can know how to best reach you via email.

  10. Gordon!
    WE WILL NOT EXTEND THE CONTEST!
    :mrgreen:
    These contests have a short shelf life because if you post every day as I do, the contest gets pushed farther and father down the page and, as you know in the blogworld, position is everything! People rarely read more than the first few posts in a blog so if we, say, ran the contest for a week, it would be scrolled off the page into blog oblivion.
    You usually get the most action on the first day of the contest — or you get an eBay-like response where people will post their entry at 4:59pm to beat the contest deadline. We’ll see if that happens.
    Selling on eBay, I have learned, means 3 day auctions work better than 7 day auctions. You get the biggest money from the fanatics and they are on eBay all day and they track their interests. Having a 7 day auction instead of a 3 day auction only delays your pleasure center instead of enhancing it.

  11. In the UK if one of those crossing guards (used to be called lollipop ladies as they were mainly retired females and the big sign they held was like a huge lollipop) steps into traffic (they can only step into a gap they cannot step out to halt the traffic flow), then cars have to stop by law. Same as if you are on a crossing.
    It is illegal to drive across a pedestrian crossing if someone is standing on it. I think some States here have that law but very few seem to enforce it.
    We used to sell a lot on eBay and the last minute action always raised the final price of the item. A lot of people snipe at the very last moment either manually or by using software to do it for them.
    Sellers love snipers, other bidders hate them.
    Mik

  12. Hiya Mik!
    Yes, those crossing guards have a lot of authority and power but sometimes people in mobile bombs — cars — don’t care. They want to get where they’re going as fast as they can.
    In NY pedestrians always have the right-of-way even if they are jaywalking — but that doesn’t mean the cars and bikes and scooters stop for them! I’ve seen lots of angry pedestrians play the role of traffic cop in the middle of the street and it always ends in a bad way.
    eBay is super for sellers. I used to sell there a lot but I don’t think I ever purchased anything. Yes, I loved the snipers!
    😀

  13. How would you feel if someone snatches a gift that you won? Just because you used his name to enter a contest? Does it give him a right to claim the gift as his own??? Sounds confusing – right? Well, I’d clarify a bit more.
    I entered in a slogan writing contest back home when I was in my first year of college. The contest was organized by Denim aftershave and the contestants had to write a slogan for the aftershave within 10 words. Another restriction was the participants had to be male. I remember, the first prize was a very attractive looking electric shaver. I decided to join the contest, but I had to use one of my male friend’s name as mine to enter the contest. After several writing, rewriting and fine-tuning I was happy with the outcome and sent the entry. After almost 3 months my friend received a package from Denim with a very slick looking electric shaver in it and also with a letter acknowledging the fact that he got the first place. Well, everyone in my friend’s circle was happy – I was happy too. It was an excellent boost for a future-copywriter (yes, that’s me – copywriting is my hobby!!!). Suddenly my friend declared he was going to keep the electric shaver as it was for men and it came in his name!!! I was flabbergasted – what a logic! I would have given it to him if he requested me but claiming a winning gift of someone else’ as a birth right? That too without any contribution? ( He let me use his name – yes, I don’t know if you can call it a contribution or not!!!) – I don’t know – it irked me. All my other friends were trying to make him understand but he was adamant and he kept it.
    The next part of the story is pretty short. All I had to do was to bribe his roommate (I paid for his meal for next 7 days….!!!) and lend my hair removing cream to him (by the way, my friend had a moustache which he was very fond of and used to groom it well!). Interestingly, my friend’s roommate became a bit over enthusiastic after listening my sad (!) story and used the cream in his eyebrow along with his moustache too – when my friend was sleeping at night. Both of us caught the train that night to go back home and didn’t come back to the campus for next 10 days. A close shave??? Indeed!!! Literally!!!

  14. I love your story, Katha, and I thank you for your entry in our fine contest!
    Gordon may have to go back to the hypermarket for more free Gillette Fusion Power razors!
    Your story fits right into this thread and the new “Innately Mean” thread, too! What an awful “friend” that person turned out to be to you. Your justice was rough, but appropriate, and I’m sure he’ll think twice next time before he tries to appropriate something that does not belong to him!

  15. Yes, while looking back I also feel that my justice was a bit rough….. 😀
    But I was very young (and mischievous! ;-)) at that time and a bit over enthusiastic too, moreover my point was the letter acknowledging the winner of the contest was already his – it was in his name!!!

  16. Yes, my other friends tried hard explaining that the shaver belonged to me but somehow it became some kind of a power struggle…..probably all of us were 18/19 year old at that time and were very stubborn with a ”I am right!” attitude!
    My winning line was –
    ”confidently cool – a Denim Charishma!”

  17. I’m getting a kick out reading all this. I work in the plant that packages all these razors for gillette. Up until the last year or so, we were still packaging the single edge blade and here we are now with 5 blades and trimmer. The M3Power and the new Fusion shaving systems are by far the best for the money. I don’t just pack them, I use them. Maybe we should start a club.

  18. Our contest is now closed!
    We thank you for entering and you are always welcome to add your “close shave” story here but you will not be able to win our grand prize.
    Thank you for playing!
    Gordon Davidescu will return here soon to announce the winning entry and to tell you why he picked that entry as the winner in a critique of 300 words or more.

  19. A Close Shave, if you follow the English Wikipedia, is an Australian barbershop quartet. It is notable that neither of the excellent entries for the contest made use of this definition of ‘Close Shave’, though the two entries made use of the more traditional definitions of ‘close shave’ – the literal definition and the more figurative sense.
    Making the decision between the two entries was certainly a difficult one. Both stories involved some sort of a close shave, and both were rather graphic in their description of this close shave.
    On the one hand, there was the touching story of Hector, who was nearly run over while trying to go to the library, legally crossing the street. The law was certainly on his side.
    On the other hand, there was the rather amusing Kill Bill sort of revenge enacted by Katha, who was wronged in the theft of a prize that was rightfully hers. It goes without saying that there must have been some sort of unspoken agreement between herself and her friend that if she won, the electric razor would rightfully go to her. The question that keeps going through my mind is if her reaction was justifiable given what happened, or if there might have been a more appropriate form of retaliation. I am well cognizant of the age factor that must come into consideration to this.
    In the end I decided to go with a factor I will refer to as the moving factor, or the sympathy factor. Both stories moved me to a certain extent but I felt a great deal of sympathy for Hector’s story and what happened to him. I could almost imagine it happening to me, it seemed so real. That being said, I would like to congratulate Hector on his award winning entry. I can send you the Gillette Fusion Power though now that I examine your blog it appears that you are also (coincidentally) in Seattle. Perhaps we can arrange to meet somewhere for coffee and your new razor. Let me know if you’d like the autograph on the razor handle, the blister pak it comes in, or absolutely nowhere (seeing as my autograph isn’t worth the ink that is used to make it!)
    On a side note, if you search for ‘close shave’ one of the paid google advertisements that comes up is from the Gilette Fusion. For some reason I find this to be an amusing coincidence.

  20. Beautifully done, Gordon!
    Your analysis is quite fine and fair and big congrats to Mik, our winner!
    I cannot help, however, feeling a bit heartbroken for Katha. This is the second shaving implement she has reached out for to only have it snatched from her grasp at the last instant!
    😥
    Perhaps I should buy her one under the table and send it to her?
    Would that be a violation of our contest rules?
    :mrgreen:

  21. I feel tempted to do the same! It was such an excellent entry – yet I couldn’t help but be more inclined towards the ‘close shave by fate’ rather than the ‘close shave by design’ as it were.
    I would have been really torn if Hector had ended the story by telling us that he had seen the car later and let the air out if its tires. 🙂

  22. Vis-a-vis the regulars – I think I would have taken that more into consideration had there been more entries. At it was there would have been just one entry depending on how lenient you were with the rules – and seeing Hector’s blog it’s clear that he wrote his own material.
    As to why we keep calling him Hector, I quote him above:
    Being the brave Hector that I am I just went on my way.
    I have to assume that’s his name… am I wrong? I apologize if so. 🙂

  23. Gordon —
    I respect your decision-making process!
    Here’s what the “About” page says on Mik’s blog:
    Carolyn is American, Mik is English, living in Seattle USA. Just our inane mumblings, meanderings and observations on life, love and any other topic that takes our fancy.
    http://nonsensicalflounderings.com/blog/about/
    Merriam-Webster defines “Hector” thusly:
    Main Entry: 1hec·tor
    Function: noun
    Inflected Form(s): -s
    Etymology: after Hector, a Trojan warrior in Homer’s Iliad, from Latin, from Greek Hektomacrr
    : one that hectors : BULLY, BRAGGART

    I think Mik was making a literary allusion to Hector in his story.

  24. Hey Gordon!
    Your choice is perfect and justified! Now I know the attitude of an ”eye for an eye leaves the whole world blind!”
    What I wrote was exactly what I did, and gradually I realized that the justice shouldn’t be that rough…..
    As you said, the age factor was a significant one….but still then….it was a bit too harsh!!!

  25. Now, now, if I had anything to do with the refereeing the super bowl the hawks would have won for sure – I would have given them the two TDs that we in Seattle feel they earned. 😛

  26. Now, now, if I had anything to do with the refereeing the super bowl the hawks would have won for sure – I would have given them the two TDs that we in Seattle feel they earned. 😛

  27. Ah ha now I know why he was calling me Hector. Being a Brit I used the quaint English saying “A brave little Hector” what exactly it means or is refering too I dunno. Maybe some brave Hector from history or something.
    I live in Burien but work downtown on Lake Union or I can furnish an address. Maybe I’ll not shave until I get my new razor so I can see how good it really is.
    Mik, Hector, Bob, Limey I’ll answer to anything.

  28. Ah ha now I know why he was calling me Hector. Being a Brit I used the quaint English saying “A brave little Hector” what exactly it means or is refering too I dunno. Maybe some brave Hector from history or something.
    I live in Burien but work downtown on Lake Union or I can furnish an address. Maybe I’ll not shave until I get my new razor so I can see how good it really is.
    Mik, Hector, Bob, Limey I’ll answer to anything.

  29. Mik/Hector —
    We could just start calling your Achilles if that’s clearer!
    :mrgreen:
    I loved your Hector reference. Here is a bit of your personal history for those not in the know:
    Hector was the son of Priam and Hecuba. He was the Trojan’s greatest warrior. He married to Andromache and was the father of Astyanax. He killed Patroclus causing Achilles to reenter the battle, thus causing the death of Hector. Priam ransomed his son’s body from Achilles. When the Greeks sacked Troy, Andromache was given to Neoptolemus and Astyanax was thrown to his death from the city walls.
    You’re right not to shave for awhile! It makes the first shave even better! There’s also a special “Gillette Fusion Shave Gel” in an obnoxious orange can that looks fun — but is not included in our prize package.
    😀

  30. Mik/Hector —
    We could just start calling your Achilles if that’s clearer!
    :mrgreen:
    I loved your Hector reference. Here is a bit of your personal history for those not in the know:
    Hector was the son of Priam and Hecuba. He was the Trojan’s greatest warrior. He married to Andromache and was the father of Astyanax. He killed Patroclus causing Achilles to reenter the battle, thus causing the death of Hector. Priam ransomed his son’s body from Achilles. When the Greeks sacked Troy, Andromache was given to Neoptolemus and Astyanax was thrown to his death from the city walls.
    You’re right not to shave for awhile! It makes the first shave even better! There’s also a special “Gillette Fusion Shave Gel” in an obnoxious orange can that looks fun — but is not included in our prize package.
    😀

  31. Oh and when I said “I can furnish an address” I didn’t mean I’d turn up at Gordon’s house and carry in a new couch and entertainment centre, just in case he was wondering!
    Mik

  32. Oh and when I said “I can furnish an address” I didn’t mean I’d turn up at Gordon’s house and carry in a new couch and entertainment centre, just in case he was wondering!
    Mik