by Wayne Melton
Our venerable "You're Very Richmond If ..." issue: Perhaps one reader hit the nail on the head in 1994, with his honorable-mention entry: "Even after living here for 20 years you don't understand most of the entries to this contest."
Though some say the contest that made Richmond an adjective was behind the times in 1985, the year it started (a criticism that is itself very Richmond, mind you), it was certainly tired a decade and a half later when readers began sending in entries like, "… You know this contest has run its course."
Even so, there were chuckles and some outright laughs during those 16 years. Here are 10 that were considered good enough (at the time, remember) to get the nod for inclusion, and some even brought their creators the glory of the grand-prize award. The older answers might elicit a quizzical look these days. But then again, if you're very Richmond you'll have no problem figuring them out.
When the contest started in 1985, the mood was droll: "At a party, you drink Virginia Gentleman bourbon and ask unfamiliar guests who their mothers were before they got married."
Sometimes the entrants were very insider-y: "You give your daughter two last names for her first name, then end up calling her something like Mun Bun." -- 1986
Sometimes the implication was elusive: "You love today because tomorrow you know it will be the past." -- 1997
They could poke gentle fun: "You see Gov. Baliles on TV and think it's Dick Strauss." -- 1988. And, "The size of your preschooler's hair bow is four times the circumference of her head." -- 1996
They could be cruel: "You think the 'Go-Fish!' idea was original." -- 2001
They could be tricky: "You know where the 1900 block of Monument Avenue is." -- 2001 (There is no such block.)
At least one was even a little sassy: "You think that coming out is something you do in a ball gown at the country club rather than something you do in a ball gown at Fieldens." -- 1994
Occasionally they were just perfect, like the 1995 take on the dot-com boom: "Your 'Information Superhighway' is the Junior League phone tree." The 1999 response to the millennium bug: "You are not worried about the Y2K problem because in Richmond it is always 1900."
And the grand-prize winner for our final contest in 2001: "You send in a 'You Are Very Richmond If ...' entry next year."