In mid-December, the Washington Post decided it would feature a special classifieds section on Inauguration Day in which readers could, for a fee, offer a special message to the new president. Buried within the announcement was this requirement: "All ads must be congratulatory in nature. The Washington Post reserves the right to reject any notice." However, bizarre and oddly stilted messages apparently made it through the screening process just fine.
In one ad, Callie (no last name) wrote, "Dear Malia and Sasha,-I need a babysitter....??" [Emphasis added] One Douglas F. Ryder oddly instructed, "I want to help allow people to create their own economy. I see results and would like to help others. My way of helping improve the economy. [sic]" Alex Barriger asked President Obama to keep an eye out for him on the big day: "I will be in the crowd in front of the Capitol today to witness this historic moment."
This person, who identified himself as a volunteer, continued: "You should have my resume on file...I figured this was the best way to get in touch with you." Considering the rather unusual poem that was recited by Elizabeth Alexander during the Inauguration, maybe President Obama should have gone with the one submitted by Ellen M. Overby.
Her Washington Post submission, with the original grammatical choices left intact, read: "The Mosaic of life. Stop! Look around! What do you see? There are people like you; and people like me; we did not design it! This Mosaic of Life! But we're part of the pattern, of success! and strife! We're red and white; we're brown and yellow; but each, an individual fellow!! Without the mixture; there would be no picture! No, Mosaic of life!!! Remember the trip to the moon? No color, no movement, just gloom! Preserve our Mosaic of Life---Earth!"
Someone identified only as "Barryobomber" asserted, "My dear President Obama- Congratulations on making the ultimate long shot. Merry Christmas!" Considering the January 20 printing date for the classifieds, It's unclear whether Barryobomber meant this as an early or a belated holiday wish.
Finally, Henry M. Terrell narrowly tailored his message: "Congratulations [sic] Your leadership is required to change the Psyche of the Personal Economic Unit to solve the problem created by Wall Street."