Scientifico Del Atomico

For the very first time in the seemingly unrelated histories of science and top-notch tabloid reporting, the Portland Mercury hereby invites YOU to enter my SHOW YOUR ABNORMALITIES & DEFORMITIES CONTEST!

Were you born with webbed feet? Do you have see-through ears? What about a string of teats, or a mole on your person that resembles the DNA strand of a bush hyena? Extra fingers? Smiley-face kneecaps?

If you're lucky enough to have an entertaining physical abnormality or deformity you'd like to share, quit showing people on the MAX train and take a picture (it lasts longer) of your malformation, and send it to me along with a 100-words-or-less essay describing it. Make it fun. I bore easily.

You may scratch your two heads and ask, "Why should I?" I will answer simply; everybody likes to look at funny physical irregularities. To set the tone, I will out my own deformity. I've got an enlarged salivary gland under my tongue that shoots like a squirt gun!

Winners will be determined by a reader survey. First prize is a pair of safety goggles and $25. Second prize is a science grab-bag that will help you experiment at home with whatever goo you choose. And, if nothing else, your former fountainhead of tears (abnormality or deformity) will get the exposure it deserves for the delight of all to see. Top ten entrants will be invited to an ABNORMALITIES AND DEFORMITIES SUMMER POTLUCK (date TBA).

Please, keep it natural. No scars, implants, or self-mutilation entries will be considered. Do that crap on your own time. If you've accidentally pierced your tongue with a Thunderbird bottle, or tattooed the Portland Mercury logo on your forehead (thanks by the way!), you're out of luck. Call the Guinness Book of World Records and ask for the "I Desperately Need Attention" department.

Send photos and essays to:

c/o, Portland Mercury
1524 NW 23rd Ave, Suite 2
Portland, OR 97210.

In no event should you bring your deformities into the Mercury office, or send the actual abnormality.

Fortunately for you, Mercury employees (including Julianne Shepherd's award-winning missing knuckle) and Michael Jackson are not eligible. Strangely, most all of the Mercury staff members possess odd physical abnormalities. Join us, won't you? One of us. One of us. One of us

Deadline for entries is Monday, April 23! So enter today, you misshapen FREAK!