The Rest of the Laureates

October 17, 1994|By RICK HOROWITZ

From Oslo and from Stockholm, the rest of the Nobel Prizes. . . .

The Nobel Prize in Dentistry: Awarded to Canadian husband-and-wife team Oscar T. and Glenda B. Cuspid, for pioneering work in the development of mint-flavored dental floss. The result of decades of laboratory tests, mint-flavored floss supplanted traditional methods of plaque and particle removal -- toothpicks, matchbook covers and playing cards -- and opened the door to an expanding array of consumer options now on the drawing board, including lemon-, cedar- and cappuccino-flavored flosses.

The Nobel Prize in Cutlery: Awarded to metallurgist Edward R. ''Bill'' Kachinsky of Slice'n'Dice, Tennessee, for experiments in the 1960s and 1970s proving conclusively that late-night television was an effective medium for the transmission and sale of Ginsu knives. Tragically, four to six weeks after completing his prize-winning work, Mr. Kachinsky bled to death by stepping on a Pocket Fisherman.

The Nobel Prize in Velocity: Awarded to German urban planners Johann and Stahn Autobahn, for studies revealing the effect of car-pool lanes on industrial output and commuter satisfaction. Among the unexpected findings: immediate surges of 11 percent in radar detectors, 24 percent in marriage proposals and 79 percent in inflatable dummies.

The Nobel Prize in Futility: Awarded to the entire programming team at CBS, Inc., for scheduling their new high-quality, hour-long hospital drama, ''Chicago Hope,'' directly opposite NBC's new high-quality, hour-long hospital drama, ''ER'' -- and when faced with ratings disaster, deciding to ''save'' the show by moving it opposite ''Seinfeld.''

The Nobel Prize in Botany: Awarded to Australian biblical scholar and interior decorator Gwendolyn Outbacke, for research establishing a genetic link between the ''Tree of Life'' and the ''Chia Pet.'' Miss Outbacke continues her innovative studies and is the author, most recently, of ''Burning Bush: Topiary Gone Wrong?''

The Nobel Prize in Gluttony: Awarded to Roger Whipsaw of Milwaukee and Timothy Giveback and Sam O. Lockout of Chicago, for experiments in animal deprivation leading to the creation of the ''salary cap'' concept in major-league sports. ''The cap,'' noted the Nobel committee, is the ''most extensive legal mechanism ever designed to protect major-league franchise owners from the greed and shortsightedness of major-league franchise owners.''

The Nobel Prize in Monotony: Awarded to American psycho-linguists Martin Smythe-Jones and Cyril Jones-Smythe, for research in human pain thresholds. Messrs. Smythe-Jones and Jones-Smythe, founders of the New York Institute for Constant Entreaty, developed and refined the public-broadcasting fund-raising drive, a highly effective method of separating loyal viewers and listeners from their money just before they heave boots through their speakers.

The Nobel Prize in Cacophony: Awarded to Indian musicologist Hsing Xing Singh, for groundbreaking work in the development of the drum machine. Mr. Singh's efforts, declared the Nobel committee, ''shattered the age-old link between professional percussion and musical talent.'' The committee had particular praise for Mr. Singh's contributions to the synthetic rumba, the ersatz polka and the crypto-cha-cha-cha.

The Nobel Prize in Diplomacy: Awarded to Hortense Schmee of Just Desserts, New Mexico, for new approaches to family-dispute resolution. Ms. Schmee was the creator of the ''Billy cuts and Millie chooses'' method of portion allocation, whose growing acceptance worldwide has prevented millions of temper tantrums and countless ruined dinners.

And finally:

The Nobel Prize in Accuracy: Awarded to Washington, D.C., postal worker Theodore P. de Clerc, for sorting 175,263 consecutive first-class letters without a single mistake. That none of these letters was ever delivered, the Nobel committee agreed, was ''unfortunate, but not disqualifying.''

8, Rick Horowitz is a syndicated columnist.

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