where the writers are
The Ugliest Thing in the World

San Francisco: I found myself in between appointments at 16th and Mission with fifteen minutes to kill and $5 burning a hole in my pocket. Literally. There was a decision to be made: a coffee at Starbucks or a cruise through the Dollar Store.


The choice was clear. Anyone who’s ever been to my house might correctly guess the equation. Me + 15 minutes + Dollar Store = redecorated living room.  Wandering the aisles, I admired the merchandise: fruit-shaped refrigerator magnets, a compartmentalized plastic container for storing leftovers, bride-and-groom cake toppers shaped like little ducks. Needing none of these things, I carefully placed each one in my basket. 

And then I saw something that stopped me dead in my tracks. Made of some kind of ceramic substance, with salt-shaker holes in the top though too big to be a salt-shaker really, and sporting a jolly face, green spots, and orange hands and feet, it looked sort of like a frog and sort of like a snake—this was a treasure beyond compare. “Why,” I said to myself, “that has to be the ugliest thing I’ve ever seen.” Into the basket it went. I named him Reggie.

A Challenge to My Readers

Send me a picture of something uglier than Reggie by the Fourth of July. I’m not talking about ugliness like racism, war, hunger, gaping wounds, or the aftermath of earthquakes or tornadoes. I mean a thing: an object that is less pleasing to the aesthetic eye than my little pal here.

We’ll employ a panel of glamorous celebrity judges. Neatness counts. All decisions are final. The winner gets a Reggie. Or a wedgie.