Annals of ambiguity: more 10PerCent

Another gag birthday card from the 10PerCent firm (four others were posted here). Like so many such cards, this one comments bitterly on the recipient’s aging: one year older!

There’s an ambiguity here that was probably not intended: your youth ‘your young age’ (intended reading) or ‘your boy’ (the reading I was inclined to, so I objected that I wasn’t going to give him up without a fight).

The ultimate reference is pop cultural. From Wikipedia:

“SURRENDER DOROTHY” is a famous special effect used in the movie The Wizard of Oz, which later attained local fame as a graffito in the Washington, D.C metropolitan area.

The first appearance of the phrase [without a comma between the two words, though it’s to be understood as addressed to Dorothy, not about her] is in the famous 1939 version of The Wizard of Oz (it is not in the novel or any previous adaptations). In the scene, Dorothy Gale (Judy Garland) has reached the Emerald City with her companions, The Scarecrow (Ray Bolger), The Tin Woodsman (Jack Haley), and The Cowardly Lion (Bert Lahr), whereupon they are treated to the hospitality and technological comforts of the fantastic city. As they leave the “Wash & Brush Up Co.”, The Wicked Witch of the West (Margaret Hamilton) appears in the sky riding her broomstick, skywriting the words “SURRENDER DOROTHY”. The terrified townspeople of the Emerald City – and the four intrepid adventurers – respond by rushing to the chamber where the Wizard of Oz himself (Frank Morgan) resides, only to be turned away by a Majordomo (also played by Frank Morgan) based loosely on the Soldier with the Green Whiskers.

… The famous graffito in the D.C. metropolitan area first appeared on the outer loop of I-495, the “Capital Beltway”, on a railroad bridge near the Washington, D.C temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Kensington, Maryland, beginning in late 1973. The graffito was put up by an anonymous artist and was removed by the Maryland State Police; however, it has been periodically repainted in various forms by equally unknown persons since the initial police removal. The imposing architectural design of the Temple apparently reminded the perpetrators of the Emerald City.

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