Yes, you read that correctly. Of the 57 entries submitted to the inaugural Universe/TOMS contest, not a single one was completely correct. I feel partially responsible for this! Probably it was too hard!
Before I announce the compromise, let’s reveal what the damn things were. The first object, as many people surmised, was indeed a feather:
The second, however, was trickier, and nobody got it quite right. It was, of course (don’t slap your foreheads too hard), a piece of felt. Cheap, regular craft felt:
So what do we do? The decent thing to do is give the prize to whomever came the closest — after much deliberation, I’ve decided that person is “Perry,” who guessed a) feather, b) acrylic yarn. This is the closest: I’ve actually looked at some acrylic yarn under my microscope and decided that it shares many of the same properties as synthetic felt. This is the only person who proposed both a feather and a synthetic craft material. Another really close guess came from “Tony Herhold,” who proposed feather and scarf. What kind of scarf? It was close!
One particularly interesting thing about your guesses is that many of you simply named household objects which resembled the items as they were. For example, in the case of the felt, there were many votes for “dish scrubber,” as though a dish scrubber still completely resembles a dish scrubber when it has been magnified 20 times. As though dish scrubbers were some kind of domestic fractal! I thought this was lovely and very poetic on your behalves, voters.
In any case, “Perry,” you are the winner! Please contact me ASAP with your mailing address, shoe size, and choice of TOM! Lucky you!