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To win this Foolish contest and claim your box of Fool gear and prizes, you simply have to finish a joke.

First, the brief background:

Some companies are emerging from the housing-bubble financial crisis much the worse for wear. That includes those directly responsible, like the homebuilders, Wall Streeters (e.g. Bank of America (NYSE:BAC) and Citigroup (NYSE:C)), enablers (e.g. Fannie Mae (NYSE:FNM)), and gamblers (e.g. AIG (NYSE:AIG)). It also includes collateral damage like GM and Chrysler.

While many companies were left in a balance sheet lurch, others emerged with fiscal reputations that were as good as or better than before: e.g. Berkshire Hathaway (NYSE:BRK-A), Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT), and Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL), among others. 

In honor of this contrast, we want you to finish this joke:

Warren Buffett, Bill Gates, and Steve Jobs walk into a mortgage broker’s office …
The best answer in the comments section below, in 250 or fewer words, will win a free box of Fool gear and prizes. The contest is open until 8 p.m. EST on Dec. 17. A complete list of the rules can be found here. Enter as often as you wish.

Make us laugh!

Anand Chokkavelu owns shares of Berkshire Hathaway, Citigroup, and Microsoft. You can  follow him on Twitter. Apple is a Motley Fool Stock Advisor selection. Microsoft is a Motley Fool Inside Value selection. Motley Fool Options has recommended a diagonal call strategy on Microsoft. Try any of our Foolish newsletters today, free for 30 days.