Every headline tells a story

I wrote a lot of headlines during my years in the newspaper business. So it’s not all that unusual that I pay more attention to them than does the average reader. In some ways, to me, the headline is more important than the story – if it’s a good one, it’ll not only lure me to read the story beneath it, it very well may entertain me, intrigue me, even more than it informs me.

A really good newspaper headline is brevity at its best – saying more than enough in as few words as possible. Heck, many times telling the story better than the story. And sometimes, unintentionally, telling an even better story than the story beneath it.

The other day I was surfing the Internet, looking for off-beat news items for blog material. I have a few favorite sites that yield a lot of great weird nuggets of inspiration. But on this day, going from one item to the next, the stories just weren’t living up to their headlines. I was getting frustrated. I wasn’t getting what I needed.

And then I realized I was working far too hard. If the headlines are better than the stories, well dammit, then just go with the headlines.

ROSACEA IS CAUSED BY DEAD MITES POOPING ON YOUR FACE

MTV MAKES THE WORLD A BETTER PLACE, CANCELS “JERSEY SHORE”

STARVING YOURSELF MAY NOT MAKE YOU LIVE LONGER AFTER ALL

MAN ROBBED AT BUS STOP IS GIVEN BUS FARE BY HIS ROBBERS

THIS CHUNK OF WHALE PUKE IS WORTH MORE THAN YOUR CAR

IDIOT NEARLY DIES TRYING TO MAIL HIMSELF IN A BOX TO HIS GIRLFRIEND

TEACHER ACCUSED OF HELPING “DUMB AS HELL” KIDS CHEAT

MAN NAMES STORE “HITLER,” CLAIMS HE DIDN’T KNOW WHO HITLER WAS

VICIOUS SPAT ENDS WITH WOMAN CASTRATING MAN WITH HER BARE HANDS

DROUGHT BRINGS GRIEF TO COW POOP-THROWING COMMUNITY

CHARITY BREAST SQUEEZE PUTS THE FUN BACK INTO FUNDRAISING

Need I say more? I didn’t really think so.

Advertisements

Doing detention time

I remember it as being one of the finer moments in my semi-professional educational career.

Funny, the teacher didn’t see it in the same way at the time.

I was taking a creative writing class in high school and one of the assignments was to read a book and write an essay about it.

Well, that didn’t seem to be very creative to me.

So I decided to tweak the assignment. Challenge myself. See just how creative a writer I was. I didn’t read the book. But I did read the dust cover’s plot teaser notes. I wrote my essay using just that scant iota of information. I wanted to see if I could take a little and fluff it up into a lot. But not just mindless, wordy fluff – it had to be meaningful, seemingly knowledgeable fluff.

I turned in the essay. And I got it back with an A+ scrawled in the upper right-hand corner. The teacher commented on a good job. Unfortunately, I couldn’t keep from commenting, and muttering, “yup, especially since I didn’t read the book.”

Let me mold your impressionable minds, my young charges.

Welcome to your first detention, young Mr. Waterman. Might be a good time to read that book.

Now, you might think that was a pretty clever way to end up in detention. Well, you’d be wrong. I found a story that compiled 26 examples of some of the oddest, or pretty creative, ways students ran afoul of their tutors and paid for it during after-school hours.

Falling asleep in class? Oh, you can do better than that to end up in detention.

Take Joe, for example, who allegedly did this to get himself in trouble in his geometry class, according to his teacher.

“Joe’s behavior in class was inappropriate and unacceptable. He started with excessive chair squeaking and ended with farting in a student’s face. He was told numerous times to stop talking and do the assignment.”

Whoa –  not doing his assignment? Phew, for a minute there I thought Joe was being gassed for farting in a kid’s face. Could be wrong, but I think that falls under his right to freedom of speech.

Speaking of speech, according to one teacher’s report detailing the reason for another student’s detention, he …

“… used the ‘F’ word in the hall multiple times. When I said to him I should not hear that word, he told me to plug my ears and walked away.”

Seems like a reasonable suggestion and a viable solution to the situation.

But my favorite was Lucas. Even at his young age, he already seems to be a bit of a showman. When he goes bad, he looks for the closest available stage, like the Large Cafeteria. according to this teacher’s report:

“Lucas entered the cafe in a rolling office chair. He was told by a monitor to return it to the office. He pushed it with his feet out the door very fast. A few minutes after, he ran into the cafe with a mask on his face, holding a sign saying ‘occupy the cafeteria.'”

If you ask me, if you’re going to go bad, you might as well go big. He shouldn’t be serving a detention but getting credit in his Theater and Current Events classes.