I remember it well.
I was a hopeful teenager, a rocking-chair philosopher of fifteen, a dabling writer, editor of the school paper and bit of a jock… I can’t complain. The nerd-stigma did not apply to me. I could kick around balls the way I could kick around words.
And this was to be my folly the day it was Composition Day. The teacher announced it would be a tough one. Every student had to write a short-story based on the following keywords:
BOY — SUPERMARKET — STOLE — BUBBLEGUM — CAUGHT
A groan went through the class. Half didn’t know what to do with it. The other half went judiciously to work. Only I sat still in my seat.
No way, I thought. They can’t possibly think I’m that stupid. To write ‘the obvious’ short story based on those terms was nigh offensive.
So I didn’t. (BTW: if you don’t know what ‘the obvious’ is, you got no business being a writer. Just sayin’. )
I ended up writing a story about a woman who, after coming back from the SUPERMARKET, found that her silly husband (the man who STOLE her heart many years ago) had been hit on the head by a flowerpot, while out on their balcony. She blamed the BOY in the apartment upstairs. The police came, and the officer took everything down while chewing on his BUBBLEGUM. Eventually they CAUGHT the culprit: it had been the upstairs cat.
Convinced of my infinite brilliance for being original, I handed in my epic.
It didn’t take long for the teacher to call me to her desk.
‘Silly’ was a term mentioned. ‘Off topic’ was another. ‘Not what I was looking for’ came up.
At least she gave me a second chance. So I wrote a story about a BOY who went to the SUPERMARKET and STOLE a BUBBLEGUM and got CAUGHT.
Still, I aced it. ‘Brilliant’ and ‘perfect’ and I got a high score.
The other day I wrote a SEO keyword article for a client and I got hit by a deja vu…
Know what I mean?