Monday, October 24, 2011

In Short

Reader’s Digest is having a writing contest in which you’re invited to tell your life story, in a 150 words or less, for a chance to win $2,500 and a spot in their magazine. A small spot since that’s pretty much all they have.

It’s a promotion for a new book they have coming out called “Life, the Reader’s Digest VERSION”.  It’s in conjunction with Facebook, so you have to have an account to enter, which is disappointing, but this is the way of the world today.  

I guess 800 million Facebook subscribers aren’t enough, so cross promotion is in order. I mean there’re still almost 699 billion people out there who haven’t bought in yet; 699 billion and one if you include me.

So I didn’t enter the contest but I thought it was an interesting idea and exercise in word discipline to reduce your life to just a couple of short paragraphs.

So here’s what I came up with…138 words.

I was born 3/30/54 at 11:17 AM EST.  By 11:30 I was bored, having seen most of what I needed to see and asked to watch TV. I was brought to the nursery where I was annoyed to find a preemie already watching Crusader Rabbit.  I wanted to watch the news. 
Preemies…always the first in line.
Eventually, with the help of a good therapist, I got over it and moved on with my life. Much of my pre-school years were spent living in my head in and out of various adventures. Much of my school years were spent living out of my head, wishing I were back inside. My post graduate years to the present are a combination of both as I am a writer…sort of.

There’ve been good days and bad.

The rest remains to be written.

I even inflated the font for the most important part in case you wanted the Reader’s Digest condensed version.

So it got me thinking about how we would hone down other important events of the past.

The Creation

Once you take out all the biblical flourishes that pretty much says about all we really know.

The Discovery of America

Despite rumors to the contrary that America had already been discovered by explorers such as Leif Erickson and Amerigo Vespucci, Christopher Columbus is credited as the first, mostly because neither Vespucci Day nor Erickson Ohio roll of the tongue as easily as Columbus.  The common thread among the latter two is their experience in map making, which was marginal as both were said to be looking for a short cut to the Far East by traveling west. Erickson on the other hand was merely out pillaging and joy sailing, spotted a McDonalds...and stopped for fries.

The rest, as they say, is History.

The American Revolution

A group of New England Patriots, after turning Boston Harbor into a giant cup of tea and defeating the New York Jets 30-21, proclaimed “No taxation without representation…or at least free TV”. This led to hard feelings amongst their British occupiers who donned their red coats, because tweed was out of season, and charged up Bunker Hill for no apparent reason since it was said that most had already visited the monument and there really isn’t all that much to see.  This eventually led to the American Declaration of Independence, which severed all ties with the British until the Beatles introduced their unique sound of rhythm and harmony from sea to shining sea in the mid 1960’s.  Free TV, however, is a thing of the past.

The rest, as they say, is History.

Biography of Abraham Lincoln

Abraham Lincoln was born February 12, 1809 in Kentucky in a log cabin. Self-educated, Lincoln was known to spend hours reading and practiced his numbers on the back of an iron skillet, which caused numerous problems as his mother was cooking at the time. He had few friends due to his bookish ways and the odd beard he sported since the age of 5. When asked by his father why he didn’t grow the mustache, he is said to have replied, “It’s a look.” He later moved to Illinois and was known for his exceptional skills as an orator, which disappointed him since he preferred to be known for his skills as a basketball player, despite his inability to jump.  He became a politician, was elected President, preserved the union then went to the theatre, which killed him, since he had hoped to order in and watch Survivor.  (1809-02-12)

So as you can see, when telling a story, any story, we spend way too much time on insignificant details. Most of what’s important can be summed up in under 150 words.

Except for this blog.

And Little Richard.

The rest, as they say, is History….

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