Monday, May 23, 2011

My Life in Headlines


I have always blamed my mother for what I can headline thinking. My sister and I both have it but I cannot think of a single headline my mother actually uttered even given her past as Kansas City Star cub reporter in her youth. She was full of dire predictions based on our actions. Like say if I stuck out my tongue, "What if your face froze like that?" Headline in my head: Young Girl to Undergo Cutting Edge Surgical Procedure.

Or the time I threw sand into the obnoxious neighbor's face after he smashed my sand castle. Mother: Do You know what your actions could cause? Headline: Violent Neighborhood Feud Claims More Lives. I think I had just read something about the Hatfields and the McCoys that week.

Growing up only made matters worse especially surrounding any breaking of the rules. Like the time I signed out of the dorm (Yes, Virginia, in my day we watched carefully over the "virgins") to go to Juarez with friends. Mom thought I was spending the weekend with the Berry's, long time family friends. Mrs. Berry thought I had cancelled that due to a term paper. Headline: College Coed Arrested at Juarez Strip Club. And with this one was born the leads. You know that line that isn't quite as big as the headline but leads you into the story: Mother says she is considering suing UNM for lack of due diligence.

Working in Washington, DC and getting deeply involved with civil disobedience (hey, our founding fathers founded this) my nightmares would spawn a whole bevy of headlines some delivered by Chet Huntley on the Capital Steps: "Tonight we are covering the arrest of a Senate Aide suspected of bombing the US Capital." Followed by the Washington Post the next morning: Suspected Bomber Vanishes after Arrest by the FBI / Mother says she was always such a good girl. I woke up from this nightmare at 3 a.m. and called my mother. "Don't ever tell any reporter I was such a good girl. Understand?" Mother never spoke of this particular early morning wake up call.

These days with a more "normal" life and no mother to explain things, even mentally, to the headlines are more likely to be shared jokes between my sister and myself: Two Sisters Plunge off Thelma and Louise Overlook in Canyonlands / Tourists in the area say they wanted to test the viability of a sequel to the popular movie.

Headlines do relieve stress in my life. They allow me to vent without blowing up the neighborhood. I have been relatively headline free through recent events so I was a bit worried about myself. But I awoke this morning with my headline: Local Artist Kills Ex-Contractor and Local Mechanic / Swat team continues to monitor the situation at the Court House where the alleged murderer is holding a Judge hostage demanding fair treatment for the elderly.

While I was Googling an image for this week's blog I stumbled upon an article about getting more readers for your blog by using killer headlines. That one just might work. Have blogs been used as proof of insanity?

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