Most of the time I love practicing law, even on days filled with hectic chaos that lead to incomprehensible injustice. But sometimes I wonder what it would be like to work in a dream job, one where you get paid to do what you love and you have millions of people who appreciate your work.
I like to write, and so I’ve always felt that my dream job would have to involve writing. But writing is hard work so it would be best if I didn’t have to do too much of it. Writing headlines would be a nice gig; you just crank out a catchy title that grabs the readers’ attention. Not much heavy lifting there. But, still, I’d like to do more than just write boring headlines for a typical daily newspaper. Even the New York Times’ headlines are, for the most part, pretty vapid.
I had been thinking about this dream job for a long time in a sort of unconscious way when one day I was standing in line at the grocery. I started looking at the headlines for the National Enquirer. That’s it! I exclaimed. I could write for the National Equirer.
Over time I studied the handiwork of the Enquirer’s headline writers. The topics were sort of limited: Elvis, Aliens, disgraced famous people, and lazy ungrateful ‘hubbys’ The National Equirer’s whole schtick is about the headlines; no one ever reads the articles. So I figured if I learned the task of writing headlines I could go in there and make a pitch to become the Head Headline Writer.
Obviously, this is a competitive job. But I’m a lawyer and I can write creatively, so maybe I could pull it off. I focused even more intently on the headline writing technique used by the maestros at the Enquirer. I learned that the best headlines actually have two parts: the first part makes a tantalizing statement (e.g. “Elvis spotted at exclusive Spa in Montana”) followed by something that is even more tantalizing, perhaps because it raises an important question or something.
One day, however, I spotted a masterpiece headline that completely stunned me. It followed the pattern I’m describing perfectly. The main headline began with a boldly creative assertion, perfectly tailored to the National Enquirer’s readership:
Pickup Truck Found In Orbit Around Earth
Reading this I was a little dismayed. It dawned on me that I might not have the elite mental faculties needed to create the truly captivating headlines. And, as I went on to read the secondary headline that followed I knew that I was out of my league. The thought provoking sub-head was simple and yet brilliant: “Still had full tank of gas!!!”
Yep, that was it. A man’s got to know his limitations, and much as I’d like to think I’ve got the talent, I know that I can’t write headlines for the National Enquirer. So, if I can’t have my dream job, I might as well keep practicing law.