Adventures in Writing: Part 6 of 20?

Take 20 words chosen at random. Put them in a bowl. Draw one, and write something about it.

Simple? Maybe not.

“Out” is a word that can’t be trusted. Not for a moment. Even standing alone, “out” reeks of something negative.

“Out” means gone, no more, not in and a few other thousand problem-posing developments. When “out” hangs out with some of its friends (especially that bad influence, “of”), the phrases you get are rarely something good.

Check out the tragic case of Donald McRonald.

Donald had an outstanding five years of high school. He went out for baseball, caught a lot of outbound balls in the outfield and struck out the fewest times in the history of the school.

Girls almost always said “yes” when Donald asked them out, even though they knew he expected them to put out. Donald believed that the few girls who thought they were out of his league were clearly out of their minds. All of Donald’s locker room buddies considered him to be the school make-out king.

As you may have figured out, Donald was not the sharpest knife his his high school silverware drawer.

During his fifth year of studies, Donald’s teachers had been not-so-subtly hinting that he might want to consider pursuing his fortunes out in the real world. Confident that his outgoing personality would continue to serve him as well outside the school walls as it had inside, Donald decided to drop out. Little did he know that his life was about to turn inside-out.

Donald was immediately dismayed to learn that his top post-secondary school career choice, phone sex, had been completely outsourced. Also out were his next two choices, telemarketing and customer service.

After a week of scouring the classifieds and pounding the sidewalks, he finally found work assembling take-out orders at an outback Steakhouse. He didn’t work out, however, as he was frequently out of sorts with the customers and sometimes, depending on how long he had been out the night before, completely out of it. He turned out to be a Bloomin’ Onion addict, and quickly became out-of-shape and out-of-breath. Less than a month after he started, he was out the door.

For a while, Donald managed to hang out with his old high school baseball buddies. His deadbeat ways were quickly found out. His friends were outraged, and they kicked him out. Donald’s parents pretended to be out whenever he rang the doorbell.

Donald was out of friends, out of work and out on the streets. The outlook was bleak for poor Donald. He was out of cash, out of ideas and out of hope. Winter came, and Donald was literally out in the cold. Running out of gas, Donald weakly stumbled, then crawled toward the best thing he could pull out of his memory.

They found him early one morning, lying face-down, just outside the home team dugout at his old high school baseball diamond, the height of his glory. For Donald, time had run out.

What should you get out of reading the Saga of Donald? Well, the next time you’re out and about, look out for “out.” Those three little letters can easily outwit, outplay and outlast you.

(Word count: 521. Out count: 63)