Web writing

A story about a heading: Put your butt somewhere awesome

The closest coffee place to my office is in the lobby of an office building. Also in the lobby of this building, for some reason, is a park bench with a piece of paper stuck to it.

A boring old park bench
A boring old park bench

If you get within a few metres of the park bench, you can read the heading on the piece of paper.

About this seat...
About this seat…

Ugh. What a crappy waste of words. Obvious meets redundant, right? Look at that ellipsis. Those three dots almost contain the writer’s sigh.

I liked to think that About this seat… gave instructions for using the seat. “Butt goes here. Please keep fingers clear of butt when sitting.” That sort of thing.

But About this seat… could say anything. The seat’s measurements. The seat’s history – this seat used to be in a park, but for some reason you don’t care about, we moved it. Some self-aggrandising crap from the seat’s donor. Whatever it was, something boring.

It was 8 months before I finally ended up waiting so long for a coffee that I looked at the piece of paper.

And holy crap, you guys.

...plastic from empty toner cartridges is recycled through the production of park bench seats like this one...
…plastic from empty toner cartridges is recycled through the production of park bench seats like this one…

Seriously?! This boring old seat is made from TRASH? That’s frickin’ AMAZING!

So what’s with that terrible heading? Why not We just gave your rubbish back to you or This useful seat is made out of your useless trash or This is an amazing place to put your butt?

How did something so great end up so boring? It makes me a little bit sad, but then I think about how great the park bench is, and I’m happy again.

Related post

Don’t hide bad news behind weak headings

This post is 301 words long, with an average reading grade of 5.0.

By Max Johns

Content strategist and web writer.