It's All in the Spin
UPDATE: Here's a challenge for you. After reading, see if you can write a "spin," like this one, either based on a story we would all know, or tell us the real story first and follow with the spin. Let me know if you do it, I'd love to read.
I did not write the following. It has been in my files for a long time, came to me somehow even before internet, although it is the kind of thing you might have received in a junk email. I like it well enough to share, though. In fact, I like it a lot. The power of well-chosen words.
A prominent local family was preparing to celebrate the 80th birthday of the family patriarch. His children wanted to give him something truly special for the occasion, and they decided to hire a writer to research and prepare a report on their family tree. They hired a geneological writer, and he went to work.
After several months of research, the writer returned to the family to report on some of the highlights of their history.
"By far the most interesting member of your family was Uncle George," the writer commented.
The patriarch's children looked at one another, and each said that they had never heard of an Uncle George. Was the writer certain his research was correct?
"Absolutely," the writer asured them. "Uncle George was in the branch of the family that moved to the Chicago area in the late '20s. There he met and went to work for Al Capone. He was hired by Capone to guard liquor warehouses during Prohibition. He was on the job one night when Eliot Ness came to raid the warehouse, and there was a gunfight. When the smoke cleared, it turned out that your Uncle George had shot and killed an FBI agent. George was tried and convicted, and was eventually executed in the electric chair at Sing Sing."
The family was horrified. They thanked the writer for his work, but said that they would have to think of another gift to give their father. With Uncle George in the family tree, their father would be ashamed, and since he had lived this long without knowing about Uncle George, they decided it would be best to leave it that way.
But the writer reassured them. "Trust me," he said. I'm a professional. You have nothing to worry about." The family reluctantly agreed to let him continue the family tree project. When the final report was delivered, they grabbed it and turned right to the paragraph on Uncle George of Chicago. It read:
George moved to the Chicago area in the late 1920s, where he was closely associated with the legal community, and active in some of the most historically significant events of the day. He eventually made a killing in his chosen profession. George was a man who endured many trials in his life, and he emerged from them with strong convictions. The last position he held was a seat in applied electronics at a major federal institution. This was a very secure position, and one to which George was strongly bound until his untimely death. Many were shocked by George's demise, but none so much as George himself.