I’m applying for an internship at a digital advertising agency in Chicago. Part of the application is a writing sample; applicants are supposed to answer the question, “If you were a Mobile App, which App would you be and why?”
“But I don’t want to be a Mobile App. I’m not a Mobile App now, and I don’t forsee myself becoming one in the future,” I lamented to my mom. “Amy, that’s the prompt,” she reminded me. “Fine. I’ll write something.”
So I churned out five hundred stuffy, formal words about being a calendar because I’m an organized person. Bah. It was an attempt to please rather than an honest representation of my writing. It was adequate, but it wasn’t fabulous. I wasn’t excited about it, so I started over.
On the way to get my hair cut, I had an idea. At a traffic light, I quickly fished a purple pen out of the dark depths of my purse and began scrawling across the flyleaf of the nearest book. My apologies to Alan Epstein for sullying the reviews of “As The Romans Do.” The light turned green and I flipped the book over on the passenger seat, tucking the pen behind my ear.
If I were a Mobile App, I’d be a wordplay assistant. Part thesaurus, part dictionary, all practical. A pun producer, metaphor maker, and simile simulator. The App would be handy for students writing papers and helpful for those who just want to introduce a new degree of cleverness and wit to their daily doings. I’m always looking to express ideas and portray thoughts in new and interesting ways.
You’re picking up the dry cleaning, and you realize that the cleaners have ruined your favorite shirt. Later on, you’ll tell the story of how you convinced the manager to give you a refund and cover the cost of replacing the garment, but only after threatening physical violence. Do you want your family to actually listen to your harrowing tale? Make the words dance with the help of my Mobile App.
To use my App, just enter some information about the person/place/thing/event that you’re trying to describe. When I explain a situation, I use details to help create the scene. How did the store look, sound, smell, feel, and taste?
The fluorescent light above the register kept flickering. You could barely hear your argument with the owner because the carousel of hangers was so noisy and because someone’s kid was playing with the bell on the counter. It didn’t help that you could hardly see the owner through the haze of starch, either. The store smelled the way that all dry cleaning outfits smell—like shirts and plastic and steam. The rolls of blankets in the shelving unit smelled a little like mothballs, too. The store tasted like butterscotch. There was a dish of candies on the counter between the bell and the register, and you were sucking on one during your debate.
We can bulk up some of these details with good descriptions to make them more powerful. Some of the mothballed quilts on the shelves were faded and threadbare, but others were adorned with garish flowers and tacky prints. And your gold candy wrapper…did you fumble with it as you bargained with the man behind the register, or did you crinkle it into a tight ball and slam-dunk it in the trashcan when you won your concessions?
Now let’s use the thesaurus/dictionary function to spice up your vocabulary. My App helps users find precisely the words they need to relate their stories. I never shy away from using creative words—words that you might not hear in everyday conversation, but words that fit perfectly for the description at hand. The owner of the store becomes “the grizzled proprietor.” The hanger carousel doesn’t just make noise–it “growls and rumbles before it lurches to a halt.”
Ok, we’re almost finished. Let’s sprinkle in some wordplay, just to keep your audience on their toes. You took the owner to the cleaners. Nope, you hung him out to dry. Or maybe you cleaned him out. Really, any number of laundry-related puns will get the job done.
With my Mobile App, users can transform any mundane encounter into a thrilling tale. I delight in telling stories—and telling them well—and if I were an App, I would want to help other people find that joy, too.