This is not an April Fool’s post. I wish it was. But it is probably funnier because it is 100% true.

In high school I liked this girl named Heather, and I wrote piles of poems for her, thinking that being a poet would set me apart from all of the other eligible bachelors. And it did, really. It put me in a very special category: one occupied by those who rode “short buses,” members of the macramé club, and bedwetting emo kids. It made me “special” all right.

I wrote an awful lot of awful poetry in high school, and a few of them were even published by the National Library of Poetry, which is a way of saying that my short entries appeared alongside the entries of thousands of other bad poets who paid money to see their poems appear in print. I am pretty certain a can of soup could write a poem and submit it to the National Library of Poetry, and it would be accepted. A Swingline stapler could win the grand prize by simply submitting something titled, “Click, Click, Click.”

“So avant-garde!”, the judges would say. “So wreckless! And yet … entirely unpredictable.”

So what’s my story? Well, I submitted a poem to my high school’s creative writing publication, Expressions, and it had the misfortune of actually being published. It was about tickling, and it appeared next to a picture of a fairy. I may as well have stood in front of a group of big, burly men with bulging biceps and said, “Please assault me. Beat me senseless with that 2″ x 4″ over there. Here, let me hammer some rusty nails into that thing for you so you can do some real damage.”

I am not sure what made me think that submitting this poem was a good idea, but I did think it was a good idea. I think I believed Heather would read it and say, “Oh Chad! You wrote a poem for me,” even though she had never tickled me and would mostly likely think it was about someone else. The poem appeared in an issue with a skull on the cover (see above), which made the poem’s bubbly explosion of psycho soda fizz seem even more apparent. Read and laugh. That’s what my peers did.

“Huh huh! Johnston published a poem about tickling!”

It was as if it had never occurred to me that my peers would perceive this as unusual.

“Yes, but uh, it’s about a girl tickling me, you see,” I stammered. “A girl, you know. Like a woman and stuff.” That did not help.

“Who was it? Your Mom? Your sister? Hyuck, hyuck hyuck!”

Enjoy, and remember this is most definitely not an April Fools’ Day entry. It actually happened. May it bring a smile to your face today.