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MFA in Writing at Vermont College

Saturday, May 4, 2013

The Greatest Rejections of All-Time

1981 – A second grade Jeff slowly approaches the girl of his dreams on the school playground.  In his hand he holds a homemade valentine card that he has spent all evening designing.  Inside the cut out heart are the hand written words, Will You Be Mine.  Jenny B. stands alone by the slide, her golden hair radiating in the sunlight.  Jeff senses the moment.  He approaches slowly and hands Jenny B. his heart.  Jenny looks around and yells, Cooties! loud enough for the entire playground to hear.  She runs away leaving Jeff alone with his heart. Rejected!


1988 – It is the last day of eighth grade.  The class organizes a boy - girl bike ride to the park after the final bell.  Everyone is supposed to meet at the bike racks.  Jeff eagerly awaits.  When the final bell rings Jeff yelps with excitement, stuffs the remnants of his desk in his backpack and scampers to Rawhide, his trusty bike.  At the bike racks he discovers that this boy –girl bike ride is actually a boyfriend-girlfriend bike ride.  Apparently there is a difference.  He counts the boys, there are twelve.  He counts the girls, there are eleven.  He suddenly knows who the odd man out will be.  Rejected!


1989 – It is the day of the big football pep rally. All members of the football team have been instructed to bring their jersey to the event.  Jeff eagerly puts on his number 45 and proudly walks to the gym hoping to be the one chosen to burst through the paper sign held by the cheerleaders and lead the team onto the field in front of a roaring crowd.  However, when he gets there he discovers that none of his teammates are wearing their jerseys.  Instead he finds them handing their uniforms to cheerleaders who quickly slide their favorite player’s jersey over their outfit.  As the team bursts through the paper sign and onto the field in front of the roaring crowd Jeff is the last in line and the only player wearing his jersey.  Rejected!


1990 – Jeff’s older brother, and chief basketball rival, has left for college.  That leaves him to play one-on-one against his younger sister.  He hopes to earn a starting spot on the varsity team this winter and is eager to polish his jump shot.  His sister reluctantly takes the court.  As she approaches, Jeff jabs left , backsteps, then quickly spins right.  He sees an opening, takes two dribbles and goes hard to the basket.  Out of nowhere his sister appears, arms outreaching, pinning his layup against the gutter overhang of the garage.  The ball rolls down the drive and out into the street.  He has been Rejected!


1998 – Jeff goes to Best Buy to purchase his first cell phone.  He is sure this is the only reason he does not have a girlfriend.  The throngs of women simply have no way to reach him.  He slowly looks over the selection careful to ask questions about each.  He narrows down his choice and points to the perfect phone.  The clerk smiles and tells him it was an excellent decision.  Jeff follows the clerk to the front register dreaming of future dates.  The cashier smiles as she rings up the purchase.  But she frowns as she slides Jeff’s credit card through the machine.  She frowns deeper as she tries again.   And again.  Jeff’s credit card has been Rejected!


2006 – There is a knock on the door.   A month ago Jeff has sent out his first manuscript to a literary agent.  He has been eagerly awaiting a reply ever since.  He opens the door to find the mailman holding the large manila self-addressed stamped envelope that Jeff had sent out a month earlier.  The mailman is holding out his hand as the postage was short.  Jeff owes twenty one cents.  Jeff digs in his pocket and hands over the coins.  He tears open the envelope before the mailman is even down the stoop.  Inside is a form letter of Rejection.  Jeff has just paid for his first Rejection!


2013 – Jeff receives another Rejection letter from a literary agent!  His rejection streak is still intact!  He is sure he is officially the greatest Rejectee in history!





  1. Jeff, I so loved this post. You made me laugh out loud. And I shouldn't since it's all about rejection. But I share your pain. I have been Rejected too (though I didn't have to pay for it like you did). Here's to an agent saying yes!!!!

  2. You may have been rejected, but you'll never be a reject in my book. :)

  3. awwwww - Bet you will soon receive an acceptance. Might consider submitting this to a magazine - I bet that would be accepted.