So naturally my headline said: "Cook, three others tied in Buick." That can be read at least two ways, of course; one of them involves abduction in an American-made car. My colleagues put that headline on the wall, and it was still there 10 years later.
I know of one headline that led to a man getting fired. I won't give the headline, but I'll say that he wasn't fired because he wrote the headline. He was fired because he couldn't understand why he shouldn't have written that head. Fortunately, I understood why the Cook headline could have been better.
That leads us to some headlines I just found. They'll all real headlines, probably from newspapers, and they're all stinkers.
One story was about a man who hid plastic bags filled with crack cocaine in his buttocks. Police found it, of course, and the headline read "Police: Crack Found in Man's Buttocks." Yes, of course it was.
How about "March Planned For Next August"? I know they're going to march for a good (or at least decent) cause in August, but it looks like they're getting they're months confused.
I'm sorry, but I don't see this one: "Blind Bishop Appointed To See."
Jay Leno would have gotten fired up over "Man Struck by Lightning Faces Battery Charge." Revolting.
I kinda like this one: "Lingerie Shipment Hijacked—Thief Gives Police The Slip." I wonder if the town was Petticoat Junction.
Another headline needs no explanation: "One-armed man applauds the kindness of strangers."
"L.A. Voters Approve Urban Renewal By Landslide" — I don't know if I'd mention landslides in southern California.
This headline reminds me of the old joke about the preacher telling the congregation to dump their booze in the river. Shortly, he says, "Let's take our hymnals, turn to page 23 and sing 'Shall We Gather at the River.'" This headline is simply perfect: "Patient At Death's Door—Doctors Pull Him Through."
Fortunately, the flesh-and-blood Queen Mary wasn't around to see this headline, written about a ship: "Queen Mary Having Bottom Scraped." Painful, simply excruciating.
This one's terrific: "Police suspect body in bin may have been dumped." It's unlikely the body would have walked there.
Finally, the best I've found so far is (major drum roll here) "Governor Swears in Legislature." I realize that the members of the legislature were sworn in by the governor, and most of them will do a fine job. But I can imagine the governor going on a tirade during a legislature meeting, cussing, hollering and stomping around.
Editors do that sometimes, too.
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Blog entries by Tom Gillispie
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