Column - Newspapers can bring smilesIf you think the only part of a newspaper that’s funny are the comics, think again.
By: Al Edenloff, Alexandria Echo Press
If you think the only part of a newspaper that’s funny are the comics, think again.
I received an e-mail a few days ago that was filled with stories and headlines with a humorous twist. Some of them were intentional, some not.
As odd as the mistakes or unfortunate word choices were, they provided a smile or two – and served as a reminder of what separates us from other mammals: Our sense of humor.
Sometimes truth can be funnier than fiction. One story led with this: “An Australian Army vehicle worth $74,000 has gone missing after being painted with camouflage.” Another story carried the headline, “Alton attorney accidentally sues himself.”
Sometimes a straight news piece can naturally play off an ironic – and funny – twist, as in the story that was headlined, “County to pay $250,000 to advertise lack of funds.”
Police blotter items, while reported in a straightforward manner, can also provide off-beat insights into human behavior. Here’s one: “1:33 p.m., Sonora – A man came to the sheriff’s department to ‘find out how to legally kill a person who was harassing him.’ ”
A blotter item from a place called Mountain View contained this head-scratcher: “Walmart: Police received a report of a newborn infant found in a trash can. Upon investigation, officers discovered it was only a burrito.”
Here’s a blotter item with a punch line: “A caller reported at 7:14 p.m. that someone was on a porch yelling ‘help’ from a residence on Bank Street. Officers responded and learned the person was calling a cat that is named ‘Help.’ ”
The classified ads can also bring a chuckle, although those taking out the ads probably didn’t have that in mind (if they had a mind at all). Here are a few:
Wanted: Someone to go back in time with me. This is not a joke. You will get paid after we get back. Must bring your own weapons. Safety not guaranteed. I have only done this once before.
For sale: Human skull, used once only. Not plastic. $200 or best offer.
For sale: Tombstone. Standard gray. A good buy for someone named Grady.
For sale: 1995 Nissan Maxima, green, leather, loaded, CD, auto start, sunroof, 4-door, good condition, $4,500. Not for sale.
For sale: China cabinet, buffet, hutch, solid pine, 6.5 tall x 4.5 wide, lighted windows, few cat scratches but cat has been killed. $700.
Laughs can come not only from reader-submitted items but also from a newspaper staff that was too rushed to spot the goof.
A clip-out coupon stated, “Get 50% off or half price, whichever is less.”
A couple headlines that should have been rethought: “Statistics show that teen pregnancy drops off significantly after age 25” and “One-armed man applauds the kindness of strangers.”
One earth-shattering headline proclaimed, “Fish need water, feds say.” Other brilliant observations to make headlines: “Utah Poison Control Center reminds everyone not to take poison,” and “Federal agents raid gun shop, find weapons.”
Along those same lines, one newspaper probed deep to answer a “Question of the Day” about what constitutes a millionaire. The answer, as printed: “A millionaire is someone who has $1 million, according to Jerry Beto, branch manager and senior vice president of investments at AG Edwards and Sons.”
Of course, hear at the Echo Press we nevver print mitsakes or erorrs – at least not on porpoise.