Have you ever read something in the newspaper that makes you say, “Wait — say what?” You’ve just come across something that makes no sense. Then you go back and read it again — and sometimes again and again. For instance …
One day last week, my local newspaper, the Las Vegas Review Journal, had a picture with the caption: “the defendant enters the courtroom Friday before pleading guilty to murdering the victim at the Regional Justice Center” (which is the high-flautin’ name for the courthouse). Say What? He murdered her at courthouse? Wasn’t anyone around to stop him? Oh, wait on a subsequent reading I realized they meant that he pled guilty at the courthouse to the murder. Oh, okay.
I wonder if anyone actually proof-reads these things. Of course, a newspaper has a quick turn-around so it’s not like a book or manuscript where someone can go through and take a lot of time combing for errors. At least, thank goodness, most of the typos get caught, but still one has to wonder about sentence construction.
Here’s one from several weeks ago. It was about Elisabeth Bing, the natural childbirth pioneer who popularized the Lamaze method in the United States. Ms. Bing died at the age of 100. The article went on to say that she was born in a Berlin suburb and (here’s what confused me): “When Bing was 18, she fled her homeland after Hitler took power and moved to England.” Wait, Say What? Hitler moved to England? When was this? Obviously, some obscure fact of history that escaped most of us. Oh, wait — they meant that Ms. Bing moved to England after Hitler took power. Got it, but it did give me pause for a moment there.
How about the obituary for Margaretta “Happy” Rockerfeller who was married to Nelson Rockefeller. According to this article, “…she secured a divorce a month before marrying Rockefeller, the grandson of the Standard Oil Company founder who later became the 41st vice president.” Wait, Say What? Did you know that John D. Rockefeller was vice-president of the United States? Me either. Oh, wait — maybe they meant that Nelson Rockefeller was vice-president. Oh, yeah, that’s it — he was Gerald Ford’s veep.
It’s sort of fun, actually, coming across something like this because it gives me a little giggle. I’m sure I’ve written things that didn’t make sense at first glance. But these people are professional writers. Oh, wait — so am I! (And if you haven’t read it already, you can go to Amazon.com and find my book “Beyond the Spotlight; On the Road with Phyllis Diller,” so I’m a professional, too.) Whee!