More than I’d like it to, my mind entertains itself by misreading headlines and billboards. Or it reads them right but misinterprets their meaning. An article in my local paper the other day, for example, said Woody Allen had agreed to take five million dollars to settle a lawsuit against a company who had parodied him as a rabbit. I had an immediate image of Woody dressed in a bunny playgirl costume with a white puffy tail. But the article described billboards that had Woody as a Hasidic Jew, with side curls, a long beard, and a black hat. Turned out he had sued a company for parodying him as a rabbi, not a rabbit.
In the same paper, a big front-page headline said “Pentagon reports a return to terror.” I imagined military officers cowering fearfully under their desks, so I read the article with compassion. But the story was about how most terrorists haven’t changed their ways after being held in Guantanamo, but will go right back to inflicting damage on their enemies as soon as they get the chance. That’s probably true of Pentagon people too, but that wasn’t the point of the story.
Another headline read “Private toll bridge taken out of play in Manatee.” Well, that was intriguing. The wonder to me was how a theater had managed to get a toll bridge into a play in the first place. But, shoot, it wasn’t about a theatrical play, but a political play. A bridge that the state had hoped would be built by private developers won’t be after all. Reading about it wasn’t nearly as interesting as how a theater company had got a toll bridge on their stage would have been.
And then there was “On way to prison, lawyer runs into the bar.” I didn’t blame him. He probably was going to be in prison for a long time, and he’d wanted to have one last drink before he heard the jail doors slam. Wrong again. If this particular lawyer needed a drink, it was because he had already been sentenced to prison for one crime, and then got hauled before the bar association for some other kind of malpractice.
I’d just like to thank every newspaper person who composes headlines for giving me so much entertainment along with the news.