It’s been a good long while since the Answer Dude has appeared in these pages; perhaps it’s time to call on his unique wit and wisdom. For those who haven’t “met” the Answer Dude, suffice it to say that he’s an expert in linguistics, particularly the misuse of English and other languages. Without further ado, please welcome the Answer Dude!
AD: Thank you.
KD: Well, it looks like you’ve come prepared. You have a stack of newspapers there—are we going to look at some actual headlines?
AD: You are correct, sir. Let me remind your readers that I was doing this in your column before Jay Leno started doing it on the Tonight Show.
KD: Jay Leno “did it” on the Tonight Show???
AD: Funny. Here’s the first actual headline, obviously written by an editor who didn’t do well in journalism class: “Larger Kangaroos Leap Farther, Researchers Find.” Brilliant. This next one is from an editor who could use some sensitivity training: “Child’s Death Ruins Couple’s Holiday.” I mean, really—what could the editor there have been thinking? “We lost a kid, but otherwise, it was a great vacation!” And there’s this gem, probably written by the same lousy editor: “Boy Who Drowned Couldn’t Swim.”
KD: It’s alright, Dude—calm down.
AD: It’s just that I get annoyed when a perfectly good language gets mangled, just like you did just then.
KD: What do you mean?
AD: It’s not “alright”; it’s “all right.”
KD: Now I remember why you haven’t been invited back for a while. Let’s move on.
AD: Agreed. These next two headlines may make you a little less hungry, if you know what I mean. “Chef Finds New Game as Rat Exterminator.” I just hope it wasn’t in his restaurant… although I bet he could come up with some tasty recipes for the little varmints. This next one is one of my favorites: “Here’s How You Can Lick Doberman’s Leg Sores.”
KD: That’s disgusting! How could a capable editor make that kind of mistake?
AD: You’re giving that editor a bit too much credit. Another genius came up with this: “Deaf College Opens Doors to Hearing.” If it were only that easy… This next headline is a perfect example of why sportswriters and editors should never take on scientific subjects: “Physicist Recommends Bigger Balls to Slow Down Male Tennis Players.”
KD: I guess that would slow them down.
AD: The parade of intellect continues. Here are a few let’s-state-the-obvious classics: “Cold Wave Linked to Temperatures.” “Man is Fatally Slain.” “Something Went Wrong in Jet Crash, Experts Say.” No kidding. These next actual headlines come from editors who should have never left the world of fast food prep: “Never Withhold Herpes from Loved One.” “Miners Refuse to Work after Death.” And another favorite: “Lansing Residents can Drop Off Trees.” Visitors had better keep an eye out for falling residents.
KD: We’re just about out of time here. Do you have a couple of good ones to close down this week’s column?
AD: Sure. How about these: “Kids make Nutritious Snacks.” “New Study of Obesity Looks for Larger Test Group.” “Prosecutor Releases Probe into Undersheriff.” That sounds like it just might hurt a bit. Wait, there’s more: “Hospitals are Sued by 7 Foot Doctors.” “Panda Mating Fails—Veterinarian Takes Over.” And my favorite this week: “Sex Education Delayed, Teachers Request Training.” Sign me up for that class, too!
KD: And thus ends another session with our very own Answer Dude. I’m sorry we didn’t have any outright questions for you, but maybe next time.
KD: And clutter up a perfectly empty mailbox?