It is the goal of this newspaper, The Daily Duh, to be as perfect in our job as you think you are in yours. But we all make mistakes. Lawyers call theirs “Number 8876650” or perhaps “death row inmates.” Doctors call their screw-ups “cadavers” and diplomats call theirs “wars.” We won’t even get into the mistakes made by our stock brokers and local TV weather forecasters. A baseball player who makes an out three times out of four, hitting .250, is considered a super star and gets a multi-million dollar contract. We figure we’re battling about .999 percent. The other .001 percent we blame on the umpire’s prejudice.
Nevertheless, our alert readers who fail Breathalyzer street tests, are fired for embezzlement and neglect to make their child payments, take great glee in pointing out a misprint in our fishing report. So once again it’s time for The Daily Duh’s Schadenfreude Follies! The headline reading: Mayor to Boil Children Alive should have read: City Park Opens Thursday. We apologize for the typographical errors, or what we in the trade call simply “typos.” Likewise, the headline: Free Money at Market Bank was not quite accurate. The correct wording should have read: Fee for Money Markets at Bank. A few of our bylines somehow got messed up. The article in our Religion Section was not written by “Good Lord Almighty!” That was a notation in the margin by a copy editor who noted the reporter referred to “Judas the Chariot.” The food editor is not Sal M. Nella. That was an inter-office prank pulled off by a jealous co-worker. In our Letter From Washington, a ratification is not a large rodent.
About the headline: Heavy Storms Approaching — Might Kill Hundreds. It should have included the dateline: Yukutsk, Siberia. We apologize for the ensuing riots at the Ace Hardware store for life rafts and the panic on the Logjam Freeway to get out of town, but are assured by FEMA that help is on the way. Some of our printed obituaries, or “obits” as we call them in the trade, left the impression that the subjects in question were dead. For example, last week’s List of the Deceased was slightly misleading in that it contained winners of the Rotary Club Bake Off as well as the entire Aaron Burr High School faculty. Also, the previous week’s column, List of the Diseased, was only a letter or two off. In any event, we hope they get better.
It is a tradition in newspapers to allow next-of-kin to write their loved ones’ obits, particularly since the kin are paying to get the death notice in the paper. If the corpse isn’t somebody important, you’ve got to pay to be read and remembered. Unfortunately, this policy can lead to misconceptions. Saturday’s obit entitled: We’re Glad You’re Gone should not have run, nor should a line in another obit: “He left life the same way he arrived — naked, screaming, wet and toothless.” We are still investigating the death notice for the late Simon “the Snake” McCreep that claimed he had received the Medal of Honor, Nobel Peace Prize and was named Man of the Century by Time magazine. Actually, we’re told McCreep was in the Federal Witness Protection Program.
We received this scrawl in Crayola from a reader: “Kan’t yew awl dew annythang rite? My brothur was etten bye hawgs. Not dawgs.” We always appreciate corrections from such sophisticated and intelligent readers. This brings us to the subtle nuances of a reader’s own political views rather than actual mistakes. Our editorial, Flowers Are Nice, was interpreted by some as either supporting marijuana or a “commie-pinko defense” of the White House Rose Garden. The editorial, Support Our Firemen, generated this from a reader: “Typical liberal media screed.” The message was delivered in a unique fashion — attached to a brick thrown through our front window. However, we’re proud Fox News broke into its expose on the Obama children’s backyard playground, Treason in the Tree House?, to report on the story.
Let’s not get bogged down in nick-picking. True, the TV listing, “Cheerleaders in Chains,” should have appeared only in our on-line edition under Adult Fantasies — Parental Supervision Advised, as was “Lust on the Linoleum — the Johnson Wax Story.” The crossword puzzle in last Sunday’s paper was inadvertently printed in Mandarin Chinese, but was solved by the hospital’s neurosurgery staff members, whose visas are about to expire.
The entire sports department has been let go due to illness: the readers were sick and tired of them. An example is the sports editor’s pick of Alabama over Rice in the College Football Championship Bowl. He says he didn’t realize Rice was that good. The story and statistics for the UT-A&M annual Thanksgiving game were slightly wrong, since the schools didn’t play. Our feature, The Score Board, was right on target with 4-5, 9-3 and 1-0, etc., but should have included the teams names.
Our advertising department is still trying to explain why, in the Positions Wanted section, it listed Hit Man when it should have read Assassin, and ditto for Man Wanted instead of Bridal News. To set the record straight, the advertisement, For Sale — Cheap, should have included a photograph of a black pickup, not of Sheriff Blackie Pickford. The caption reading Biggest Loser was unfortunately placed under a picture of Mitt Romney. We still don’t know why the recipe for chicken-fried steak insisted that the steak be fried by a chicken. In that same section, it is easy to mix up possum and poison. We hope the matter can be settled out of court.
Why does The Daily Duh makes so many mistakes? Recently we quoted William Randolph Hearst as saying, “Don’t be afraid to make a mistake, your readers might like it.” We aim to make our readers like it. Unfortunately, we attributed the quote to William Jennings Bryan. In the trade we call that “journalism.”
Ashby corrects at email@example.com