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Date: 31/12/14

Funny Woman...

I really hadn't intended posting anything today; you deserve a rest from this at least as much as I do.

But I've just seen one of those headlines where the need to compress the maximum amount of information into the smallest space creates a rather surreal picture in the mind of the reader.

I mean, if you saw a headline which read:

News headline saying 'Head teacher and comic wife honoured'

...would your initial reaction be - like mine was - to think that it was a rather hurtful thing to say about the head teacher's wife? I mean, perhaps she couldn't help her little eccentricities, like her funny walk or her tendency to pick empty crisp packets off the pavement and shove them in her handbag, intending to make a collage out of them for the school's Easter Fayre? Or even - to impute a more kindly motive to the writer - that the Beak's wife was, in her spare time, a stand-up comedian?

It turns out that the latter interpretation is slightly - but only slightly - closer to the truth. Clicking on the link takes you to this story about two recipients of the latest bunch of baubles handed out to the Safe People. The head teacher turns out to be a woman, and she does not - even in these shockingly decadent times - have a wife, comic or otherwise. And the wife turns out to be, in fact, a widow; the widow of the late, great comedian Eric Morecambe.

That, my dears, is what happens when you eschew essential apostrophes.

Update (01/01/15): The story having now been moved into the 'back catalogue', as 'twere, they've had the opportunity to get it right:

News headline amended to 'Head teacher and comic's wife honoured'

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