Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Hey kids! You stink.

I almost spit out my tea when I saw this headline in our provincial paper.

Anyone obsessed with the English language will know why this headline is side-splitting funny. Any ideas? Okay, let me explain . . .

When I was working for a little radio station called CBC, I was called out to cover a fire in a seniors complex. There were fire engines, ambulances, police cars and media everywhere, watching while some 200 seniors were forced out of their apartment building. The fire ended up being pretty minor, I think it was just an electrical fire in the basement, but it cut out electricity to the building and the residents weren't allowed to return to the building until the next morning.

After interviewing some of the displaced seniors and the fire chief, I went back to the office and cut some tape for news. It was getting late, so I just left the scripts on the news desk for the morning news guy to vet in the morning.

The next day, when I arrived at the station, the morning show director smiled at me and asked me about "evacuating 200 seniors." She said the morning crew got quite a kick out of my scripts, and everyone laughed. I consider myself a nerd, a geek, a keener and a grammar queen, but I still wasn't quite sure what was wrong with my scripts. I was told that buildings are evacuated, not people. If emergency crews were "evacuating 200 seniors," that would mean they were giving emergency enemas to all those seniors. Ha, ha. I get it.

I never forgot that lesson and I read or hear that same mistake at least once a week in the news. Sometimes, if I know the reporter, I'll call and tell them my story, but usually I just have a chuckle while imagining paramedics and firefighters saying, "Okay, this building is on fire, but before we evacuate the building, let's give all the residents enemas. Ready, set, GO!"

That's why I nearly spit out my tea this morning. "Students evacuated due to sickening odour." Pure journalistic GOLD.


  1. you're still a nerd, a geek, a keener and a grammar queen.

  2. funny, yes, but only to us literary types. :) Unfortunately, most of the world couldn't care less. :( so sad...all those students with enemas...

  3. Heh heh - I can picture it now:

    "Hi, my name is Ben. Ben Dover. I'm here to administer your enema."


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