I’ve never been tempted to buy tabloids at the grocery store, and find it easy enough to ignore entertainment news (though despite my best efforts, details of Britney’s latest escapades always seem to creep into my consciousness). But, there is one type of shock journalism I can’t resist: strange headlines.
I readily admit that, while these stories are at least true (an accolade I wouldn’t offer most tabloid stories), they have little “real” news value. Yet, I’m addicted. The headlines scream to me as I make my routine morning search of state and national news: “Another Score for NYC’s ‘Ninja Bandit’?,” or “Police: Man Took $20 in Kid’s Piggy Bank.” Even the link on the Missoulian’s website, “Read more Strangeness Here,” holds a certain funny allure I’m loathe to resist.
Reuters did a great job of rounding up some of last year’s oddest headlines. Two men, who posed as gardeners and turned a Greek nunnery into a marijuana farm, topped their list. Other noteworthy stories included a woman who set fire to her ex-husband’s penis as he sat naked watching television, the banning of food stalls attached to Beijing toilets and a Zimbabwe man who stole a bus because he needed transportation to get his driver’s license.
Alcides Moreno’s story has been baffling me for weeks. Last month, Moreno, a New York window washer, plunged 47 stories when his work platform broke. And lived.
When I ask myself why I enjoy these stories so much, I have to admit my preoccupation stems from my love for people watching. I find the things people do and say fascinating, a curiosity that certainly pushed me toward the profession of journalism. And, it contributes to another interest of mine: learning. I rarely leave an interview or finish a news article without feeling as though I’ve edged in on another’s insight or picked up a random tidbit – even from strange news.
And, when I drop all other pretenses, I’m a sucker for a good laugh or a heartwarming tale, like that of “Pig-casso.”
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