There were more people falling down holes last week than moles. In China 149 miners survived that country’s latest coal mine disaster but 32 did not.
Near Whiteville, West Virginia Cody Beverly lead two friends down into the abandoned Elk Run coal mine with the intention of stealing copper. They were trapped without food, water or light for four days. Rescue workers managed to pull the three dirty and desperate trio to safety. After thanking his saviours and telling the press it was a “life-changing experience for me,” the 21-year-old Beverly gave the finger to a photographer taking his picture. Trapped in a deep black hole can make a man humble and grateful. Suggested headline: Thief Digs Himself a Deep Hole When Confronted By Copper!
In San Lorenzo, California a 29-year-old man stripped naked on the roof of a Chinese restaurant and slid down the vent into the kitchen. Using the steel chute like a waterslide, he entered Chef Kwong with the intention of robbing the place of appliances. But the vent took a sharp turn over the kitchen stove and he became trapped and struggled for two days in guck and grease to get out. It wasn’t until the owner of the business next door heard the man’s moaning that he was rescued by firefighters who had to cut through sheet metal to release him. Looking like a well-done Peking duck, the guy lived but not to tell his story. So far he’s not cooperating with police. Trapped in a dark, greasy duct for days can render a man speechless. (At least until he’s talked to a lawyer.) Suggested title: Naked Man Jumps into Grease Pit, Lard Ass First.
And then there’s Julia Roberts. Last week the actress was not so much trapped down a dark hole as she was entrapped by a ‘holey’ typo.
In a puff piece distributed to American newspapers by the Associated Press, the editor of the Post-Journal in Jamestown, New York made a type-setting error that nobody caught until it went Internet viral. The headline on the entertainment article above Julia’s confident face read: “Julia Roberts Finds Life and Her Holes Get Better With Age.”
I mean, you gotta hope it was a typo. I can’t speak for her ears but those nostrils look like they’ve seen better days!
No, this is Julia Roberts and unless she’s had some serious cosmetic work done on her belly button, that ‘hole’ thing is definitely a typo.
And although I’m taking the high ground on this one, Lestor Lawrence, the guy who smuggled $190,000 worth of gold out of the Royal Canadian mint in his rectum – he could not make that same claim!
Let’s remember this is Julia Roberts not Gwyneth Paltrow who probably would boast about her holes getting better with age and attributing the improvement to her Tushy Clip-On-Bidet at only $69 plus shipping on Goop.
Of course it was an innocent mistake in a frantic business with over-worked people groggy right up until deadline. Still, it was ridiculous! “Julia Roberts Finds Life And Her Holes Get Better With Age.” A fourth-grader can clearly see that the headline should have read: “Julia Roberts Finds Life And Her Rolls Get Better With Age.”
Typos! The bluebirds of happiness of the newspaper industry. We love ’em. We repeat ’em. I collect ’em. Some typos can bring great relief. Like the news item in Silicon Valley’s Mountain View paper: “Police received a report of a newborn infant found in a trash can. Upon investigation, officers discovered it was only a burrito.” Yeah, but big burrito! Okay?
There are some typos that leave you speechless: “One-Armed Man Applauds The Kindness Of Strangers.” Or “Homicide Victims Rarely Talk To Police.” (Yeah, but when they do, people listen!)
Some typos are irrefutable if a bit odd: “Statistics Show Teen Pregnancies Drop Significantly After The Age of 25.”
Ghoulish? “Students Cook And Serve Grandparents.” Yes, until that little preposition ‘For’ gets out in front of the grandparents.
Some typos just defy logic. “Worker Suffers Leg Pain After Crane Drops 800 Pound Ball On His Head.” Sore leg but one helluva hard head.
A few typos if not corrected could change history. “President Woodrow Wilson Spent An Evening At The Theatre Entering The Ladies.” (Mrs. Wilson must have really been passed off!)
Sometimes there’s a very good reason for a newspaper mix-up. From the Spokesman-Review/Spokane, Washington: “An April 5th story stated Mary Fraijo did not return a reporter’s calls seeking comment. Fraijo died last December.” See? Not avoiding. Just chillin’.
And that ‘hole’ episode with Julia Roberts was not the first time the Jamestown Post-Journal got a headline hilariously wrong. Years ago when I taught a writing course at the nearby Chautauqua Institute, I used to read that paper daily. No cartoon or humour column ever made me laugh out loud like this one, ‘the mother of all corrections:’ “The Band Raging Saints base their music on Born Again Christian principles and the King James version of the Bible. They are not ‘unrepent-ant head-bangers’ as was reported in our Nightlife column last Saturday. The Jamestown Post-Journal regrets the error.”
Don’t we all!
For comments, ideas and copies of The Legend of Zippy Chippy, go to