Headline Writing, Harder than You Think

Man rescued from mud with parrot perched on his shoulders

Type of day this guy was having, the final insult came when the parrot shit down his neck.

It takes a special talent to write a headline. All headline writers aspire to meet the standard set by the New York Post. Ultimately they fail and the headline above is no exception. The winner and still champion!

The Ultimate, by which all other headlines are measured.

Read the headline: Man rescued from the mud with parrot perched on his shoulders. What does that mean?

Was the parrot a secret rescue device? Maybe the bird is responsible for calling the fire department. After all, Lassie rescued Timmy from the well by getting help and she couldn’t talk.

The accompanying story would seem to indicate otherwise. The man got stuck in the mud trying to rescue the parrot. If that is the case shouldn’t the headline read: “Man with a parrot on his shoulders rescued from the mud?” This may be a nuance that is too subtle for the readership. Consider this, take one parrot, weight a pound and a half, a mudhole, and a concerned owner that tips the scales at 275 pounds. If the bird can walk on the mud, so can a distressed owner. Not!

Remember this the next time you read a newspaper story. Ask yourself, how much of this is misinformed bullshit? Used to be that on Sunday night “Sixty Minutes” was on opposite “The Wonderful World of Disney.” The choice was reality or fantasy. I always opted for reality and watched Disney.