Tuesday, October 23, 2007

The missing-papers caper
At work at the small-town newspaper there was a mystery last week as about 2,000 copies mysteriously disappeared so many people didn’t get their weekly update of township politics, high-school sports and impromptu group shots at society balls. It turned out the culprit was a man caught drink-driving — as we run a police blotter he didn’t want to be found out. Of course the irony is by doing what he did (he bought up most copies but stole some bundles) he called more attention to it!

(It’s like the modern version of the pillories and stocks as a shame-based deterrent: if you’re over 18 and get caught committing a crime your name is printed.)

I spend much time on the computer translating bad officious cop-talk (think of an insecure dumb kid trying to sound smart, the sort of thing Paul Fussell described in Class) into English: changing ‘a strong odour of alcoholic beverage emanated from the actor’s person’ to ‘the man smelled strongly of alcohol’ for example; ‘unknown actor(s)’ become ‘someone’.

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