One advantage of this year away from work has been the luxury to read newspapers the way regular people read newspapers. Freed from the backstory on things like design, layout, headline and the like, I find it thrilling to open a newspaper — or not open it, in the case of the AA News, which I should really save for 2 a.m. fits of insomnia, since it resembles a Soviet experiment in non-pharmaceutical sleep aids — and judge it as harshly as any other reader out there.
Anyway, today I click onto the Journal Gazette home page. Headline on the lead story: 8 injured so far this year; aficionados stress safety tips and training. The lead: He didn’t see the pier. And! Just like that! I know I don’t have to read another word. The pamphlet-type nature of the story, the faux-dramatic lead, and I can tell you everything that will follow:
This is a story about snowmobiling. “Pier” is northeast Indiana lake-speak for docks, and the lakes are well-known playgrounds for high-octane buttheads who love to overrun their headlights, smash through soft ice and otherwise crack themselves up. While I have no particular objection to snowmobiles, I have precisely zero interest in feeling sorry for them over my Sunday coffee.
Judge for yourself. Did I get it wrong?