I listened to my phone messages this morning after a few days away from the office. A reader had called complaining of a headline on one of my reviews in Saturday’s paper. Readers always think that writers write the headlines, but we don’t, at least not usually, in print. So, the caller was all disgusted sounding with me. Acted as if I was a jackass for writing it, and bolstered her argument by quoting me her musical credentials, and those of her husband and daughter, who also thought the headline a blaring mistake.
She read the headline to me in the phone message. I suspected that it might indeed have been a typo or a full-blown blunder. It happens. So I went to the newspaper’s library down the hall and had a look at the headline in Saturday’s edition myself.
What was it? “Pacific Symphony offers ‘Pictures’ at an exposition.” Yes, “exposition.” Note the punctuation.
A writer can’t hope for a much better headline than that — a pun that perfectly captures the gist of my review. I thanked the copy editor responsible for it when I saw it.
Anyway, I called the reader back, and attempted to explain the headline to her, but she was still having none of it. She said puns were supposed to be funny. Really?
Some readers are just a pain. You can’t let it get to you.