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Prints Of a Guy

The Common Denominator In the Headlines

By Peter Carlson
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, January 26, 2005; Page C01

Local man rescues dog.

Local man finds lost family.

Local man arrested twice in same day for DUI.

Local Man doesn't have a publicist, but he gets more ink than Madonna or Michael Jackson. (Robert Neubecker - For The Washington Post)

Local Man is famous. He doesn't have a publicist, but he gets more ink than Madonna or Michael Jackson. In some newspapers, Local Man appears in more headlines than the president of the United States.

Local man discovers unnamed asteroid.

Local man's ministry a sign from God.

Judge finds local man incompetent.

Local Man is not, of course, just one man. Local Man is newspaper shorthand for somebody who lives nearby and has done something noteworthy but isn't famous enough to identify by name in a headline. Local Man comes from all walks of life. He comes in all shapes and sizes. He is the common man, the man on the street, the salt of the earth. Local Man is everyman. He is us.

He can be found wherever newspapers are printed in English:

In England: Local man up for top award.

In Canada: Local man fired shots at unwelcome visitors.

In Australia: Local man accused of trafficking eccies blows kisses to wife.

"Eccies" are ecstasy pills. Local Man was allegedly caught with 91,800 of them. As police carted him off to jail, he blew kisses to his wife and mouthed "I love you." Obviously, Local Man can get amorous in even the most inappropriate circumstances.

Local Man can be seen as a symbol of humanity in its current stage of evolution -- the descendant, literally or metaphorically, of Neanderthal Man and Cro-Magnon Man.

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