I'm not much of a collector, unless you count moldy socks. Art? For those richer. Wine? For those skinnier. Baseball cards? I did it once -- but "once" was 1955.
Yet newspaper headlines keep turning up in my files and on my office walls. They are delicious for the laughs that they induce -- often without meaning to.
Who could ever throw away the headline that sat atop a story in the New York Post about 20 years ago?
Seems a block of frozen toilet flushing liquid had fallen from a plane passing high above the state of Washington. The headline:
"Chicken Little Was Right."
Or what about the classic from the early days of USA Today, when that journal was trying hard (too hard?) to make every headline a super- grabber?
Atop a story about male and female attitudes toward a certain political candidate, a headline writer offered:
"Men, Women Still Different."
Some heads are on my bulletin board because they have personal meaning.
One year, our family was on vacation in South Carolina when Hurricane Bob hit. I figured a local headline was speaking about me, not the storm, when it said:
"Downgraded Bob Sloshes North."
I still adore the headline that was plopped on top of a letter to the editor. The issue was the temperament of those who write for newspapers. A citizen decided that some of us actually might not run over our grandmothers to get a story. The headline said it in a form for the ages:
"Journalists Aren't So Bad After All."
Yet all of these headlines are circa 1980, or earlier. Have recent heads been as funny? Has the Internet made it easier to find out?
My researcher, Samantha Ganey, found a British Web site called www.quotations.co.uk. If you're having a bad day, visit "Features." Your day will get a lot better.
To save you some clicking, here are several of my favorites from that collection:
"Plot to Kill Officer Had Vicious Side."
"Infertility Unlikely To Be Passed On."
"Study Finds Sex, Pregnancy Link."
"Survey Finds Dirtier Subways After Cleaning Jobs Were Cut."
"Alcohol Ads Promote Drinking."
"Tomatoes Come in Big, Little, Medium Sizes."
"Malls Try to Attract Shoppers."
"Official: Only Rain Will Cure Drought."
"Teenage Girls Often Have Babies Fathered by Men."
"Low Wages Said To Be Key to Poverty."
"Man Shoots Neighbor With Machete."
"Dirty-Air Cities Far Deadlier Than Clean Ones, Study Shows."
"Bundle Up When Out in the Cold."
"Bible Church's Focus Is the Bible."
"Clinton Pledges Restraint in Use of Nuclear Weapons."
"Court Rules Boxer Shorts Are Indeed Underwear."
"Biting Nails Can Be Sign of Tenseness in a Person."
"Fish Lurk in Streams."
"Something Went Wrong in Jet Crash, Expert Says."
And my favorite . . .
"Lack of Brains Hinders Research."
Why stop there? Here are some more that Samantha unearthed:
"Honeymoon Trip on Titanic Was Eventful Night."
"Blind Woman Gets New Kidney From Dad She Hasn't Seen in Years."
"New Phones Will Work Better If They're Answered."
"New Bar Exam To Include Test of Legal Skills."
"Heat Wave Linked To Temperatures."
"Panda Mating Fails; Veterinarian Takes Over."
"Key Witness Takes Fifth in Liquor Probe."
"High Speed Train Could Reach Valley in Five Years."
"Marijuana Issue Sent to Joint Committee."
"Check With the Doctor Before Getting Sick."
"Seek Help, Confide In Spouse Before Embarking On Affair."
"Man Found Dead in Cemetery."
"Wives Kill Most Spouses in Chicago."
"Missouri Gas Chamber Is Unsafe."
"Teen Sex Delayed When Dad's Around."
"Chicago Checking On Elderly in Heat."
"Alcohol Frequently Seen in Cases."
"Oil, Gas Shortage Keys to Energy Crisis."
"Police Shoot Man With Knife."
"Women in Political Campaigns To Be Explored at Workshops."
"Lazy Japanese Men Blamed for Falling Birth Rate."
"Rest of the Year May Not Follow January."
"Despite Our Best Efforts, Black Employment Still Rising."
"Capital Punishment Bill Called 'Death Oriented.' "
"Transportation Department To Hold Public Meeting On I-49."
"Beheading Can Cause Kids' Stress."
"Death Causes Loneliness, Feeling of Isolation."
"Neo-Nazi Bomb Kills Young Man; Mom Angry."
"High Court OKs Extra Time for Sex Crimes."
"Reverend Jones Will Be Concentrated Today."
And the one that should cause every headline writer to lash a dictionary to his chest permanently . . .
"Kamikazi Speller Wins National Bee."