By Denise Tessier
Most of us by now have received forwarded emails about this upcoming calendar event: This year, July will have five Fridays, five Saturdays and five Sundays, an anomaly that reportedly occurs just once every 823 years. I can’t vouch for the report’s accuracy in terms of occurrence, but was reminded of it when finding something likely as rare in the morning Journal on June 15.
A top headline on A1 read:
“Rally Calls for Wiener To Resign”
And upon flipping over the A section that same day was this headline on A10:
“GOP Leader Calls for Weiner To Resign”
The first of these stories was local, about Bernalillo County Commissioner Michael Wiener, who at that point had been in Journal headlines more than a week after an inquiry into his so-called joking style. (The inquiry concluded that his comments did not create a hostile work environment.) The Journal weighed in with an editorial June 10 (“Commissioner Should Rein In His Tongue”).
The second story was national, about Rep. Anthony Weiner, D-N.Y., who’d been the focus of daily headlines even longer for sending lewd photos of himself to numerous women. Since then, of course, the New York Weiner has resigned. (And of all things, the GOP Leader in the aforementioned headline is the House speaker with the often-mispronounced name of Boehner.)
The verb phrases of the two headlines were, for all intents and purposes a rare symmetry, not exact because the “i” and the “e” in the men-of-shame’s names are mirror images of each other, but they’re equally pronounced.
I could relate when Leslie Linthicum wrote in a Sunday UpFront column of her unsuccessful attempts to ignore the double-vision of having national and local versions of what her headline writer called “Hot Dogs” (and to ignore the double-entendres that naturally attached themselves to their stories). “It’s really just an excuse to pull out the thesaurus and comb it for phallus puns,” she quipped before launching into a column about the actual differences in the behavior that led to these stories of two men in government office.
I won’t rehash what those were; Linthicum summarized them just fine. Suffice it to say that their symmetrical stories are coincidental curiosities which, it is hoped, we won’t have to see for another 832 years.