Even Non-Weird Stories Can Be Weird

Yes, I know I’m weird. I know I see things differently than most people. I know I notice things that …um… normal people mostly wouldn’t. And I skim a lot of news stories while searching out illustrations of the Human Condition.

For Instance

While skimming the news yesterday while writing this week’s issue, I came across a story that was just too horribly tragic to even think of including. But that doesn’t mean that I didn’t notice something completely creepy and weird about it.

The story was about a limousine full of women heading for a bridal shower in the San Francisco Bay Area. As they were on the westbound side of the San Mateo-Hayward Bridge in Foster City, Calif., this weekend, the limo caught fire. The driver pulled over immediately and started rescuing the women, but the fire was so intense that he couldn’t get them all: five, including the bride, were killed. The sad story appeared in the San Francisco Chronicle with three reporters in the byline.

Naturally that’s not the sort of story I use for True. So what could possibly be creepy and weird about that? Nothing! Nothing at all.

Except… at the bottom of the story, the Chronicle noted that three other staff writers contributed to the tragic story. And there he was, the name of one of those reporters:

Trapper Byrne... contributed to this report.

Trapper Byrne contributed to the report. Say his name out loud to get the full impact.


Yeah, I notice weird stuff that the average person wouldn’t.


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12 Comments on “Even Non-Weird Stories Can Be Weird

  1. I noticed it the second I read it, didn’t have to say it out loud. If you’re weird, I guess you are not the only one. I notice such things all the time, too. Normally when I point them out to others, I have to explain what I am seeing (some people are just so dense). As for not being ‘normal’ or ‘average’, who wants to be like that, it’s boring. It’s us ‘unusual’ people that make life interesting.

    Keep up the good work.

    I did figure a lot of my readers are weird too! -rc

  2. Very very tragic and the news shows around my area here just kept repeating that there was 1 one more person in the car than was allowed by law.

    Like that one person was at fault.

    Or that it was any factor in the incident whatever. -rc

  3. Can I say that perhaps your “weirdness” is a good thing for us? So, let it be. Let it be….

    I sure didn’t say anything about wanting to change anything! 🙂 -rc

  4. It may be that I am terribly dense (although I am generally considered the opposite, and holding a PhD in biochemistry may support the latter view), it may be that I haven’t meet my sleep quota in the last months (infants have different needs, compared to us, grownups), or maybe simply the fact that I don’t live in the US. In any case, I don’t get the point about the creepiness.

    And the first two pages of Google search turn out only profiles for people named like this, one being the SF Chronicle editor, another being a Wash editor.

    While your written English is excellent, I’ll guess it is not your first language. We have Trapper Byrne (pronounced “Trap-her Burn”) as a reporter on a story where women were trapped and burned. -rc

  5. A tragic story, but 6 writers/reporters to produce one story, now that I did find weird.

    It’s not surprising. It’s a big story, and they were surely in a hurry to get it posted with as much information as possible. So they simply split up the work, such as assigning one to get information from the highway patrol, another from the fire department, another to get reaction from the limo company owner, another to check their license status, etc. In the “good old days” they didn’t bother giving that side work credit. -rc

  6. Agreed, it was a tragic thing to happen. In the article I read, the driver stated one of the ladies knocked on the divider-window saying, ‘smoke’. He thought she was asking if they could smoke. The second time she knocked, saying ‘smoke’, he noticed the smoke and started to get them out.

    Makes one wonder, how much time between knocks was wasted, when perhaps the driver could have stopped sooner.

    Assuming it really happened that way, it was a natural assumption for him to make. Just goes to show that when there’s a real emergency, you must communicate the facts quickly and clearly. -rc

  7. I’ve felt better about being ‘different’ since realizing that NORMAL is a setting on a washing machine.

    Which explains why some are oh so Delicate. -rc

  8. I read the headlines about the incident and am incensed that part of the issue seems to be that the limo was under recall, but unrepaired. There is just so much trust required in hiring any company and many look first at price rather than reliability.

    If the flaw that’s the subject of the recall has something to do with it catching fire, sure: that’s a worthy data point. If not, then it’s simple mongering. I hadn’t heard this before, so I looked up what the recall was. Tires. -rc

  9. Jean from Santa Monica’s point about saying “smoke” reminds me of a problem that I thought of years ago, although it hasn’t happened yet.

    My wife likes ducks. We have some plush toys (not real ducks). If I ask her how to get down from a horse, she says you don’t; you get down from a duck. Anytime the word Duck comes up in conversion, she quacks. (Did you see the Daffy Duck cartoon? Quack…) And so on.

    My concern is that these habits could bite us. We could be walking in the park. I see a baseball headed towards her head. Helpfully, I warn her by yelling the first thing that comes to mind. “Duck!” Automatically, she replies: “Quack!”

    Again, hasn’t happened yet. Married 22 years (and still happy about it!) Am I just being paranoid?

    I don’t think so: it’s a reasonable scenario. So start programming yourself to say something else, like “Take cover!” or whatever you think will get the quickest reaction. -rc

  10. I drive that very same bridge every morning and evening for work.

    I must admit that the part of that tale the really irked me was the way they keep focusing on that ‘extra person,’ as if the extra person had anything to do with it.

    I don’t know what actually caused it, but I’m pretty sure it didn’t have to do with an extra person riding in the vehicle.

    Keep up the awesome commentary, Randy.


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