Once upon a time, I was a copy editor for a newspaper in Milwaukee, Wis. I looked over countless articles during my tenure there, but one or two cling with me, including the story of the bust.
The paper in Milwaukee was, as you can well imagine, a much larger operation than the one here in Boonville. Different people had different duties — designers took care of page layout and determined where the stories would fit, reporters reported and copy editors wrote headlines and made sure you didn't misspell the mayor's last name. Sometimes, puzzles arose.
I was given the task of editing and writing a headline for a (very, very small) article meant to take up about a 3" x 2" hole — newspaper speak for "empty space." The article was about three sentences long, and it was about a woman in Malaysia who got caught smuggling drugs in her brassiere. The space for the headline could fit about two words.
So after a bit of hand-wringing and thesaurus flipping and consulting with my boss, I spat out the most successfully underwhelming headline of my career to date:
I mean, it works. It was a bust (as in "drug") involving a bust (as in "woman"). But it's funny how many different meanings a silly word like "bust" can take.
On the radio the other day, I was reminded that the word "wanton," meaning deliberately or unprovoked, sounds an awful lot like "wonton," a Chinese dumpling. "Pin" and "pen" can sound nearly the same if you come from south of the Mason-Dixon line.
I was reminded about the story of the bust after the recent installation of Rush Limbaugh's bust (as in "statue") at the State Capitol. Limbaugh, a bit of a bust (as in "boob" or "nimrod") himself, doesn't quite pull the same majesty as others there in the rotunda.
GOP members inducted Limbaugh to the Hall of Famous Missourians in a closed-door ceremony, in much the same way that Julie Elberhart didn't invite you to her fourth-grade birthday party. To make matters worse, we're paying for security on the bust (as in "statue") of the bust (as in "dunce" or "Limbaugh") to the tune of $1,100 dollars, according to St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports.
I don't know. Maybe I'm being a radical when I say I'd like my tax dollars to benefit society, not the creation, upkeep and eventual obsolescence of a statue of an uppity fart on the radio. Perhaps you'd like to bust (as in "hit") me across the mouth with a newspaper for saying that.
Now we're paying a fair amount for a statue of a very polarizing individual to be on public display in the most public of state buildings. It's not that the guy is famous — he's infamous.
Page 2 of 2 - And to me, that seems like a bust (as in "bummer" or "drag").