Here’s an experiment for you. Go to your favorite news site. Read a story involving a celebrity. Now review it again, and take note of this odd fact about print journalism:
At some point in the story, the person’s age will be randomly thrown into a sentence. By “randomly,” I mean that the person’s age will normally have nothing to do with the subject of the story; it’s just there. Usually it looks something like this:
“John Smith was spotted today shopping at Trader Joe’s in Santa Monica. Smith, 32, reportedly frequently shops at Trader Joe’s.”
Doesn’t that strike you as a little odd? It’s always bothered me. Well, I guess it’s an overstatement to say it bothers me; it’s just a little strange. We don’t do this in any other context, only in print journalism.
So I think we should just start doing it all the time, even in normal conversation. Something like this:
Our mailman, 42, is late today.
Is the Lovely Miss Courtney, 18, home yet?
Did you walk the dog, 4? (or as in the case of our former dog) – Did you walk the dog, 361?
As an added challenge for more advanced age-listers, you could list the ages of people who have long since died:
I was practicing a piece today written by Bach, 323.
Anyway, I’m not saying this is important by any means. It’s just a random observation by me, Charley, 48.