Fun facts give filler writers due credit
Back in the good old days of my misspent youth (When I became well known for asking President Lincoln’s wife, “Other than that, Ma’am, how was the opera?”) newspapers printed what were called “fillers.” Those were tiny one-liners that came in handy for linotype operators when they had to fill empty spaces.
Most fillers moved on the wires of news services and were stored away by guys like me so they could be rewritten a dozen or more times. Here’s an example:
“The phrase ‘rule of thumb’ came from an old English law which said a husband couldn’t beat his wife with anything wider than his thumb.”
So today I’m opening up my half-vast storehouse of factual fillers in the hope you will help me celebrate the wonderful world of prize-winning journalism. It’s time we filler writers got our just rewards.
Here are a few for your own files in case you want to join the crusade. (The parentheses are my own.)
Bob Huber is a retired journalist living in Portales.