Not really, when you think about it. More just a way to fill inches of newsprint at almost no cost.
Or, as it turns out, a way for someone fantastically bored by their work to make life very slightly more fun.
That was what one of these columns became for an Irishman who calls himself Shocko. He admitted his disgraceful behaviour on Twitter recently, (coming clean only three years after the event, which I suppose is better late than never).
Here is the entry he claims as his first entirely fictional but accepted entry in the Metro newspaper in London:
|"Girl in Bring Back Hanging T-Shirt" - how on earth did they fall for it?|
Having succeeded with "Bearded man who used discarded burger cartons as castanets" as a name tag, (not to mention, "Shy guy with shin pads, a hurdle and 200+ tennis balls" [that hurdle is a stroke of genius]), your man decided to branch out into the good deeds column, (where more inches are filled for free, with accounts of good deeds supposedly witnessed on London streets):
As our hero observes, the good deeds section gave him the opportunity to conjure up some scenes so charming I'm sorry they didn't actually occur:
Finally, the great day dawned when Shocko managed to get items published in the good deeds column and the commuter crush one - two items on one day, hurray:
But this, it turned out, was the zenith. After that, although few more submissions slipped through, his glory days were behind him:
Rejections came thicker and faster; perhaps they had twigged somehow - Shocko speculates they'd noticed these things turned up always from the same IP address:
There was one final twist in the tale, when an unknown person managed to get a crush item published that concerned Shocko himself - the inventor of good deeds and crushes became the object of someone else's game. After considerable effort Shocko managed to discover who was responsible for turning the tables, but for that story you will need to go over to Twitter and look at the tweets of @shockproofbeats for mid December last year. If you do, you will also learn of his subsequent adventures with Nutella, which led to his being featured in no less a publication than the Daily Mail, (yes, wow).
But before you do speed across to Twitter, I'd like to point out the moral of the story (a recurring one on this blog), which is that Twitter doesn't have to be a cesspit; it can instead be a place of light-hearted frivolity. If only someone clever would come up with a way to let that cheerful part of Twitter - the idiotic fooling around bit - completely slice itself off from the "I Hate Trump", 'I'm Real Donald Trump", 'Well I Really Hate You", "Well I'm Going to Build a Wall", "Yeah, Well I Hate You Anyway" end of things, Twitter would become a force for almost unadulterated good. But I suppose it won't happen - as in every other area of life I imagine that on Twitter somehow there is no separating the delightful from the dross.