Misreading misleading headline

Drinker throws glasses and stool in pub brawl
16 December 2012

Every week, a copy of Wandsworth Guardian is shoved through my letterbox. This is an improvement, of sorts, since copies were previously dumped near the communal entrance, but now, the paper is delivered to each flat in the block. I usually scan through the first few pages to see if there are any big local news, and sometimes it can be quite useful, and at other times, it can be quite parochial. Sometimes, the headline can be odd, and this article, titled Drinker throws glasses and stool in pub brawl is a good example.

Terrified punters, the article started, and I would be terrified, if I had been in a pub and someone started to throw glasses and stool. The article continued that the customers had to run for cover after a drinker started throwing pint glasses and bar stools at fellow customers. Oh, I see, not that kind of stool.

I immediately associated stool with faecal matter, because it was in the singular, and while unusual, it is not unknown for people to throw excrement. As the article made clear, he not only threw glasses, and I didn’t take it to mean pairs of spectacles, but also stools, plural, so had the headline stated glasses and stools, then this kind of misreading would not have occurred. Or perhaps I’m just odd in associating stool with that kind of stool in this context.