Like a dog chasing a stick thrown a great distance by a trebuchet, this week's tabloid stories are far-fetched.
Did the Queen catch her left hand in a closing door? Not if you believe this week's National Enquirer, which interprets her purple paw as a diagnosis of leukemia, prompting its "world exclusive" cover story: "Queen, 92, Dying." Predictably, the "secret diagnosis has Charles and William competing for the crown," reports the Enquirer, which views the Royal succession like a reality TV show competition, in which whoever wins the immunity challenge gets to be King. You'd think by now that someone would have told the Royals that The Act of Settlement of 1701 mandates the monarch's next in line as heir, regardless of who gets voted out by the palace tribe.
Equally beggaring belief is the Globe cover story about former husband and wife duo Aniston and Pitt, under the headline: "Jen & Brad Elope!" When they reunited briefly and awkwardly at Jennifer Aniston's 50th birthday party last month, the Globe reports: "They knew it was destiny and they belonged together." Because how else do you explain them both turning up at the same party she invited him to, if not destiny? So when Jen jetted to Mexico recently with friends (because why elope alone?) she sneaked away to tie the knot with Pitt in a secret ceremony. But wait – Brad's divorce from Angelina Jolie has not been finalized yet, so that would make him a bigamist if the story is true. "Bitter Angie goes berserk," says the Globe. Well, she would, wouldn't she?
Beverly Hills 90210 alum Luke Perry sadly died of a stroke earlier this month, and the tabloids are quick to point fingers. "Medical mistakes killed Luke Perry!" reports the Enquirer, in a story that fails to mention a single medical mistake, but instead blames Perry for not seeking medical care sooner – which, of course, may be difficult if you're having a stroke. The Globe doesn't beat around the bush, declaring: "Pigheaded Perry Killed himself!" Because when you suffer a stroke, you only have yourself to blame. I'm sure that's spelled out in Gray's Anatomy. Check it out (the reference book, not the TV series).
The tabloids' psychic medical reporting team is out in force again this week, with the Globe reporting that actor-director Michael Douglas has "7 Months to Live!" Not six months. Not eight. He'll die in October. Put it in your calendar. He's reportedly lost 21 pounds in just six weeks, according to the opening sentence – or lost that weight "in the last few months," as the story relates two sentences later. Take your pick. Medical science is like that.
This has led "medical experts to believe Douglas's cancer has come roaring back and pals fearing he'll be dead in seven months!" Because "pals" can be relied upon for a precise medical diagnosis and life expectancy prediction. Like the Queen, his cancer diagnosis is entirely based on photos, in this case showing Douglas looking thinner – and healthier, fitter and younger – than he has in years. "This does not look good," says a doctor who has never treated the actor, but who knows weight loss when he sees it.
Maybe Douglas can take comfort from Nick Nolte, who was given "four weeks to live" by the Globe team of medical reporters in June 2016, or former president Bill Clinton, given "7 months to live" – clearly a figure the Globe likes, perhaps because it suggests pin-point accuracy – in January 2017.
The Globe returns to its wonderfully-plotted version of the Royal soap opera with its story revealing: "Queen Smacks Down Defiant Meghan!" The Queen has supposedly ordered Meghan "to take intense training in Royal protocol and British etiquette" and issued an ultimatum: "Toe the royal line or get out!" Because etiquette lessons would solve everything, naturally.
But Her Majesty evidently issued a further threat: "Harry's wife faces banishment after breaking promise to finally behave." Banishment to where? Brighton? Bradford? Bangladesh? Seriously? Surely it's only a matter of time before the Globe reports that Prince Charles has warned Meghan to shape up, or he'll deal with her the way he dealt with Princess Diana. Now that's a plot twist the Globe could really run with.
The glossy magazines thankfully eschew frippery and bring us the hard-hitting serious news of the day: People magazine devotes its cover to TV's Bachelor "Risking It All For Love" (isn't that the premise of the entire series anyway?) while Us magazine gives up its cover to the love lives of two songbirds: "Hooked On Mr. Wrong . . . " (J. Lo's engagement to possible love-cheat ex-Yankee baseball star Alex Rodriguez) " . . . & Mr. Right" (Taylor Swift's romance with "chill" British actor Joe Alwyn).
"The Bachelor Blows Up!" screams People, though apparently the show was not attacked by ISIS. It seems that contestant "Cassie rejected Colton – then changed her mind," which is clearly more important than any problems with Boeing's 737 MAX 8 jets, the imploding Brexit, or the impending Mueller report.
Fortunately we have the crack investigative team at Us mag to tell us that rocker Pink wore it best (and still looked like she was wearing a garish nightgown), that singer Dido "couldn't live without jeans" (maybe she meant genes?), that actress Lorraine Toussaint carries PG Tips teabags and a can of evaporated milk in her Louis Vuitton bag, and that the stars are just like us: they pick up their dry cleaning, carry their own luggage, and pump iron at the gym. Illuminating, as ever.
Breaking news came too late for the Globe, however, which prematurely reports that a nail salon in Perkins Township, Ohio, was ordered by local officials to take down its business sign: "Hand Jobs." Dawn Moon explained the choice of name for her salon: "If you go in and get your nose done, it's called a nose job, right? Well, you come in and get your hands done, it's a hand job." After the Globe went to press, the Perkins zoning board reversed its decision, concluding that Hand Jobs Salon is an acceptable name for the nail spa. It's good to see Hand Jobs have a happy ending.
Onwards and downwards . . .