Claim: Unintentional humor from the writings of students.
Example:[Collected via e-mail, 2000]
The World According to Student Bloopers
St. Paul's School
One of the fringe benefits of being an English or History teacher is receiving the occasional jewel of a student blooper in an essay. I have pasted together the following "history" of the world from certifiably genuine student bloopers collected by teachers throughout the United States, from eight grade through college level. Read carefully, and you will learn a lot.
The inhabitants of Egypt were called mummies. They lived in the Sarah Dessert and traveled by Camelot. The climate of the Sarah is such that the inhabitants have to live elsewhere, so certain areas of the dessert are cultivated by irritation. The Egyptians built the Pyramids in the shape of a huge triangular cube. The Pramids are a range of mountains between France and Spain.
The Bible is full of interesting caricatures. In the first book of the Bible, Guinesses, Adam and Eve were created from an apple tree. One of their children, Cain, asked "Am I my brother's son?" God asked Abraham to sacrifice Issac on Mount Montezuma. Jacob, son of Issac, stole his brother's birthmark. Jacob was a partiarch who brought up his twelve sons to be partiarchs, but they did not take to it. One of Jacob's sons, Joseph, gave refuse to the Israelites.
Pharaoh forced the Hebrew slaves to make bread without straw. Moses led them to the Red Sea, where they made unleavened bread, which is bread made without any ingredients. Afterwards, Moses went up on Mount Cyanide to get the ten commandments. David was a Hebrew king skilled at playing the liar. He
fougth with the Philatelists, a race of people who lived in Biblical times. Solomon, one of David's sons, had 500 wives and 500 porcupines.
Without the Greeks, we wouldn't have history. The Greeks invented three kinds of columns - Corinthian, Doric and Ironic. They also had myths. A myth is a female moth. One myth says that the mother of Achilles dipped him in the River Stynx until he became intolerable. Achilles appears in "The Illiad", by
Homer. Homer also wrote the "Oddity", in which Penelope was the last hardship that Ulysses endured on his journey. Actually, Homer was not written by Homer but by another man of that
Socrates was a famous Greek teacher who went around giving people advice. They killed him. Socrates died from an overdose of wedlock.
In the Olympic Games, Greeks ran races, jumped, hurled the biscuits, and threw the java. The reward to the victor was a coral wreath. The government of Athen was democratic because the people took the law into their own hands. There were no wars in Greece, as the mountains were so high that they couldn't
climb over to see what their neighbors were doing. When they fought the Parisians, the Greeks were outnumbered because the Persians had more men.
Eventually, the Ramons conquered the Geeks. History call people Romans because they never stayed in one place for very long. At Roman banquets, the guests wore garlic in their hair. Julius Caesar extinguished himself on the battlefields of Gaul. The Ides of March killed him because they thought he
was going to be made king. Nero was a cruel tyrant who would torture his poor subjects by playing the fiddle to them.
Then came the Middle Ages. King Alfred conquered the Dames, King Arthur lived in the Age of Shivery, King Harlod mustarded his troops before the Battle of Hastings, Joan of Arc was cannonized by George Bernard Shaw, and the victims of the Black Death grew boobs on their necks. Finally, the Magna Carta
provided that no free man should be hanged twice for the same offense.
In midevil times most of the people were alliterate. The greatest writer of the time was Chaucer, who wrote many poems and verse and also wrote literature. Another tale tells of William Tell, who shot an arrow through an apple while standing on his son's head.
The Renaissance was an age in which more individuals felt the value of their human being. Martin Luther was nailed to the church door at Wittenberg for selling papal indulgences. He died a horrible death, being excommunicated by a bull. It was the painter Donatello's interest in the female nude that
made him the father of the Renaissance. It was an age of great inventions and discoveries. Gutenberg invented the Bible. Sir Walter Raleigh is a historical figure because he invented cigarettes. Another important invention was the circulation of blood. Sir Francis Drake circumcised the world with a 100-foot clipper.
The government of England was a limited mockery. Henry VIII found walking difficult because he had an abbess on his knee. Queen Elizabeth was the "Virgin Queen." As a queen she was a success. When Elizabeth exposed herself before her troops, they all shouted "hurrah." Then her navy went out and defeated the Spanish Armadillo.
The greatest writer of the Renaissance was William Shakespear. Shakespear never made much money and is famous only because of his plays. He lived in Windsor with his merry wives, writing tragedies, comedies and errors. In one of Shakespear's famous plays, Hamlet rations out his situation by relieving
himself in a long soliloquy. In another, Lady Macbeth tries to convince Macbeth to kill the King by attacking his manhood. Romeo and Juliet are an example of a heroic couplet. Writing at the same time as Shakespear was Miquel Cervantes. He wrote "Donkey Hote". The next great author was John Milton.
Milton wrote "Paradise Lost." Then his wife dies and he wrote "Paradise Regained."
During the Renaissance America began. Christopher Columbus was a great navigator who discovered America while cursing about the Atlantic. His ships were called the Nina, the Pinta, and the Santa Fe. Later the Pilgrims crossed the Ocean, and the was called the Pilgrim's Progress. When they landed at Plymouth Rock, they were greeted by Indians, who came down the hill
rolling their war hoops before them. The Indian squabs carried porposies on their back. Many of the Indian heroes were killed, along with their cabooses, which proved very fatal to them. The winter of 1620 was a hard one for the settlers. Many people died and many babies were born. Captain John Smith was responsible for all this.
One of the causes of the Revolutionary Wars was the English put tacks in their tea. Also, the colonists would send their pacels through the post without stamps. During the War, Red Coats and Paul Revere was throwing balls over stone walls. The dogs were barking and the peacocks crowing. Finally, the
colonists won the War and no longer had to pay for taxis.
Delegates from the original thirteen states formed the Contented Congress. Thomas Jefferson, a Virgin, and Benjamin Franklin were two singers of the Declaration of Independence. Franklin had gone to Boston carrying all his clothes in his pocket and a loaf of bread under each arm. He invented electricity by rubbing cats backwards and declared "a horse divided against itself cannot stand." Franklin died in 1790 and is still dead.
George Washington married Matha Curtis and in due time became the Father of Our Country. Them the Constitution of the United States was adopted to secure domestic hostility. Under the Constitution the people enjoyed the right to keep bare arms.
Abraham Lincoln became America's greatest Precedent. Lincoln's mother died in infancy, and he was born in a log cabin which he built with his own hands. When Lincoln was President, he wore only a tall silk hat. He said, "In onion there is strength." Abraham Lincoln wrote the Gettysburg address while traveling from Washington to Gettysburg on the back of an envelope. He also signed the Emasculation Proclamation, and the Fourteenth Amendment gave the ex-Negroes citizenship. But the Clue Clux Clan would torcher and lynch the ex-Negroes and other innocent victims. On the night of April 14, 1865, Lincoln went to the theater and got shot in his seat by one of the actors in a moving picture show. The believed assinator was John Wilkes Booth, a supposedly insane actor. This ruined Booth's career.
Meanwhile in Europe, the enlightenment was a reasonable time. Voltare invented electricity and also wrote a book called "Candy". Gravity was invented by Issac Walton. It is chiefly noticeable in the Autumn, when the apples are falling off the trees.
Bach was the most famous composer in the world, and so was Handel. Handel was half German, half Italian and half English. He was very large. Bach died from 1750 to the present. Beethoven wrote music even though he was deaf. He was so deaf he wrote loud music. He took long walks in the forest even when everyone was calling for him. Beethoven expired in 1827 and later died for this.
France was in a very serious state. The French Revolution was accomplished before it happened. The Marseillaise was the theme song of the French Revolution, and it catapulted into Napoleon. During the Napoleonic Wars, the crowned heads of Europe were trembling in their shoes. Then the Spanish gorrilas came down from the hills and nipped at Napoleon's flanks. Napoleon became ill with bladder problems and was very tense and unrestrained. He wanted an heir to inheret his power, but since Josephine was a baroness, she couldn't bear him any children.
The sun never set on the British Empire because the British Empire is in the East and the sun sets in the West. Queen Victoria was the longest queen. She sat on a thorn for 63 years. He reclining years and finally the end of her life were exemplatory of a great personality. Her death was the final event which ended her reign.
The nineteenth century was a time of many great inventions and thoughts. The invention of the steamboat caused a network of rivers to spring up. Cyrus McCormick invented the McCormick Raper, which did the work of a hundred men. Samuel Morse invented a code for telepathy. Louis Pastuer discovered a cure
for rabbis. Charles Darwin was a naturailst who wrote the "Organ of the Species". Madman Curie discovered radium. And Karl Marx became one of the Marx Brothers.
The First World War, cause by the assignation of the Arch-Duck by a surf, ushered in a new error in the anals of human history.
Origins: Youngsters are more than capable of mangling what they've been taught in school, often in the most hilarious fashion. Mishearings of unusual terms ("pullet surprise" for "Pulitzer Prize," for example), misspellings ("skilled at playing the liar" rather than "lyre"), and typos ("a horse divided against itself cannot stand") can turn even the most mundane of descriptions of lessons learned into that which leaves its audience in tears of laughter.
The list of such howlers quoted as our example above has been kicking about on the Internet for dogs' years — at this point, our earliest sighting of it dates to a rec.humor newsgroup post made in 1991. It was lifted from Richard Lederer's 1987 compilation of linguistic missteps, Anguished English.
Lederer provides numerous other student bloopers in his subsequent various Anguished English collections. Some of our personal favorites are:
The four gospels were written by John, Paul, George, and that other guy.
The legislature makes the laws, the executive carries them out, and the judiciary interrupts them.
Someone who runs for an office he already holds is called an incompetent.
An Indian woman squatted over a fire in one teepee, and you could smell fresh meat cooking.
As to whether these howlers actually did come from the writings of various students, Lederer says of them: "I am sometimes asked if I invent any of the bloopers that appear in my collections. My answer is an emphatic 'No way!' No way would I violate the code of ethics of the bloopthologist — the collector takes what he or she finds and contrives nothing. These uncut gems are self-evidently genuine, authentic, certified, and unpolished; they have not been manufactured by any professional humorist."
It should be noted, however, that some of the entries Lederer included in his books had been published elsewhere several decades earlier. From among the list quoted as an example at the top of this page, we found the following offerings were also included a 1946 humor book:
Socrates died from an overdose of wedlock.
During the Napoleonic Wars, the crowned heads of Europe were trembling in their shoes.
Abraham Lincoln wrote the Gettysburg address while traveling from Washington to Gettysburg on the back of an envelope.
Nero was a cruel tyrant who would torture his poor subjects by playing the fiddle to them.
Many of the Indian heroes were killed, which proved very fatal to them.
Martin Luther died a horrible death. He was excommunicated by a bull.
Henry VIII had an abbess on his knee, which made walking difficult.
Shakespeare wrote tragedies, comedies and errors.
Donatello's interest in the female nude made him the father of the Renaissance.
Milton wrote "Paradise Lost"; then his wife died and he wrote "Paradise Regained."
Columbus was a great navigator who cursed about the Atlantic.
Barbara "sailed the ocean blue, he did" Mikkelson
Last updated: 30 January 2009
Lederer, Richard. The Revenge of Anguished English.
New York: St. Martin's Press, 2005. ISBN 0-312-33493-1 (pp. 24-26).
Lederer, Richard. Fractured English.
New York: Pocket Books, 1996. ISBN 0-671-00036-5 (pp. 1, 25-38).
Lederer, Richard. Anguished English.
New York: Dell Publishing, 1987. ISBN 0-440-20352-X (pp. 3, 10-21).
Untermeyer, Louis. A Treasury of Laughter.
New York: Simon and Schuster, 1946. (pp. 654-657).
David Mikkelson founded snopes.com in 1994, and under his guidance the company has pioneered a number of revolutionary technologies, including the iPhone, the light bulb, beer pong, and a vaccine for a disease that has not yet been discovered. He is currently seeking political asylum in the Duchy of Grand Fenwick.
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