‘The World According to Student Bloopers’
by Richard Lederer
(Spring 1987, Verbatim, The Language Quarterly, Vol. XIII, No. 4)
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 through the U.S., from eighth grade through college. Read carefully, and you will learn a lot.
The inhabitants of ancient 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. They 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, once asked, “Am I my brother’s son?” God asked Abraham to sacrifice Isaac on Mount Montezuma. Jacob, son of Isaac, stole his brother’s birth mark. Jacob was a patriarch who brought up his twelve sons to be patriarchs. But they did not take to it. One of Jacob’s sons, Joseph, gave refuse to the Israelites.
Pharaoh forces 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 fought 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 name.
Socrates was a famous Greek teacher who went around giving people advice. They killed him. 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 Athens was democratic because 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 with the Persians, the Greeks were outnumbered because the Persians had more men.
Eventually, the Ramons conquered the Geeks. History calls people Romans because they never stayed in one place for very long. At Roman banquets, the guests wore garlics in their hair. Julius Caesar extinguished himself on the battlefields of Gaul. The Ides of March murdered him because they thought he was going to be made king. Nero was a cruel tyranny 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 Harold mustarded his troops before the Battle of Hastings, Joan of Arc was canonized by Bernard Shaw. 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 verses 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 Wittenburg for selling papal indulgences. He died a horrible death, being excommunicated by a bull. It was an age of great inventions and discoveries. Gutenberg invented the Bible. Another important invention was the circulation of blood.
The government of England was a limited mockery. Henry VIII found walking difficult because he had a abbess on his knee. Queen Elizabeth was a success because 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 at Windsor with his merry wives, writing tragedies, comedies, and errors. Writing at the same time as Shakespear was Miguel Cervantes. He wrote Donkey Hote. The next great author was John Milton. Milton wrote Paradise Lost. Then his wife died 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 this was known as Pilgrims Progress. When they landed at Plymouth Rock, they were greeted by the Indians, who came down the hill rolling their war hoops before them. The Indian squabs carried porpoises on their backs. Many of the Indian heroes were killed, along with their cabooses which proved very fatal to them.
One of the causes of the Revolutionary Wars was that the English put tacks in their tea. Also, the colonists would send parcels through the post without stamps. During the War, the Red Coats and Paul Revere was throwing balls over stone walls. The dogs were barking and the peacocks were 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 and Benjamin Franklin were two singers of the declaration of Independence. Franklin 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 Martha Curtis and in due time because the Father of our Country. The Constitution 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. the Fourteenth Amendment gave the ex-Negros citizenship. But the Clue Clux Clan would torcher and lynch the ex-Negroes and other innocent victims. It claimed it represented law and odor. 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 by John Wilkes Booth, a supposingly insane actor. This ruined Booth’s career.
Meanwhile in Europe, the enlightenment was a reasonable time. Voltaire invented electricity and also wrote a book called Candy. Gravity was invented by Isaac 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 serious state. The Marseillaise was the theme song of the French Revolution. During the Napoleonic Wars, the crowned heads of Europe were trembling in their shoes. Then the Spanish gorillas came down from the hills and nipped at Napoleon’s flanks. Napoleon wanted an heir to inherit his power, but since Josephine was a baroness, she couldn’t bear 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. Her reclining years and finally the end of her life were exemplary 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. Samuel Morse invented a code of telepathy. Louis Pasteur discovered a cure for rabbis. Charles Darwin was a naturalist who wrote the Organ of the Species. Madman Curie discovered radium. And Karl Marx became one of the Marx brothers. World War I, caused by the assignation of the Arch-Duck by a surf, ushered in a new error in human history.