Another classic G. George Ostrom column...
Very few teachers in grade, high, or colleges save their student’s class reports but Richard Lederer began doing that many years ago and maybe he has earned more money from his columns and books than from teaching school. Two books are called “Anguished English.” Several years ago before Lederer got famous, a friend mailed a sample of his stuff. Enjoyed it immensely so when I found some in files this week, decided to share.
This piece is called, “The World According to Student Bloopers” compiled by Lederer while teaching at 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 eighth grade through college level. Read carefully, and you will learn a lot.
The inhabitants of Egypt were called mummies. The lived in the Sarah Dessert and traveled by Camelot.
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 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 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 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 Ulysesses 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. Socrates died from an overdose of wedlock. The government of Athens was democratic because people took the law into their own hands. When the Greeks fought with the Persians, the Greeks were outnumbered because the Persians had more men.
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, and victims of the Black Death grew boobs on their necks.
Finally, Magna Carta provided that no free man should be hanged twice for the same offense.
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 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 invention was the circulation of blood. Sir Francis Drake circumcised the world with a 100-foot clipper.