By Richard Peterson
Do you remember a while back that I republished "The World According to Student Bloopers?" I got the information from a column by Myrna Lyng in the Traill County Tribune at Mayville. She’s come up with some more bloopers. Here’s a recent column by Mrs. Lyng:
Awhile back I was experiencing a time crunch and, in a nice serendipitous coincidence, I came across a piece about students’ writing that amused me. So, with laziness in the ascendancy over originality, I borrowed from "The World According to Student Bloopers" for my column that week. Because of space limitations I ended the so-called history of the world in the 1490s, when Christopher Columbus was sweet-talking Queen Isabella into underwriting a little ocean voyage he had in mind.
Well, I’m in another time crunch and while I was looking for something else (there’s that serendipity again), there was the "bloopers" article. So here’s a brief account of world historical events from about 1500-1914, as described by slightly confused students in their classroom assignments.
"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 Pilgrim’s 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 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 War was the English put tacks in their tea. During the war, the Red Coats and Paul Revere was throwing balls over stone walls. Finally the colonists won the war and no longer had to pay for their 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 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 became the Father of Our Country. Then the Constitution of the United States was adopted to secure domestic hostility. Under the Constitution the people enjoyed the right to 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.’ He freed the slaves by signing 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. 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. The believed assinator was 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. Beethoven expired in 1827 and later died for this.
"France was a very serious state. The French Revolution was accomplished before it happened. 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.
"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 the rabbis. Charles Darwin was a naturalist who wrote "Organ of the Species." Madman Curie discovered radium. And Karl Marx became one of the Marx brothers.
"The First World War, caused by the assignation of the Arch-Duck by a surf, ushered in a new error in the anals of human history."
Well, there you have it — the history of the world, out of the mouths of babes. It makes a certain amount of sense, doesn’t it?
Maybe history, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder after all.