Seeing history through a child's eyes
Published: Saturday, August 23rd, 2003
In my relentless quest for award-winning journalism, I often explore the zany world of “kidspeak,” which is teacher jargon for stuff kids write on test papers. My wife Marilyn’s all-time favorite is, “I just love Tommy Buford. He’s tall, dark, and on probation.” So for my in-depth report today I’ve selected a whole raft of real live quotes plucked from sixth-grade history test papers and Sunday school notes. Those of you who grumble that our present-day educational system has gone to hell in a hand basket can finally sit back and relax, knowing our future is in good hands, as follows: l “Ancient Egypt was inhabited by mummies, and they all wrote in hydraulics. They lived in the Sarah Dessert which had such a bad climate the inhabitants all lived elsewhere.” l “Moses led the Hebrew slaves to the Red Sea where they made unleavened bread, which is bread without any ingredients. Moses went up on Mount Cyanide to get the l0 Commandments, but he died before he ever reached Canada.” l “Solomon had 300 wives and 700 porcupines.” l “The Greeks were a highly sculptured people, and without them we wouldn’t have any history. The Greeks also had myths, which are female moths.” l “Socrates was a famous Greek teacher who went around giving people advice, so they killed him. Socrates died from an overdose of wedlock. After his death, his career suffered a dramatic decline.” l “In the Olympic Games, Greeks ran races, jumped, hurled biscuits, and threw the java.” l “Julius Caesar extinguished himself on the battlefields of Gaul. The Ides of March murdered him, because he wanted to be king. Dying, he gasped out, ‘Tee hee, Brutus.’” l “Joan of Arc was burnt to a steak and was canonized by George Bernard Shaw.” l “Queen Elizabeth was the ‘Virgin Queen.’ As a queen she was a success. When she exposed herself before her troops, they all shouted, ‘Hurrah.’” l “It was an age of great inventions and discoveries. Gutenberg invented removable type and the Bible. Another important invention was the circulation of blood. Sir Walter Raleigh is a historical figure, because he invented cigarettes and started smoking.” l “Sir Francis Drake circumcised the world with a l00-foot clipper.” l “The greatest writer of the Renaissance was William Shakespeare. He never made much money and is famous only because of his plays. He wrote tragedies, comedies, and hysterectomies, all in Islamic pentameter. Romero and Juliet are an example of a heroic couple. Romero’s last wish was to be laid by Juliet.” l “Writing at the same time as Shakespeare, Miguel Cervantes wrote ‘Donkey Hotay.’ The next great author was John Milton, who wrote ‘Paradise Lost.’ Then his wife died, and he wrote ‘Paradise Regained.’” l “Delegates from the original 13 states formed the Contented Congress. Thomas Jefferson, a Virgin, and Benjamin Franklin were two singers of the Declaration of Independence. Franklin discovered electricity by rubbing two cats backward and declared, ‘A horse divided against itself cannot stand.’ Franklin died in 1790, and is still dead.” l “Abraham Lincoln became America’s greatest precedent. Lincoln’s mother died in infancy, and he was born in a log cabin that he built with his own hands. Abraham Lincoln freed the slaves by singing the Emasculation Proclamation. On the night of April 14, 1865, Lincoln went to the theater and got shot in his seat by one of the actors. They believe the assassinator was John Wilkes Booth, a supposing insane actor. This ruined Booth’s career.” l “Johann Bach wrote a great many musical compositions and had a large number of children. In between he practiced on an old spinster that he kept up in his attic. 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.” l “Beethoven wrote music even though he was deaf. He was so deaf, he wrote loud music. Beethoven expired in l827, and later died for this.” l “The l9th Century was a time of a great many thoughts and inventions. Cyrus McCormick invented the McCormick rapper, Louis Pasteur discovered a cure for rabbits, and Charles Darwin, a naturalist, wrote ‘The Organ of the Species.’” Bob Huber is a retired journalist living in Portales. Bob Huber is a retired journalist living in Portales.
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