If you’re a fan of lousy literature, you’re in luck: Here are two
intentionally bad first lines of nonexistent novels.
As he caressed her hair, cheek, forehead, chin, collarbone, shoulder, upper arm, and
stomach, she knew that her
decision to take Octoman as
a lover was the correct one. L. C.
If Vicky Walters had known
that ordering an extra shot of espresso in her grande non-fat sugar free one pump raspberry syrup two pumps vanilla syrup soy latte that Wednesday would lead to her death and subsequent rebirth as a vampire, she probably would have at least gotten whipped cream. M. C.
From the Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest
My sister-in-law was teaching Sunday school class. The topic for the day: Easter Sunday and the
resurrection of Christ.
“What did Jesus do on this day?” she asked. There was no response,
so she gave her students a hint:
“It starts with the letter R.”
One boy blurted, “Recycle!”
Mari-Lynn Finley, Los Angeles, California
Just before the final exam in
my college finance class, a less-than-stellar student approached me.
“Can you tell me what grade
I would need to get on the exam
to pass the course?” he asked.
I gave him the bad news. “The exam is worth 100 points. You would need 113 points to earn a D.”
“OK,” he said. “And how many points would I need to get a C?”
Aimee Prawitz, Sycamore, Illinois
In college, my freshman-year roommate was in ROTC and came from a long line of military men. Trask (his last name) used that
heritage to lord it over me. But I had the last laugh.
One night, he returned to the dorm in his perfectly pressed
uniform, his newly acquired name tag in his hand. Reluctantly, he showed it to me. In large gold letters was printed: TRASH.
Gary Severson, Nooksack, Washington
A first-grade teacher can’t
believe her student isn’t hepped up about the Super Bowl. “It’s a huge event. Why aren’t you excited?”
“Because I’m not a football fan. My parents love basketball, so I do too,” says the student.
“Well, that’s a lousy reason,” says the teacher. “What if your parents were morons? What would you be then?”
“Then I’d be a football fan.”
For Martin Luther King Day,
I asked my fifth graders how they’d make the world a better place. One said, “I’d make potato skins a main dish rather than an appetizer.”
Manalapan, New Jersey
Try as she might, our granddaughter couldn’t grasp the concept of potty training. Then one day … Success! Jumping up and down,
she threw her arms in the air
and yelled in excitement, “I went potty all by myself, and now I can
go to Harvard!”
Jan and Jack McCloskey,
San Francisco, California
Gauging from these exam
excerpts, my college dance students had better stick with pliés.
“The costumes were vindictive
of the style of dance.”
“I commend Bill T. Jones for
his acts of true kindness and
“Dancers must have long limps.”
“At first, I had a hard time
understanding and interrupting
“Savion Glover’s purpose is to cross all racial and ethical barriers with his dance.”
Kathy Dubois, Onalaska, Wisconsin
What’s the name of a
What part of the body is
affected by glandular fever?
A: The glandular.
In The Tempest, why does
Ariel sing in Gonzalo’s ear?
She’s a mermaid and wants to be human.
In comparison with large
hydrocarbons, how would you describe small hydrocarbons?
A: They’re smaller.
Who were the Bolsheviks?
A: A Russian ballet company.
From F in Exams: Pop Quiz,
by Richard Benson (Chronicle Books)
Student: I don’t understand why my grade was so low. How did
I do on my research paper?
Teacher: Actually, you didn’t turn in a research paper. You turned in a random assemblage of sentences. In fact, the
sentences you apparently
kidnapped in the dead of night
and forced into this violent and arbitrary plan of yours clearly seemed to be placed on the pages against their will. Reading your paper was like watching unfamiliar, uncomfortable people interacting at a cocktail party that no one wanted to attend in the first place. You didn’t submit a research paper. You submitted a hostage situation.
I’m now in high school, so when I ran into my third-grade teacher, I doubted she would remember me.
“Hi, Miss Butcher,” I said.
“Hi, Eddie,” she replied.
“So you do remember me?” I asked.
“Sure. You don’t always leave a good impression, but it is a lasting one.”
Edward McMurray, Wayne, Michigan
I don’t want to brag or make anybody jealous or anything, but
I can still fit into the earrings I wore in high school.
One hard thing to explain to teens is how legitimately exciting it used to be when someone would wheel in an overhead projector.
A mother complained to my wife,
a schoolteacher, that other students were stealing her daughter’s pencils.
“It’s not the money—it’s the
principle,” she insisted. “My husband took those pencils from work.”
Roger Prengel, Lacey, Washington
“Give me a sentence about a public servant,” the teacher instructed her second-grade student.
“The fireman came down the ladder pregnant,” he answered.
“Umm … Do you know what pregnant means?”
“Yes,” said the boy. “It means
carrying a child.”
Earl B. Child, Roy, Utah
I recently ran into an old student of mine, who said, “I always liked you. You never had favorites. You were mean to everyone.”
Lois Henry, Farmington, Maine
“Hurry up or we’ll be late!” shouts a teacher to her kindergarten class.
“What’s the rush?” a tot asks coolly.
“If we’re late, we’ll miss your next class!” the teacher reminds him.
The kid shrugs. “If you’re in such a hurry, go on without us.”
—Source: Funny in Thailand Survey
Why was the math book sad?
Because it had so many problems.
"How do you spell toad?" one of my first-grade students asked.
"We just read a story about a toad," I said, then helped him spell it out: "T-O-A-D."
Satisfied, he finished writing the story he’d begun, then read it aloud: "I toad my mama I wanted a dog for my birthday."
A month after Donald MacDonald started at Harvard, his mother called from Scotland. "And how are the American students, Donald?" she asked.
"They’re so noisy," he complained. "One neighbor endlessly bangs his head against the wall, while another screams all night."
"How do you put up with it?"
"I just ignore them and play my bagpipes."