Robert’s Rules of Recorders
Shortly following the release of the Fourth Edition of Robert’s Rules of Order, Robert’s daughter began to learn the recorder in her elementary school music class. Seeing a clear lack of structure and cohesion in this room of cacophonous nine-year-olds, Robert took his experience in parliamentary procedure to pen another set of guidelines that would best enable the class to learn “Old McDonald” in an organized and efficient matter. The rules included proper floor addresses (“Sir,” “Madame,” or “Flute Flute Mahgoot”), how to obtain the attention of the floor (toot a high C# until the assembly is silent or the windows shatter), and the proper procedure for determining the rightful owner of the Golden Recorder of Leadership (knife fight). However, after only three months of implementation, discontented elementary school teachers from around the country congregated around Robert’s home and shattered his eardrums with a rousing rendition of “Hot Crossed Buns.” The book was subsequently removed from school library shelves.
This follow-up to Catch-22 was actually published as a practical joke by Joseph Heller. This novel was, in fact, just a stack of playing cards hidden within the book’s binding and an inconspicuous cover. Heller’s intent was for unsuspecting readers to open the novel and have all fifty-two playing cards fall into their lap, resulting in surprised expressions and laughs abounding. Joseph Heller, a man hardened by the horrors of war and watching his fellow man perish in the trenches, loved a good guffaw. Unfortunately, book stores stopped stocking this novel following janitorial protests over the increased, card-based workload.
Children of the [Insert Vegetable Here]
Unknown to many, Children of the Corn was in fact just a single version of the short story in a series of publications by Stephen King. King penned a multitude of revisions of his classic short story in an attempt to appeal to individuals, particularly children, who were picky eaters. Children of the Carrot was most commercially well-received of his revisions, while Children of the Squash, Children of the Broccoli, and Children of the Bell Pepper were all horribly panned by literary critics (“Ew, this has squash in it? I don’t like squash.” – Edmund Wright, New York Times). Following the release of the movie rendition of Children of the Corn in 1984, all other versions were immediately declared fraudulent and discontinued. You can still find Children of the Kale on the coffee tables of some artisanal sandwich shops in Brooklyn, and it is rumored that Edward Snowden keeps a copy of Children of the Snow Pea on his person at all times.
The original manuscript of Herman Melville’s Moby Dick had a decidedly more formal tone and style than its revised, more popular version. Moby Richard was first described as the Great White-Collar Whale, who bit off the Johnson account, leaving Ahab “without a leg to stand on,” so to speak. In a surprising twist, the opening line was the only thing that was actually edited to be more formal. “Call me Izzy-Shmay-Shmay” may have received even greater acclaim than its subsequent revised form, but the world will never know.