Excuse Presented to Teacher for a Tardy Assignment By Rube Goldberg, Age 12

Rube Goldberg CartoonAlex Berg circa 2006

Dear Mrs. Smathersby,

Please excuse the tardiness of this assignment. I understand that you are a stern taskmaster, and I did not mean to take your deadline of “Tuesday, before recess” lightly. However, I feel it only appropriate to tell you that the tardiness of this assignment was not my fault, but my dog’s. My dog ate some cheese which was supposed to lure a mouse onto a pressure plate. The mouse’s weight on the plate would have caused it to press down on blacksmith’s bellows, which were so arranged that they would have blown upon the sail of a toy boat, propelling it forward until the lit candle it carried as cargo would have been positioned beneath a taught string. The string was anchoring a ball-peen Guilty Doghammer that I had arranged to act as a pendulum to the wall. Had this hammer been released in the manner intended, it would have struck a gong, frightening the cat which slept nearby. The cat, which I assure you, would have fled, had a string tied to its tail that, when pulled, would have toggled a switch, completing the electrical circuit which powers my typewriter. Yes, I have an electric typewriter, of my own design. Needless to say, this did not occur, and I was thus rendered powerless to complete the essay on “Cause & Effect” which you had assigned. If it makes you feel any better, I feel that I have an adequate grasp on the subject matter.

Sincerely,

Rube Goldberg

P.S. I have since reprimanded my dog for eating the cheese. It will not happen again.

Thanks to Alex Berg for this entertaining post!

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