There's a kid, name of Kyle, homework's not quite his style,
likes to get a drink and sit there for awhile, (This is Kyle!)
puts his work in a pile, (he prefers to smile)
starts in just a little while. Kyle really did do his
homework and he put it in his pack on the floor. Uh oh!
"Did you know that a dog would eat homework?"
When he got up he said, "Oh my gosh, now I'm dead!"
There was chewed-up homework lying on the floor by his bed.
"Come here, dog!" Kyle said. Doggy tilts his head.
"What's your problem, dog? You were already fed.
You've got bones in your head!" Kyle said,
ran off and got the bus, saw his friends and said:
"Do you know that my dog ate my homework?"
All his friends said, "Yeah right! Like you're up half the night,
doing homework now or some-thing." "Guess again. Not too bright!"
"Say that you hurt your hand, and you couldn't write."
"Say your folks were out last night. Go bump your head."
"See the nurse. Act sick.”
“Just spin and spin until you fall down." they said.
"But my dog really did eat my homework."
Later on in his class, Teacher said, "Will you pass
in your homework please from yesterday." Then Kyle said, "Alas!"
When he tried to explain it was all in vain,
and the teacher shook her head "Kyle, let and said to
Kyle, "Let me make something plain:
At three o'clock you will re main. See you after class!"
"But the dog really did eat my homework!"
So until 3:45 he stayed,
till his debt to society was paid, I'm afraid,
When he got home, he said to the dog on his bed,
"It was you got me in trouble after school, Dodo head!
All the world now thinks that I'm a big disgrace,
and they're on my case!
Why did you have to go eat my homework?"
...Then the dog licked his face.
SCOTT SIMON, HOST:
Last week, we tried to trace the origins of that legendary excuse "the dog ate my homework."
FORREST WICKMAN: One of the first examples is this guy. Saint Kieran, who around the fifth century had this fox that he found. And he started taking the fox around and at some point, the fox ate his Psalms.
SIMON: That's Forrest Wickman, a writer for Slate Magazine, who researched one of the most palpably ridiculous phrases of all time. But as many listeners told us, sometimes even ridiculous things can be true. They can happen to you.
JACQUELINE MOSS: My name is Jacqueline Moss, and I'm from Cumberland, Maine. And my dog really did eat my homework.
SIMON: Her beloved Labrador, Dusty, turned out to have a taste for history.
MOSS: When I was in sixth grade, we had to make a project for ancient civilization, and it was a Sumerian brick. I made it, and I left it on the radiator overnight. I came downstairs in the morning, and it had disappeared. And my dog - my Labrador was looking very guilty.
SIMON: But reasonably healthy. As it turns out, the formula her teacher gave her for Sumerian brick, was more like a recipe for a historically big dog biscuit.
MOSS: Yeah, she was fine. (LAUGHTER) There was nothing bad in it. It was just food coloring and flour and oats, salt. (LAUGHTER) So it must have been like, what she dreamed of because it was the size of a loaf of bread, and there was nothing left.
SIMON: Her teacher accepted her excuse. Harry Atwood, a high school English teacher in Dayton, Virginia, says he's heard all sorts of excuses from unprepared students. But one stands out. One day some years ago, he writes, a student came to class with the excuse that his parents had burned his homework. The following day, the local newspaper reported that the boy's family was out for a winter's drive high up in the Allegheny Mountains, and had punctured their gas tank on a rock. Soon out of gas, out of cell phone range and in below-freezing temperatures, the boy's family had used the contents of his backpack to start a fire. Excuse accepted. And finally...
LINDA BECKER: Hi, this is Linda Becker from Williamstown, Massachusetts. My dog ate my students' homework.
SIMON: That wasn't an audio glitch. She explains.
BECKER: I came home from teaching one day, and left my bag on the floor in the kitchen; went about my business. When I returned to the kitchen, my puppy - with his little, needle-like teeth - had pulled some student papers out of my bag, and chewed them up. Imagine the embarrassment of having to tell students, my dog ate your homework.
(SOUNDBITE OF BARKING DOG MUSIC)
SIMON: Well, Ms. Becker, I'm sure they'll accept your excuse, just this once.
(SOUNDBITE OF BARKING DOG MUSIC)
SIMON: This is NPR News.
NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by Verb8tm, Inc., an NPR contractor, and produced using a proprietary transcription process developed with NPR. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.