Textbook Writers Are People Too

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Everybody gets bored! Even raccoons!

You know how bored you get trying to read a textbook? So you check Facebook, tweet about checking Facebook, then check Bwog to see if it posted a feature on funny student tweets about Facebook? And then finally, you return to the textbook dejectedly, and stare blankly at its pages wondering,  “How did anybody even write this?”

Some textbooks answer this question for you when, as you trudge through page after page, you stumble on some seriously insane shit—crazy words that you know the author put in to break up the monotony.  It’s like when it’s 3 AM and you are writing a CC paper and feel the need…to say something outrageous.

Some of our favorites are below—add yours in the comments!

City Economics by Brendan O’Flaherty

  • “No matter how disgusting I may think Barney, cocaine, and haggis are, if they are what some people want, I applaud when they get more of them.”
  • “Take, for instance, statements like, ‘Binghamton has seen better days’…To an economist, these statements are as nonsensical as, ‘My kitchen table is sad,’ ‘This subway car is furious,’ and ‘The San Andreas Fault is doing well these days.'”
  • “People come in different sizes and have different ideas about what’s boring or interesting. They do different things, too — they fight fires, perform striptease acts, play tennis, slaughter animal, entertain the British ambassador — and different kinds of clothes go best with each of these different activities.”
  • “Televisions, sofas, the outdoors, books, sex, kids, sports — all of these reduce productivity even more than drugs and alcohol do, because they take time that people could be using to sell insurance policies or mine coal.”

CHEM 1500, General Chemistry Laboratory

  • “You may socialize in the lab, but don’t have a party.”
  • “No chewing (gum or tobacco) is permitted in the lab.”
  • “Test tubes are a chemist’s companion.”
  • “A scientist’s most priceless possession is his integrity. Be a scientist.” (Emphasis theirs.)
  • “It is good laboratory protocol to inform other students when they are not practicing good laboratory safety procedures. If they continue not to follow the safety procedures, you should “rat” on them…tell the laboratory instructor” (Ellipsis theirs.)

PHYS 1401-1403

  • “Standing beside railroad tracks, we are suddenly startled by a relativistic boxcar traveling past us as shown in the figure. Inside, a will-equipped hobo fires a laser pulse from the front of the boxcar to its rear…”
  • “An Earth starship has been sent to check an Earth outpost on the planet P1407, whose moon houses a battle group of the often hostile Reptulians … (physics parameters ) … The Reptulians have obviously attacked the Earth outpost, and so the starship begins to prepare for a confrontation with them.”

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  1. LOL  

    There were some great ones in high school. The American Pageant is of course legendary, and Halliday, Resnick, and Walker's Fundamentals of Physics featured some epic problems like

    - Three penguins tied together by a length of rope are playfully tugged...

    - A frictionless ladle is sliding across a parking lot when it collides with a packet of spicy pralines...

    I think there were a lot of problems about penguins, actually. And one that involved calculating some maximal parameter or another that, if exceeded, would result in your death when falling into a very large pile of snow from a great height.

  2. Halliday Resnick and Walker  

    There's definitely a problem about a "slide-loving pig" in the chapter about friction.

  3. Puns!  

    "Classical Mechanics," the textbook for Intermediate Mechanics (Physics class) has an old picture of a man fixing an old Model-T looking car (a classical mechanic, get it?).

    Also the back has the author pictured lying seductively on a bed of nails.

    How can you beat that?

  4. High school bio  

    Slightly paraphrased: Your friend has recently gotten pregnant by artificial insemination. However, she is nervous because there was a news report about a bull escaping from the zoo. Explain to her why it is impossible that her baby is a Minotaur.

  5. brendan oflahertits  

    is a retard

  6. Anonymous  

    Found this in my Quantitative Chemical Analysis textbook by Harris:

    "At this point, the Good Chemist rides down again from the mountain on her white stallion to rescue us and cries, 'Wait! There is no reason to solve a cubic equation. We can make an excellent, simplifying approximation. (Besides, I have trouble solving cubic equations).'"

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