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Plagiarized Poem - Why Computers Sometimes Crash! by Dr. Seuss

An amusing poem about computing that has circulated widely online and via email is attributed to American writer, Dr Seuss.

Brief Analysis
The poem was actually written by Gene Ziegler, not Dr. Seuss and is an abridged and plagiarized version of the original.

Detailed analysis and references below example.
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Last updated: May 21, 2014
First published: 16th June 2006
Article written by Brett M. Christensen
About Brett Christensen and Hoax-Slayer

You must read this out LOUD!!!

Why Computers Sometimes Crash! by Dr. Seuss.
(Read this to yourself aloud - it's great!)

If a packet hits a pocket on a socket on a port, and the bus is interrupted at a very last resort, and the access of the memory makes your floppy disk abort, then the socket packet pocket has an error to report.

[Remaining verses removed: The verse above and the verses that I have removed from this example were stolen from a longer poem by Gene Ziegler - See analysis below for details.]

Well, that certainly clears things up for me. How about you?

Thank you, Bill Gates, for bringing all this into our lives

Detailed Analysis
This amusing and well written poem has become an Internet favourite. It has been posted on a great many websites and circulates via email almost continually. The poem commonly sports the title "Why Computers Sometimes Crash!" and its authorship is attributed to famous American writer and cartoonist, Dr. Seuss (Theodor Seuss Geisel). Another, version of the poem circulates with the title "What If Dr. Seuss Wrote Technical Manuals?" and lists the author as "Anonymous".

Astute recipients would have suspected that the piece was not actually penned by Dr. Seuss (who died in 1991) and was attributed to him simply because of its Seuss like style. That said, many of us are perhaps guilty of believing that the poem was just one more among the thousands of jokes, poems and stories of unclaimed and unknown authorship that make their way around Cyberspace.

In fact, the piece is part of a longer poem written by Gene Ziegler in 1994 and titled "A Grandchild's Guide to Using Grandpa's Computer". The complete poem, is still available on the archived version of Gene Ziegler's website. In a history of the poem on the same web page, Gene explained:
Unfortunately, the internet being what it is, some scoundrel whose editing skills exceeded his or her ethical standards edited the poem, reduced it by half, removed my name, and recirculated it under the title "If Dr. Seuss were a Technical Writer", attributed to the ever prolific "Anonymous."

The version included above attributes the poem to Dr. Seuss himself and adds a reference to Bill Gates along with advice to read the poem aloud.

After he discovered that his work had been stolen, Gene Ziegler wrote another, very witty poem entitled "Hang the Information Highwayman!" in which he eloquently condemns the plagiarist.

The fact that the plagiarized versions of the original poem have become so popular and spread so widely is testament to its quality and appeal. It is sad and unfair that Mr. Ziegler has been so often denied the credit he deserves. Please do not circulate or publish the stolen versions of the poem.

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Gene Ziegler
A Grandchild's Guide to Using Grandpa's Computer
Hang the Information Highwayman!

Last updated: May 21, 2014
First published: 16th June 2006
Article written by Brett M. Christensen
About Brett Christensen and Hoax-Slayer