The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #20761   Message #1033064
Posted By: Jim Dixon
10-Oct-03 - 08:55 AM
Thread Name: Lyr Req: Sicknote
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Sicknote
Back in the days before the Internet, there was a thriving genre of folklore propagated by Xerox machine. It consisted mainly of cartoons—often well drawn but too obscene to appear in mainstream magazines—and comedy pieces that were too long and complicated to be considered mere "jokes"—at least too long for the average person to try to memorize and repeat orally.

What you saw was often a copy of a copy of a copy...the process having been repeated until the copies were nearly illegible. Then someone would retype or redraw it, thereby introducing mistakes, and sometimes making "improvements."

The "sick note" story was perfectly suited to this genre. I remember seeing some version of the story being passed around an office where I worked sometime in (I think) the 1970's. I don't remember many details, but I'm sure it was in prose, not verse, so it couldn't have been Cooksey's version exactly, and it concerned a bricklayer and a barrel of bricks, not miscellaneous tools as in Hoffnung's version.

So it could have been a prose adaptation of Cooksey's song. But why would anyone deliberately discard the meter and rhyme? Possibly to make it look more like a "real" sick note. Or could it have been some intermediate version between Hoffnung's and Cooksey's? Cooksey seems to imply that he based his version directly on Hoffnung's version, but maybe that was just his way of giving Hoffnung credit. (The photocopied folklore usually didn't credit anyone.)