The story of "the dog ate my homework"

http://www.slate.com/articles/life/explainer/2012/10/did_anybody_ever_believe_the_excuse_the_dog_ate_my_homework_.html

In this anecdote, which appeared as early as 1905, a clergyman pulls his clerk aside after a service to ask him whether his sermon seemed long enough. The clerk assures him that it was very nice, “just the right length,” and the priest is relieved. “I am very glad to hear you say that,” he says, “because just before I started to come here my dog got hold of my sermon and ate some of the leaves.” The story was repeated again and again.

Some journalists spend their time doing interesting research, to be honest.