Successful People Who Never Existed

Burdell's Store

Burdell's, in Georgia Tech's student center. Photo: Disavian (CC)

Adam K. Raymond of Mental Floss writes on CNN:

George P. Burdell was a man born of a simple mistake. In 1927, someone in the admissions office at Georgia Tech accidentally sent student Ed Smith two registration forms instead of one.

Sensing an opportunity for mischief, Smith filled out one form for himself and the other for George P. Burdell — a student he completely made up. When Smith arrived at school, he kept the ruse going by enrolling Burdell in all of his classes and even turning in assignments under his name.

In fact, Smith did so much work on behalf of his imaginary friend that Burdell eventually graduated.When other students found out about the hoax, they helped keep Burdell’s story going.

According to his résumé, Burdell flew 12 missions over Europe during World War II and served on MAD magazine’s Board of Directors from 1969 to 1981. In 2001, when Burdell was supposedly 90 years old, he nearly became Time magazine’s Person of the Year after garnering 57 percent of online votes.

Today, Burdell is one of Georgia Tech’s most celebrated alums. He even has a page on Facebook, where he keeps in touch with more than 4,000 “friends.”

Read More: CNN

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36 Responses to Successful People Who Never Existed

  1. Chaorder Gradient April 3, 2011 at 12:34 pm #

    This… is kinda awesome.

  2. Chaorder Gradient April 3, 2011 at 4:34 pm #

    This… is kinda awesome.

  3. Chaorder Gradient April 3, 2011 at 4:34 pm #

    This… is kinda awesome.

  4. Mr Willow April 4, 2011 at 2:16 am #

    The hell with Crowley. . . Burdell 2012!!

  5. Guest April 3, 2011 at 10:16 pm #

    The hell with Crowley. . . Burdell 2012!!

  6. Dubbya April 4, 2011 at 4:52 am #

    Hmmmmm. So, who paid Mr. Burdell’s tuition?

  7. Dubbya April 4, 2011 at 12:52 am #

    Hmmmmm. So, who paid Mr. Burdell’s tuition?

  8. The Good Word April 4, 2011 at 5:21 am #

    TO HELL WITH GEORGIA

  9. Liam_McGonagle April 4, 2011 at 1:54 pm #

    Well, it is an interesting inversion of a more common phenomenum: Promiment ‘real’ people who aren’t actually successful.

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/the-fix/post/examining-the-obama-2012-electoral-landscape/2011/04/04/AFB39rcC_blog.html

    Thank you, worthless mainstream press, for keeping brain-dead sacks of shit like Obama electorally viable! Without your incredible power to distract us with worthless trivia, we’d have to actually vote to acheive any relieve from our cognitive dissonance!

    • James Smith April 4, 2011 at 2:10 pm #

      Obama brain dead? Then what would you call Sarah Palin and the rest of the tea party morons? It’s a shame that someone as obviously a stubbornly stupid person as you can even find their way to a voting booth, much less actually vote.

      • Savageintent April 4, 2011 at 2:29 pm #

        I concur with Mr Smiths comments word for word… good thing ignorance isn’t contagious…

        • Liam_McGonagle April 4, 2011 at 3:01 pm #

          Vide supra, halfwit.

      • Liam_McGonagle April 4, 2011 at 3:01 pm #

        Quick Quiz:

        1. You are the chief executive of an organization who currently projects a budgetary deficit vastly larger than any historical precedent. It is clear that opposition within the organization would like to use this deficit as a political tool to defund some of the programmes that you have identified as most critical. The opposition has also made it clear that it not only has a differing set of priorities, but has an existential hatred for you, targeting you as a “one-termer”. What do you do?

        a. Mobilize support within your own faction around shared programme priorities for a tooth-and-nail battle, utilizing every advantage at your disposal, such as representational majorities on all relevant bodies, consultants’ reports and procedural tactics like the filibuster.

        b. Insist on a set of minimum conditions to approve opposition plans, so that you have preserved at least some minimum of your programme priorities and made clear that you will not be a rubber stamp for their agenda.

        c. Betray your own supporters by arranging a deal behind their backs which is certain not only to create additional pressure on your programme priorities, but also alienate key players on your team. You demand no concessions whatsoever from the opposition in exchange for your acquiescence.

        This answer is easy: If you’re Barack Obama you go choose c.), and go down on your knees like a stupid blubbering whore and babble like a goddamned idiot next year when the opposition reams your ass like the cheap trick you are.

        Thank God there’re still some folks in office like Bernie Sanders who’ve got their heads screwed on right.

        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZiOLXDDqLWc

        As for yourself, you senile halfwit, shove your dentures up your ass and keep your ignorant mouth shut. It’s dumbasses like you that keep the Democratic Party an emasculated shadow of what it could be.

        Imbeciles like you clearly have never canvassed for a candidate, because if you had you would be utterly fucking ashamed to have their neighbors associate you in any way with a lying cretin like Obama. Fcuking armchair “warriors”.

    • Dreamdaze18 April 10, 2011 at 7:03 pm #

      Cognitive Dissonance is actually my favorite theory and you are using it out of context. just an fyi

  10. Liam_McGonagle April 4, 2011 at 5:54 pm #

    Well, it is an interesting inversion of a more common phenomenum: Promiment ‘real’ people who aren’t actually successful.

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/the-fix/post/examining-the-obama-2012-electoral-landscape/2011/04/04/AFB39rcC_blog.html

    Thank you, worthless mainstream press, for keeping brain-dead sacks of shit like Obama electorally viable! Without your incredible power to distract us with worthless trivia, we’d have to actually vote to acheive any relieve from our cognitive dissonance!

  11. Anonymous April 4, 2011 at 6:10 pm #

    Obama brain dead? Then what would you call Sarah Palin and the rest of the tea party morons? It’s a shame that someone as obviously a stubbornly stupid person as you can even find their way to a voting booth, much less actually vote.

  12. Savageintent April 4, 2011 at 6:29 pm #

    I concur with Mr Smiths comments word for word… good thing ignorance isn’t contagious…

  13. Liam_McGonagle April 4, 2011 at 7:01 pm #

    Quick Quiz:

    1. You are the chief executive of an organization who currently projects a budgetary deficit vastly larger than any historical precedent. It is clear that opposition within the organization would like to use this deficit as a political tool to defund some of the programmes that you have identified as most critical. The opposition has also made it clear that it not only has a differing set of priorities, but has an existential hatred for you, targeting you as a “one-termer”. What do you do?

    a. Mobilize support within your own faction around shared programme priorities for a tooth-and-nail battle, utilizing every advantage at your disposal, such as representational majorities on all relevant bodies, consultants’ reports and procedural tactics like the filibuster.

    b. Insist on a set of minimum conditions to approve opposition plans, so that you have preserved at least some minimum of your programme priorities and made clear that you will not be a rubber stamp for their agenda.

    c. Betray your own supporters by arranging a deal behind their backs which is certain not only to create additional pressure on your programme priorities, but also alienate key players on your team. You demand no concessions whatsoever from the opposition in exchange for your acquiescence.

    This answer is easy: If you’re Barack Obama you go choose c.), and go down on your knees like a stupid blubbering whore and babble like a goddamned idiot next year when the opposition reams your ass like the cheap trick you are.

    Thank God there’re still some folks in office like Bernie Sanders who’ve got their heads screwed on right.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZiOLXDDqLWc

    As for yourself, you senile halfwit, shove your dentures up your ass and keep your ignorant mouth shut. It’s dumbasses like you that keep the Democratic Party an emasculated shadow of what it could be.

    Imbeciles like you clearly have never canvassed for a candidate, because if you had you would be utterly fucking ashamed to have their neighbors associate you in any way with a lying cretin like Obama. Fcuking armchair “warriors”.

  14. Liam_McGonagle April 4, 2011 at 7:01 pm #

    Vide supra, halfwit.

  15. Zach April 4, 2011 at 8:46 pm #

    Your reply seems like a lot of work to get your point across. Also, why does it matter? Especially on the comments section on an article that has nothing to do with Obama and is only going to be really read by people using StumbleUpon? Lighten up and lay off the idle insults. Assuming you are the type the uses idle insults as his internet comments bread an butter I don’t expect you to stop, but at least grow your insult vocabulary. Oh, and using Latin just to say “see above” is a sign that you are a pretentious prick with a little dick (probably).

  16. Brittany-Dawn April 4, 2011 at 9:39 pm #

    i whole heartedly agree with you zach. it does seem as though this moron is suffering from ‘small man syndrome’ the fact that anyone would read this article about the original coca cola recipe and somehow turn it into a way to insult people whom have absolutely nothing to do with the topic at hand, has way to much anger and time to waste.

  17. Zach April 4, 2011 at 10:00 pm #

    Original coca cola recipe? This article was about a made-up student.

  18. Malonjus April 4, 2011 at 8:43 pm #

    rudolph guliani was time magazines person of the year in 2001

  19. Malonjus April 5, 2011 at 12:43 am #

    rudolph guliani was time magazines person of the year in 2001

  20. Tuna Ghost April 5, 2011 at 2:40 am #

    Look, you’re all awful people, just awful. Everyone of you.

  21. movers April 5, 2011 at 2:50 am #

    Wow! I can just imagine the hard work in keeping this up.

  22. movers April 5, 2011 at 2:50 am #

    Wow! I can just imagine the hard work in keeping this up.

  23. Liam_McGonagle April 5, 2011 at 4:19 pm #

    Fuck off, ass.

    When I want your opinion I’ll ask. So if you don’t have anything to add (and you spend a paragraph explaining that) shut your fucking trap.

  24. Liam_McGonagle April 5, 2011 at 4:22 pm #

    You heard it hear, folks: Brittany-Dawn: Inventor of the penis joke.

    BTW, if you weren’t already aware, that was a saracastic comment. Introduction of the penis joke into a conversation (which, incidentally, no one solicited your fucking opinion on) is the universal hallmark of a simpleton.

    Shut your goddamned gob, you idiot.

  25. Liam_McGonagle April 5, 2011 at 5:12 pm #

    Say something relevant, asshat or keep your trap shut. No one asked your opinion about my manners: That’s because it doesn’t matter. You writing a whole paragraph about how I don’t make you feel warmed and loved doesn’t change that central fact.

  26. Liam_McGonagle April 5, 2011 at 5:13 pm #

    Shove it, simpleton. When I want your opinion I’ll let you know. Otherwise you should keep working on your repetoir. The dick joke thing doesn’t show a helluva lotta promise.

  27. Liam_McGonagle April 5, 2011 at 1:37 pm #

    @Disinfo: Okay. I, at least, get the hint. I’m calling personal “Time Out” here. Three days, min.

    Though I want to go on record as not regretting in the least making the sumitters of irrelevant, insulting and unsolicited comments feel my wrath. I think I have been more than amply provoked by self-important fools whose main enterprise seems to be steering the discussion away from the topic at hand.

    I take no objection to sharp language in the service of some valid point. But when my interlocutor’s point seems to be making an ass of themselves, this hardly seems to be a plea for forebearance on my part.

    In any case, I do get the point; not making the monitor’s life any more difficult than is. As I say, 3 days.

  28. Liam_McGonagle April 5, 2011 at 5:37 pm #

    @Disinfo: Okay. I, at least, get the hint. I’m calling personal “Time Out” here. Three days, min.

    Though I want to go on record as not regretting in the least making the sumitters of irrelevant, insulting and unsolicited comments feel my wrath. I think I have been more than amply provoked by self-important fools whose main enterprise seems to be steering the discussion away from the topic at hand.

    I take no objection to sharp language in the service of some valid point. But when my interlocutor’s point seems to be making an ass of themselves, this hardly seems to be a plea for forebearance on my part.

    In any case, I do get the point; not making the monitor’s life any more difficult than is. As I say, 3 days.

  29. Disinformation April 6, 2011 at 6:10 am #

    Thanks Liam.

  30. Dreamdaze18 April 10, 2011 at 11:03 pm #

    Cognitive Dissonance is actually my favorite theory and you are using it out of context. just an fyi

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