Month: December 2010

The Deteriorata


Sorry, Desiderata fans – I could not resist. I first heard this listening to tapes of the National Lampoon Radio Hour:

Specifically, it is a spoof of San Francisco radio and television personality Les Crane’s spoken word recording of Desiderata. It was written by Tony Hendra and recorded by National Lampoon as part of their National Lampoon Radio Dinner album of 1972.

When I first heard it all I could think of was the fact that every other friggin’ dorm room at any given college had that annoying “Desiderata” poster. It became so ubiquitous and cliché that you almost wondered if it was issued to each student.

In retrospect, something such as the Desiderata can serve to cause smug, entitled, 18-year-old college freshman to be even more smug and entitled. Probably more fitting to give to one as a birthday or Christmas gift in that first year after college when still seeking gainful employment – to the one who is heading into their final week of unemployment benefits and getting ready to accept the job paying half of what the former paid – or to the soldier coming home from war.

For the smug, entitled, 18-year-old college freshman – The Deteriorata is much more appropriate:

(National Lampoon)

(You are a fluke of the universe. You have no right to be here. Deteriorata, Deteriorata)

Go placidly amidst the noise and waste, and remember what comfort there may be in owning a piece thereof. Avoid quiet and passive persons, unless you are in need of sleep. Rotate your tires. Speak glowingly of those greater than yourself; and heed well their advice, even though they be turkeys. Know what to kiss – and when. Consider that two wrongs never make a right, but that three do. Wherever possible, put people on hold. Be comforted, that in the face of all irridity and disillusionment, and despite the changing fortunes of time, there is always a big future in computer maintenance.

(You are a fluke of the universe. You have no right to be here. Whether you can hear it or not, The universe is laughing behind your back.)

Remember the Pueblo. Strive at all times to bend, fold, spindle, and mutilate. Know yourself. If you need help, call the FBI. Exercise caution in your daily affairs, especially with those persons closest to you… That lemon on your left, for instance. Be assured that a walk through the seas of most souls would scarcely get your feet wet. Fall not in love, therefore, it will stick to your face. Gracefully surrender the things of youth: the birds, clean air, tuna, Taiwan – and let not the sands of time get in your lunch. Hire people with hooks. For a good time, call 606-4311, ask for Ken. Take heart in the deepening gloom that your dog is finally getting enough cheese. And reflect that whatever misfortune may be your lot, it could only be worse in Milwaukee.

(You are a fluke of the universe. You have no right to be here. Whether you can hear it or not, The universe is laughing behind your back.)

Therefore, make peace with your god, whatever you perceive him to be: hairy thunderer or cosmic muffin. With all its hopes, dreams, promises, and urban renewal, the world continues to deteriorate. GIVE UP!

(You are a fluke of the universe. You have no right to be here. Whether you can hear it or not, The universe is laughing behind your back.)

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