Deteriorata

Go placidly amid the noise and waste and remember what a 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 aridity and disillusionment and despite the changing fortunes of time, there is always a big fortune in computer maintenance. -- 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 ocean 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, 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 amid 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, and whether you can hear it or not, the universe is laughing behind your back. -- Therefore make peace with your God whatever you conceive Him to be: Hairy Thunderer or Cosmic Muffin -- With all its hopes, dreams, promises, & urban renewal, the world continues to deteriorate. -- Give up.

Found in an old National Lampoon, dated 1972

Desiderata

Go placidly amid the noise and the haste and remember what peace there may be in silence. As far as possible without surrender, be on good terms with all persons. Speak your truth quietly and clearly and listen to others, even to the dull and ignorant. They too have their story. -- Avoid loud and aggressive persons, they are vexations to the spirit. If you compare yourself with others you may become vain or bitter, for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself. -- Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans. Keep interested in your own career, however humble, it is a real possesion in the changing fortunes of time. Exercise caution in your business affairs, for the world is full of trickery. But let this not blind you to what virtue there is. Many persons strive for high ideals, and everywhere life is full of heroism. -- Be yourself. -- Especially do not feign affection neither be cynical about love, for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment it is as perennial as the grass. Take kindly the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth. -- Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune but do not distress yourself with dark imaginings. Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness. Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself. You are a child of the universe no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here. And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should. -- Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive him to be, and whatever your labours and aspirations, in the noise confusion of life, keep peace in your soul. With all its sham drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world. Be cheerful, -- Strive to be happy.

"Found in Old St. Paul's Church, dated 1692"

"Desiderata" was written in 1927 by Max Ehrmann (1872-1945). In 1956, the rector of St. Paul's Church in Baltimore, Maryland, used the poem in a collection of mimeographed inspirational material for his congregation. Someone who subsequently printed it asserted that it was found in Old St. Paul's Church, dated 1692. The year 1692 was the founding date of the church and has nothing to do with the poem.