Sunday, April 11, 2010

More Ogden Nash

Brilliance from Ogden Nash's collection I'm a Stranger Here Myself (1938)

[I added a few underlines to overcome the primitive blog editor's insistence on eliminating extra spaces for when the line carries over.]

Seated one day at the dictionary I was pretty weary and also pretty ill at ease,
Because a word I had always liked turned out not to be a word at all, and suddenly I found
___ myself among the v's.
And suddenly among the v's I came across a new word which was a word called velleity,
So the new word I found was better than the old word I lost, for which I thank my tutelary deity,
Because velleity is a word which gives me great satisfaction,
Because do you know what it means, it means low degree of volition not prompting to action,
And I always knew I had something holding me back but I didn't know what,
And it's quite a relief to know it isn't a conspiracy, it's only velleity that I've got,
Because to be wonderful at everything has always been my ambition,
Yes indeed, I am simply teeming with volition,
So why I never was wonderful at anything was something I couldn't see
While all the time, of course, my volition was merely volition of a low degree,
Which is the kind of volition that you are better off without it,
Because it puts an idea in your head but doesn't prompt you to do anything about it.
So you think it would be nice to be a great pianist but why bother with practicing for hours
___ at the keyboard,
Or you would like to be the romantic captain of a romantic ship but can't find time to
___ study navigation or charts of the ocean or the seaboard;
You want a lot of money but you are not prepared to work for it,
Or a book to read in bed but you do not care to go into the nocturnal cold and murk for it;
And now if you have such symptoms you can identify your malady with accurate spontaneity;
It's velleity,
So don't forget to remember that you're velleitous, and if anybody says you're just lazy,
Why, they're crazy.

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