This poem written by Max Ehrmann in 1927 is an enduring classic full of timeless wisdom. It is followed by several very funny take-offs on the original. I hope you enjoy. John
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 the ignorant;
they too have their story.
Avoid loud and aggressive persons;
they are vexatious 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 possession 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 labors and aspirations,
in the noisy 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.
The National Lampoon Version of Desiderata
Go placidly amid the noise and waste, and remember what comfort there may be in owning a piece thereof. Avoid quiet and placid people, 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. Whenever 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 future 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 Candy. 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 may perceive Him to be: hairy thunderer, or cosmic muffin. With all its hopes, dreams, promises and urban renewal, the world continues to deteriorate.
Internet Desiderata Spoof
Go placidly amid the glitches and errors and remember what peace there may be in DSL. As far as possible without surrender be on good terms with all message boards. Type your truth spelled properly and with grammatical correctness; and read others, even the dull and ignorant; they too have their story.
Avoid people who spam and use stupid icons, they are vexations to the spirit. If you compare your site to others, you may become vain and bitter; for always there will be greater and lesser web sites than your own. Enjoy your site awards as well as your subscribers.
Keep interested in your link pop, however humble; it is a real possession in the changing rankings of search engines.
Exercise caution in your affiliates; for the world is full of trickery. But let this not blind you to what virtue there is; the information highway strives for high ideals; and everywhere the web is full of shareware.
Be yourself. Especially, do not feign HTML knowledge. Neither be cynical about code; for in the face of all obfuscation, it is as necessary as your password.
Take kindly the counsel of the geeks, gracefully surrendering to XML and PHP. Nurture patience with technology to shield you in sudden upgrades. But do not distress yourself with downtime worries. Many fears are born of infected attachments and poor connections.
You are a child of the Internet, no less than the hackers and the housewives; you have a right to be here. And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the Internet is unfolding as it should.
Therefore be at peace with Bill Gates, whatever you conceive him to be, and whatever your mission and agenda, in the noisy confusion of cyberspace, keep peace with your ISP. With all its viruses, slow downloads and broken links, it is still a beautiful Internet. Be careful. Strive to stay connected.
FOUND IN OLD CPU, WALLING; DATED 2000
Detritus – by Les Barker, Poet Laureate in the works
Go placidly amid the noise and haste
And remember what peace there may be in silence
Do not walk behind me for I may not lead
Do not walk in front for I may not follow
Go over there somewhere
Speak your truth quietly and clearly
Be open-minded, but do not lean forward or your brain may fall out
Know that there will be good days and there will be bad days
And this is one of them
Always dismantle and clean the dog before going to bed
But avoid the use of spot remover, you may never see him again
You are a child of the universe
It is a small world unless you have to paint it
Do not wish for everything unless you have a really big cupboard
Avoid loud and aggressive persons
If you cannot sleep well, practice more often
Borrow from pessimists, they don’t expect it back
Remember if you give a man a fish he will eat for a day
Teach him to fish and he will sit in a boat and drink himself stupid
It is always darkest before the dawn
That is the time to steal your neighbours newspaper
Be gentle with yourself
Bear in mind that depression is anger without enthusiasm
And good health merely the slowest way to die
Never argue with a fool for he is doing the same
Know that if at first you don’t succeed sky-diving’s not a good idea
And that timing has a lot to do with the outcome of a rain dance
Always remember that all is not lost
Though I haven’t seen it for some time
If you cannot become wiser try to be older
Never stand between the dog and the lamppost
And never hit a man with glasses
Always use something bigger and heavier
And remember that some people are only alive because it’s illegal to kill them
A closed mouth gathers no feet
Nature abhors a vacuum cleaner
Strive to be happy
And remember that your sole purpose in life is to serve as a warning to others
And start as soon as possible
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Radio host, inspirational speaker and health educator John Haines is the author of In Search of Simplicity: A True Story that Changes Lives and the recently released Beyond the Search, books to lift the spirit and touch the heart. See http://www.JohnHainesBooks.com
“In Search of Simplicity is a unique and awe-inspiring way to re-visit and even answer some of the gnawing questions we all intrinsically have about the meaning of life and our true, individual purpose on the planet. I love this book.”
Barbara Cronin, Circles of Light. For the complete review visit: http://www.circlesoflight.com/blog/in-search-of-simplicity/
“In Search of Simplicity is one of those rare literary jewels with the ability to completely and simultaneously ingratiate itself into the mind, heart and soul of the reader.”
Heather Slocumb, Apex Reviews