Thursday, February 10, 2011

If and If Not

One line of this just popped into my head, so I expanded on the idea to rewrite the poem "If" by Rudyard Kipling from a pessimist/realist viewpoint:
If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
You should start looking for a better job.

If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
Congratulations! You'd be a great politician.

If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,
And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise:
Try running on the Republican ticket.

If you can dream, and not make dreams your master;
If you can think, and not make thoughts your aim;
Stick with the thinking.

If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;
Ask your doctor for some anti-anhedonia medication.

If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
You'll have no problem watching CNN.

Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build ’em up with worn-out tools:
Stop, learn from your mistakes, and move on.

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breathe a word about your loss;
Please seek help for gambling addiction.

If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: ‘Hold on!’
Try out for the next season of "Survivor".

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with Kings—nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much;
You must be living under a rock.

If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,
Instead of "Survivor", try out for the track team.

Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
And — which is more — you're a fictitious character,
And do not have to suffer fools like I do!

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