Dan Morey: Advice to a Prospective English Major

I spent four long years with E. Poe and J. Keats,
Pondering Thoreau and parsing the Beats.
I scribbled my essays from night until morn,
And flattered professors till my conscience was worn.

With each passing week my head swelled up with knowledge,
And I suddenly knew why they warned me of college,
Yet, though haggard and weary, would not be diverted:
Hard work strengthens youngsters, my father asserted.

At last, come one May, they said I was done,
So I packed up my books and took off at a run.
I dreamed about Benchley and Parker and Thurber,
How they quipped and got blotto with Kaufman and Ferber.

They were writers, and wits, and critics, most able,
Who spent many hours beneath their round table.
"That's it then!" I thought ," that's just what I'll do –
I'll head off to Gotham and make my debut!"

I arrived in New York both ready and willing,
Convinced I'd become the next Lionel Trilling.
Until soon all my hopes turned to utter dismay,
As each magazine turned me briskly away.

I moped and I drank and I tried every scheme –
I even kept stats for a bocce ball team.
I drafted some ads to sell grandfather clocks
And once tried my foot as a model for socks.

But, alas, in New York it was not meant to be,
So I crawled on back home with my useless degree
To a job at a drugstore in downtown Racine,
My diploma above me, by the Slurpee machine.

I've grown morbid and bitter—an utter recluse
With no happy thoughts, saving those of the noose.
So if you suspect you're linguistically smart,
Accept my advice and go straight to Walmart.