O all ye exorcizers come and exorcize now, and ye clergymen draw nigh and clerge,
For I wish to be purged of an urge.
It is an irksome urge, compounded of nettles and glue,
And it is turning all my friends back into acquaintances, and all my acquaintances into
people who look the other way when I heave into view.
It is an indication that my mental buttery is butterless and my mental larder lardless,
And it consists not of “Stop me if you’ve heard this one,” but of “I know
you’ve heard this one because I told it to you myself, but I’m going to tell it to you
Yes I fear I am living beyond my mental means.
When I realize that it is not only anecdotes that I reiterate but what is far worse,
summaries of radio programs and descriptions of caroons in newspapers and magazines.
I want to resist but I cannot resist recounting the bright sayins of celebrities that
everybody already is familiar with every word of; I want to refrain but cannot refrain
from telling the same audience on two successive evenings the same little snatches of
domestic gossip about people I used to know that they have never heard of.
When I remember some titlating episode of my childhood I figure that if it’s worth
narrating once it’s worth narrating twice, in spite of lackluster eyes and dropping jaws,
And indeed I have now worked my way backward from titllating episodes in my own
childhood to titillating episodes in the childhood of my parents or even my
And what really turns my corpuscles to ice,
I carry around clippings and read them to people twice.
And I know what I am doing while I am doing it and I don’t want to do it but I can’t
help doing it and I am just another Ancient Mariner,
And the prospects for my future social life couldn’t possibly be barrener.
Did I tell you that the prospects for my future social life couldn’t be barrener?