(He reads part of “Excelsior” with exaggerated drama and enthusiasm.)
The shades of night were falling fast,
As through an Alpine village passed
A youth, who bore, ‘mid snow and ice,
A banner with the strange device,
You know how it goes—the villagers warn him repeatedly but the damn fool continues, verse after verse, climbing up the mountain in a blizzard! Until the inevitable—until he ends up just like the rest of us.
A traveler, by the faithful hound,
Half-buried in the snow was found,
Still grasping in his hands of ice
that banner with the strange device,
Excelsior! You see what mindless glop? All you innocent believers in that onward and upward crap. That if you “give it your best” you’ll succeed against all odds. What crap! H. W. Longfellow, you fool! (Pauses.) You know something? I’m part of you too. I don’t exclude myself, you know. See why it’s my favorite expression? We’re all doomed to dream we’ll win—and then be defeated. Ha! But no matter what you do, don’t let it get you down. Savor it all! Ah, yes, folks, don’t give up that dream. Even though you know it won’t come true.
Play me some more of my theme.