Happy, well-adjusted people need not apply
History teaches us that there are two requirements to being a poet: Owning a beret and being hopelessly and suicidally depressed. Both requirements must be met for one to claim poethood. Anyone can own a beret--hell, soldiers, dancers and painters wear 'em. And anyone can be hopelessly depressed. Just look at all those people who own Toyota Priuses, sandwich makers, Cuisinarts and who attend foreign film festivals. You can't talk to them without hearing how horrible it is that every single polar bear is doomed to a climate where they won't have to sleep on icebergs, eat cold fish and fornicate in thirty-degree-below-zero weather.
Nor is it enough to merely wallow in the angst of turning 18 or 32, seeing the sun rise into another day; or of knowing that that bald-headed, laughing, gurgling baby will someday be wracked by self-doubt, join the military, be turned into a killing machine and afflicted with hideous diseases. No. A poet can't just wallow; a poet must take action by sticking his or her head in an oven and turning on the gas.
The question, though, is why, why are poets so miserable? Experts, scholars and normal people have long wondered why poets are so morose. Normal people figured that wearing berets depressed these people. A beret is a useless hat, and no one who actually cares about keeping their head warm or protecting it from falling bricks or flying bottles would wear one. No one has been able to figure it out--until now.
I've uncovered a poem that explains why poets are so depressed. This came to me from a poet, who, at age 21 looked sadly around a wedding dance floor--a place filled with joy, optimism and liquor--and proclaimed to a startled uncle who asked why he was so glum: "Someday all these people will be dead! Why are they laughing when death is just seventy years around the corner?"
A Poet’s Dilemma
I sit on the bank of the fisherman’s stream
Feeling depressed and wanting to scream.
For how can I write of the large-mouthed bass
When I’m standing here sticking my thumb up my ass?
How can I bespeak the wonders of thee
When I’ve nailed my tongue to the trunk of a tree?
Oh what a well-read poet I’d be
If I scribbled on paper instead of my knee.
The day grows dark.
The light does pass.
I’m standing here stuffing
My head up my ass.
It's clear why poets are so depressed; they're idiots.