Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Respect the Experience of Your Elders

It has been said, "That which one generation does in moderation, the succeeding generation will often do in excess."

Monty Python's Flying Circus - "Four Yorkshiremen" [ from the album Live At Drury Lane, 1974 ]

#1-Michael Palin, #2-Graham Chapman, #3-Terry Jones, #4-Eric Idle

Four well-dressed men are sitting together at a vacation resort. 'Farewell to Thee' is played in the background on Hawaiian guitar.

#1: Aye, very passable, that, very passable bit of risotto.

#2: Nothing like a good glass of Château de Chasselas, eh, Josiah?

#3: You're right there, Obadiah.

#4: Who'd have thought thirty year ago we'd all be sittin' here drinking Château de Chasselas, eh?

#1: In them days we was glad to have the price of a cup o' tea.

#2: A cup o' cold tea.

#4: Without milk or sugar.

#3: Or tea.

#1: In a cracked cup, an' all.

#4: Oh, we never had a cup. We used to have to drink out of a rolled up newspaper.

#2: The best we could manage was to suck on a piece of damp cloth.

#3: But you know, we were happy in those days, though we were poor.

#1: Because we were poor. My old Dad used to say to me, "Money doesn't buy you happiness, son".

#4: Aye, 'e was right.

#1: Aye, 'e was.

#4: I was happier then and I had nothin'. We used to live in this tiny old house with great big holes in the roof.

#2: House! You were lucky to live in a house! We used to live in one room, all twenty-six of us, no furniture, 'alf the floor was missing, and we were all 'uddled together in one corner for fear of falling.

#3: Eh, you were lucky to have a room! We used to have to live in t' corridor!

#1: Oh, we used to dream of livin' in a corridor! Would ha' been a palace to us. We used to live in an old water tank on a rubbish tip. We got woke up every morning by having a load of rotting fish dumped all over us! House? Huh.

#4: Well, when I say 'house' it was only a hole in the ground covered by a sheet of tarpaulin, but it was a house to us.

#2: We were evicted from our 'ole in the ground; we 'ad to go and live in a lake.

#3: You were lucky to have a lake! There were a hundred and fifty of us living in t' shoebox in t' middle o' road.

#1: Cardboard box?

#3: Aye.

#1: You were lucky. We lived for three months in a paper bag in a septic tank. We used to have to get up at six in the morning, clean the paper bag, eat a crust of stale bread, go to work down t' mill, fourteen hours a day, week-in week-out, for sixpence a week, and when we got home our Dad would thrash us to sleep wi' his belt.

# 2: Luxury. We used to have to get out of the lake at six o'clock in the morning, clean the lake, eat a handful of 'ot gravel, work twenty hour day at mill for tuppence a month, come home, and Dad would thrash us to sleep with a broken bottle, if we were lucky!

#3: Well, of course, we had it tough. We used to 'ave to get up out of shoebox at twelve o'clock at night and lick road clean wit' tongue. We had two bits of cold gravel, worked twenty-four hours a day at mill for sixpence every four years, and when we got home our Dad would slice us in two wit' bread knife.

#4: Right. I had to get up in the morning at ten o'clock at night half an hour before I went to bed, drink a cup of sulphuric acid, work twenty-nine hours a day down mill, and pay mill owner for permission to come to work, and when we got home, our Dad and our mother would kill us and dance about on our graves singing Hallelujah.

#1: And you try and tell the young people of today that ..... they won't believe you.

ALL: They won't!

This 30 year old exhibition of victimology may perhaps have been brought to full flower in Britain, but I'm sure that it has not even taken root here in the U.S. (Except that Todd and Lance haven't listened to or believed in stories of the life lessons and hardships experienced by the older, wiser, and more mature generation of their father and uncle.)

(H.T. The Assistant Villiage Idiot.)


Lance Burri said...

What did your generation ever do in moderation, Steve?

tee bee said...

If he told you, he'd be guaranteeing that you do it in excess.

Since I have no such fear, I'll tell you: weeding and cleaning out the basement.

Have at it, Lance. Just don't tell Steve I let the cat out of the bag.

Todd said...

I like my moderation in moderation. By which I infer, in conjunction with Steve's opening quote, that my forbears preferred an excess of moderation. Make of it what you will.

Steve said...

Moderation in moderation... that's like a double negative, isn't it?