Pretty Good

This poem leaves the nastiest taste in my mouth… you can just taste the mediocrity… and it tastes bad.

Pretty Good

by Charles Osgood
from the Osgood File, 1986

There once was a pretty good student
Who sat in a pretty good class
And was taught by a pretty good teacher
Who always let pretty good pass.

He wasn’t terrific at reading,
He wasn’t a whiz-bang at math,
But for him, education was leading
Straight down a pretty good path.

He didn’t find school too exciting,
But he wanted to do pretty well,
And he did have some trouble with writing
Since nobody taught him to spell.

When doing arithmetic problems,
Pretty good was regarded as fine.
5+5 needn’t always add up to be 10;
A pretty good answer was 9.

The pretty good class that he sat in
Was part of a pretty good school,
And the student was not an exception:
On the contrary, he was the rule.

The pretty good school that he went to
Was there in a pretty good town,
And nobody there seemed to notice
He could not tell a verb from a noun.

The pretty good student in fact was
Part of a pretty good mob.
And the first time he knew what he lacked was
When he looked for a pretty good job.

It was then, when he sought a position,
He discovered that life could be tough,
And he soon had a sneaking suspicion
Pretty good might not be good enough.

The pretty good town in our story
Was part of a pretty good state
Which had pretty good aspirations
And prayed for a pretty good fate.

There once was a pretty good nation
Pretty proud of the greatness it had,
Which learned much too late,
If you want to be great,
Pretty good is, in fact, pretty bad.

5 thoughts on “Pretty Good”

  1. Yeah, Oscar Wilde once said, “All bad poetry springs from genuine feeling.” Which, to me means, just because you really mean something, doesn’t make it good. That would also apply to Mr. Osgood’s poem, just cause he REALLY wants to be profound, doesn’t mean he is.

    Oh, and thanks for basically blaming the US educational system there too, Charles, for our entire nation’s mediocrity. Nice to know that there are poems written to encourage children to blame others for their laziness in school when they become adults. Awesome.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.