prettygood2Thirty years ago I clipped an Ann Landers column from a newspaper, and it’s traveled many, many worn miles with me throughout nearly half of my life.

I would have been 20 when I first read it – long before becoming a wife, a mother and a business owner – but it carried a message that I aspired to rise above in all areas of my life… even though I had no idea at that point in time the myriad of directions and challenges that life would hand me.

I want to share it with you today because I feel it carries a profound message that is every bit as timely (if not more so) today as is was when it was first printed years ago.

In the column, Ann attributes it to a poem written by Charles Osgood, from “The Osgood File”, (c) 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,
And nobody had taught him to spell.

When doing arithmetic problems,
Pretty good was regarded as fine.
Five plus five didn’t always add up to 10,
But a ‘pretty good’ answer was nine.

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.

That 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 sneaky 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.

I am very interested to hear your comments on this and invite you to share with others how it strikes you given the state of affairs today in business, politics, economics, education and the myriad of other ways that ‘pretty good’ has unfolded in all of our lives…