Time was when an American about to go abroad would be warned by his friends or the guidebooks not to drink the water. But times have changed, and now a foreigner coming to this country might be offered the following advice:
If you visit American city,
You will find it very pretty.
Just two things of which you must beware:
Don't drink the water and don't breathe the air!
They got smog and sewage and mud.
Turn on your tap
And get hot and cold running crud!
See the halibuts and the sturgeons
Being wiped out by detergeons.
Fish gotta swim and birds gotta fly,
But they don't last long if they try.
You can use the latest toothpaste,
And then rinse your mouth
With industrial waste.
Just go out for a breath of air
And you'll be ready for Medicare.
The city streets are really quite a thrill -
If the hoods don't get you, the monoxide will.
Wear a gas mask and a veil.
Then you can breathe,
Long as you don't inhale!
Lots of things there that you can drink,
But stay away from the kitchen sink!
The breakfast garbage that you throw into the Bay
They drink at lunch in San Jose.*
So go to the city,
See the crazy people there.
Like lambs to the slaughter,
They're drinking the water
And breathing [cough] the air!
translated from English to French
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