The New Zealand Railways Magazine, Volume 8, Issue 7 (November 1, 1933)
Joy-Germs And Jim-Jams
White Hope and Whitebait.
The White Hope is Happiness. Happiness is greater than gold, but as hard to hold as a fist-full of whitebait. But there is a catch in everything, as the mouse muttered when the trap went snap. On the contrary, Care is a clinger when once it grips the gaskets. The way to confound Care is to refuse to care; to give it a jolt of joy-germs, a lugfull of laughing gas, a wad of “whoopee” in the topee, and the hooray rather than the X-ray.
Let every moment be the maddest, merriest moment, and let's make History with hysterics.
But there are pessimists who persist that History postulates the proposition that Happiness is not its blood-brother, and that Progress has progressed in bumps rather than jumps. But what do we care:—
We don't go so much on history,
Which is dark and dank and twistery.
Sleeping dogs can sleep—for us.
Why do people make a fuss
Over kings who passed the buck,
Long before we joined the ruck?
From the way their records go,
They were not so nice to know.
His-tory is all about
People going up the spout,
Knights and kings, and folk like that,
Giving other folk a bat
When they looked the other way—
Battings happened every day.
We don't like such history's tone,
And prefer to make our own.
Happiness has never had head-lines in History because Horror has news-value in the Book of Dismal Dates and Dirty Deeds. Let's ramble in retrospeculation.
History seems to have started with trouble in the garden suburbs, and until Adam and Eve were evicted for listening to snake stories relayed from 2 What-O by I Sez You there was nothing much to record except perhaps signs of bol-weevil in the banana crop and extreme depression in the clothing trade. In fact, before Adam and Eve shouldered the white man's burden, they never worried about such subjects as history or arithmetic, and it is doubtful if they realised how many apples make one—until they took the count. Thus they started History with the sweat of their browse, and it has been a sweated industry ever since.
Daze and Knights.
Certainly there were one or two merry monarchs, but their history never packed a punch; a poisoning or two perhaps, or an uncle suffocated without enthusiasm.
Great Men Who Grated.
And if Napoleon were happy, why did he continually look like a plate of pale pie with its hat on? Even when he won battles he felt, with the discontent of the true artist, that his still-life work might have been strewn about a bit better. And after his retreat from Moscow he had the trouble of convincing the public that he had just popped off to tell Josephine that everything was O.K. and that he was going Nap on himself.
Alfred the Great, too, was so unhappy that he went about his kingdom burning buns so that he could get himself into the history books as Alfred the Bun-burner, and claim association with the chemistry classes by having the Bunsen burner named after him.
And Bonny Prince Charlie only made history when he was being pursued from crag to crag, dressed like the Laird's Lament or the Fair Maid of Haggis. When, finally, he gave up “legging” for laughing, his history lacked Pepys, and the fruitiest fact is that he picked an orange girl who was no lemon.
Robert the Bruce apparently was another martyr to misery. He spied a spider and trained it to run up and down its own whiskers, so that one day everyone might say to the faint-hearted, “remember Bruce and the spider, and give it a fly.”
Coming closer to contemporary troubles, Mussolini must often be as worried as the Duce; Hitler probably lies awake o'nights wondering how he's going to finish what he has started; Roosevelt's merry moments must be encumbered by the problem of how to make U.S.A. equal L.S.D., and even the Imperial Icycle of the Eskimos (whoever he is) must wonder when the imperial igloo will be melted over his head.
The Root of Bol-weevil.
Birds and beasts both wild and tame
Never hanker after fame,
Never care a tinker's cuss
For posterity, like us.
Birds and beasts and insects too,
Never try Success to woo.
While the grass and grubs are fat
They are quite content with that.
Birds and beasts—from coot to cow—
Know that Happiness is Now.
Past and Future don't exist
On their psychologic list,
And they're always quite content
Lapping up the nutri-ment.
Caterpillars, cattle too,
Conger eel and kangaroo,
Cassowary, auk and sprat,
Whale and whelk and tittlebat,
Elephant and alligator,
Know that life is their “pertater.”
Though their minds they can't express,
They are full of happiness.
Every hour and every action
Seems to give them satisfaction
Unlike Man who thinks he must
Leave his mark behind—or bust.
Better bust to-day than after,
Do it now—And Bust With Laughter.
How to be Happy Though Human.
In confusion, let us offer some distracts from the ‘atch-'ives of Phil. Osopher, the oracle, to those who would like to be happy though human.
If you were twice as happy as you are you would be half as happy as you might be if you were as happy as you should be.
If you don't laugh to-day the laugh may be on you to-morrow.
The dog who can keep his tail up when his nose is down, knows more than his nose knows.
Every dog has his day, but the dog who makes to-day his day has his day every day.
Look after the here and the after will look after itself.
Never look a lift horse in the mouth.
Happiness is under your hat—not under the clock.
If you can't get what you want, want what you can get.
Trouble is only luck in a swoon.
Never rue to-morrow what wasn't done to-day.
If you are worse than you feel you may feel only half as bad as you are, but if you feel worse than you are you deserve to feel as bad as you are.
A quart head in a pint hat is no fault of the hat.
Laughter is a lifter.
Never try to be what you think others think you ought to be.
Even if you're “in the cart” be thankful you're not in the shafts.
Cows can't laugh, but you're a “poor cow” if you won't.
Every crowd has a sniveller whining—but he's not us.page 16