The New Zealand Railways Magazine, Volume 4, Issue 10 (February 1, 1930)
Things Big and Small
The Sub-Conscious and the Grub-Conscious.
What, dear reader, is your first thought when, at dewy morn, you unreef your eye-covers and merge from the celestial reaches of the subconscious to the terrestrial sphere of the grub-conscious? Do you muse on the musicality of the double crochet, or brood on the sublime simplicity of the mating moth-ball? Does your soul echo the muted murmurs of the nesting nutmeg, or the resonant rustling or the matutinal milk-token? Does your being respond to the beacon of the milky way, or does it cry out for the bacon, toast and “tay”? Truth, dear reader, compels us to affirm the latter. Let poets dote on “the fullness of time” and the “empty spaces,” but to us of grosser grain, empty spaces have no physiological fascination—we prefer the fullness of meal time to the fullness of real time.
Truly, every man is a mirrored image of his menu. The menu makes or breaks the man, and the man is the manifestation of his menu's mastery; in fact the menu means you.
We are warned that man cannot live by bread alone, and, in the same breath, that man cannot have his cake and eat it too. Such contradictory contentions have coerced some conscientious deflectors to eschew chewing solids and go into permanent liquidation.
Astronomy and Gastronomy.
The liver, dear reader, is to Gastronomy what the sun is to Astronomy; spots on the sun and spots on the liver are equally conducive to “deucive” disturbances. Life owes more to the liver than the “liver” realises, but when Time slips onward as smoothly as an untailored banana, do you tender a vote of thanks to your liver, or do you feel that the phenomenon is merely another proof that you are an ultraviolet ray and a beacon in the night?
On the other hand, have you ever considered to what extent the rise and fall of notions, the cries and crises of nations have been influenced by the aforesaid porous appendage? Do you not see the writing on the liver? Cannot you envisage the hysterical effect of this apparently innocuous piece of physiological furniture on hapless humanity?
Is not your imagination fired so that you perceive a pageant of liveried livers leaping up from the beginning of the past, each laying a brick on the House of History before each in turn outlives its license as a liveree and becomes a dyer?
The Great and the Grater.
History bulges with instances of those who started out to be great and grew to be graters—laid low by a liver. Consider, dear reader. Napoleon, Alexander (the other one), Julius the seizer, Egbert the egg-beater, Don Quick-lunch, and Dick Tiepin; were they not all “licked” by a liver? Is it not true that when the liver lies down on the job the spleen rises up in revolt? Alexander's corn-quests were the result of hobnails on the liver rather than of hobnails on his soldiers’ sandals. No doubt he arose one morning from his canopied couch and, after kicking the royal platypus through the portcullis, howled: “Where the Helvetia is my Roamin’ razor? I'll knock the eternal page 14 anchovies out of Africa for this;” and he did. In confirmation of this hypercritical hypothesis, let us brood o'er the liverish lines of Leopold Liverpill, the bilious bard.
Lights on the Liver.
Oh! I positively shiver
When I contemplate the liver,
And its manifold potentialities,
How the slightest imperfection
In its purpose or direction,
Makes its owner feel like Gorgonzola cheese,
Or a piece of protoplasm
Groping blindly in a chasm,
Populated in the main by chimpanzees.
Oh, it makes me fairly quiver
When I feel as if my liver
Were a sinker sunk beneath the ocean's
Where the mudfish groan and grumble,
And the blind crustaceans mumble,
Something not unlike the prehistoric Blues,
Or the gurgle of a lizard
With a wish-bone in its gizzard—
Not the sort of song at all that one would
If you've ever owned a flivver,
You will understand the liver,
For they both are prone to stall without
At the slightest provocation,
And without equivocation,
Cutting off the fickle flow of gas-trick juice,
In the mildest constitutions—
What a world of woe a liver can produce.
‘Truly, dear reader, when the liver re-fuses the lights short-circuit.
Eats and Meats.
Have you ever awakened to the knowledge that life is a lemon and the world a doubleyolked mustard-plaster; when you feel that your emotions have turned grey in a night; when you resent the way the canary looks at you, and revile the dial which grimaces from your shaving glass with the malignity of a storm-tossed corn-plaster; when you swear that the goldfish and the white rabbits bare their teeth at you as you stagger out into the mustard—coloured world? Then, sad reader, you can take as read that you are seeing yellow.
This lack of luminosity in the lamps is the result either of your failure to follow the diatribes of the dietetists or your error in following too faithfully. For to every ten thousand who yelp “Eat Meat Neat,” there are another ten thousand who moan “Nuts for Nutrition.”
In addition, there exists a school of starvationists which insists that there is as much strength in an egg as in a pound of meat. True, dear reader, for many of us have met eggs which were stronger by far than a whole meat-works.
Eggs and Impulses.
Who is there amongst us who can deny an almost irresistible impulse to yield the yolk of respectability and slip in among the egg crates with a gamp. Oh for solitude, a bin of the barn-yard's by-product and a pick-handle! Dreams, dreams—ebullient “eggsaggerations.”
The mind of man is as complex as a crocodile's cosine or the vocal vices of the mawkies, for we have all known model men, almost viciously virtuous, who have without warning become victims of the irresistible impulse; men who without malice aforethought, coercion or alcoholism, have suddenly seen red and smoked a gasper to the last gasp.
Dear reader, we ask you truly, how often has some inner voice urged you to “forbid the banns,” simply because you know that no one else is game to call the parson's bluff. How often have you been obliged to grip Hymns, Ancient and Modern, in the larger edition, firmly between your northern and southern dentures, in order to strangle the fateful words brewing in your brain—“I forbid the blinking banns.”
Pies and Piety.
Repression is a codification of civilisation, and the curse of culture, just as auto-suggestion is the metaphysics of the motor merchant; but it is cruel to contemplate the fact that Charlie Chaplin has made hills of hoot by acting on his reactions and projecting pies at bald beans, while we have sat on such simple little pleasures as putting up a barrage of Eskimo Pies at the pictures. Charlie undoubtedly knows his pastry and slings a mean pie, and good luck to him if he can decoy the dough by his pie-ty, but it is a bitter thought that we are restrained by the Arms Act from such harmless little flippancies as flipping a flap-jack or brandishing a blanc-mange in a public place. Such injustice breeds bilious bigots and punctures piety.
Truly, such visions of verticality as the Rimutakas offer, cause the cerebrum to surge with alpinistic agitation as the train pants and labours heroically up the noble incline from Cross Creek to Summit. Recently an attenuated traveller visioned the vertical view from a carriage platform with evident disbelief, like the United States man who turned his back on the riots of Rotorua with the words: “I don't believe it.” But there was some excuse for the wayfarer on the Rimutakas, for the train had been deflected from the Manawatu to the Wairarapa on account of a slip in the Manawatu Gorge, and without notice or warning he found himself standing on one ear, as it were.
“Goo’ gor; where am I?” he whispered, like someone regaining consciousness after having been struck smartly on the occiput with a cookery-class scone.
The four gallant engines panted and pulled like iron Clydesdales; the cogs muttered grimly as they gripped and chewed the centre rail; fearsome depths and breath-taking examples of Nature's adolescent fury crept past. To the traveller prepared for such stark ruggedness and naked beauty the Rimutakas are palpitatious, but to have them suddenly served on one without the usual seven days notice is enough to make one cry “Good gor!”
“I'm catchin’ the boat home to th' ole Dart t'morrer, but glad I didn't miss this,” offered the excited excursionist, and somewhere on the ocean's bosom there floats another unpaid booster of these rugged and overpowering isles. Etched on his brain is a picture of sheer fingers of naked rock groping among the mists, white ribbons of water in the gloom of the gullies, huge patches of Pohutukawa bloom splashing the mountain like blood oozing from the side of a wounded but unvanquished giant; and of a great dry watercourse—a glacier of shingle—like a half-healed sword slash in the mountain's side—“Goo' gor, ain't man minute!”
There are a million advantages in travelling by train in New Zealand and two of them are that the traveller can always be sure of splendid mountain and a wonderful gorge on the Railway.