The New Zealand Railways Magazine, Volume 6, Issue 5 (November 2, 1931)
Knock-ons and Knock-outs.
Existence, like golf, is a game of mischance, or a series of drives into the unknown by the unknowing. But existence is played with a ball with a bias and a two-way club which is as liable to deliver a knock-out as a knock-on. The caddy is a tee-potter in his cups, and is as likely to hand one the raspberry as the mashie.
As in golf, Bogey is the power behind the groan, or the hand that caps the handicaps. Every man's bogey is his ego with the shivers, and is as much a part of him as his hocks or his slacks or anything that is his. Some men's bogeys are imaginary or bogus bogeys, while others are “menaganerie” or apeish bogeys, being more zoological than logical. Trains run on bogies, but humans try to run from them. “Everyone has at least one. Some of the better-known bogeys are: the old-age bogey or rogey bogey, the suspicion bogey or roguey bogey, the timidity bogey or boggle bogey, the fear bogey or bogey bogey, and the depression bogey or boggy bogey. Some are fogged and bogged in bogeys, while others keep one or two for the sake of companionship.
I've got a bogey with whiskers on its chin, A bogey dour and doughy that follows me like sin;
I don't know where I got it—that bogey blue and drear,
I only know my bogey is everlasting near.
I wonder if my bogey has got a bogey too,
As drear as mine is dreary and blue as mine is blue?
Oh, why are bogeys bogeys and why are bogeys drear?
I fear that all the bogeys are fearful fears of fear.
I fear that all the bogeys that hammer on our brains,
Are not the sort of bogies supporting railway trains,
But rather boggy bogeys without the power of speed,
A bunch of bogus bogeys whom those who run may read.
And once they're read they're finished, and dead as Uncle Tam,
For nothing kills a bogey like showing it's a sham.
The average bogey is only average, and can be frozen out with the cold shoulder or curled up with a bright outlook. There should be a law against consorting with bogeys, and bogeyism should be punishable like incendiarism, rowdyism, dogmatism or depressionism, Depressionism is a bilious bogey with a sawn-off mind and a black outlook, like a nigger in a crow's nest. Depressionism, if permitted to lodge in the brain cells, is likely to become a permanent boarder.page 50
A permanent boarder of this order is not a paying jest; all jests are paying jests even if payment is deferred, for a jest is a note of hand which is always good for a trick. If successful living depended on gloom we all would wear elastic stockings to prevent our understanding from expanding.
Laughter and After.
There is a destiny that shapes our ends, but there is also a hilarity that sharpens our beginnings. Destiny is the effect to-morrow of the cause to-day, or the advance agent of Life's Circus. A laugh to-day waits round the corner until its owner catches up with it. Gloom is the hall-mark of cold feet or mud on the passage of time, but merriment is the elevator to the beauty parlours or the escalator to ecstacy. The world sometimes mistakes solemnity for solidity, and silence for prescience, when the goods are not in the van. The human mind is a goods van. There is always something fresh being dumped into it, and something else being shot out of it to make room for something fresh. We take in the goods and deliver the goods, but if the door is kept locked we have no goods to deliver because we have failed to take them in. Everyone takes a run up the main trunk of Life, but those who do it with a closed van might as well have rusted on the home siding.
A Run of Luck.
Next to running a circus or a boarding school for bolsheviks, running a railway is the most attractive attraction in traction. A railway is a run of luck.
The average citizen or “man in the seat,” imagines that all one requires to run a railway is a good head of steam, a brass hat, and a bell for starting something. As a matter of fact railway-running is more difficult than rum-running. Yet there are people who think that a railway is nothing more than speed without heed or parallel lines ruled by the whim of chance. They imagine that trains are supported by faith, hope and charity, or, like poets and pheasants, can keep running without support. Or they picture the chief steamologist strolling into the iron hostlery, or engines' boudoir in the morning and remarking, “well boys, what's the betting for the nine-fifteen?” and the iron-horses’ bridle-grooms giving him the dope straight from the iron-horse's fire-box, e.g. “She is good for twice the distance boss, and if she doesn't finish first I'll swallow the oil can and cotton waste and get lit.” No, dear reader, if it were as simple as this, railways would be as plentiful as wail-rays, sting-rays, or groanologists.
Propositions and Prepositions.
My heart goes out to the residents of the Sahara, the Great Wall of China, and the dreaded Gobi, where no trains go by—except camel-trains, which are humped and often go dry. On the Great Wall of China the Chinks are chinkless because they have no coin to chink, simply because the march of progress has not reached them in the “permanent way.”
But New Zealand, too, without rails would be derailed and bewailed. Let us imagine our isolated isles bereft of the link that binds and all that. In modern blank verse, which is more blank than verse, the situation would be not unlike the cry of an anguished sandwich which has failed to land the mustard. Thus:
Not a train! Oh, my brain
Whirls in pain. Am I sane?
Everywhere, I'm aware.
If I dare, to compare,
Tangled growth—oh, my oath!
It is stiff—that is if.
What I see, is the key,
To the me, that is ME.
All the land—it is banned,
Quick, a beer! do you hear?
I will swoon, mighty soon.
All is black, like a sack
Full of soot—shake a foot!
All is dead—oh, my head!
Not a toot, nor a hoot,
Not a scoot—and to boot
There's a chill, on the hill,
And a hush, in the bush—
Dead as mush, not a rush,
To the farm—keep me calm!!
All is dead, in my head,
Or instead, I am lead,
Full of pain—not a train—
What again! Am I sane?
Where's the rail? What a tale!
I am pale—quick, regale
Me with sack, for alack
We are back to the pack,
And we're stiff—that is, if–
Half a jiff! That's a whiff
Of a train—I am sane,
Son of Cain—it's a train!
That, dear reader, is an ejaculatory ejaculation of the emotions of one bereft of locomotions whose loco emotions have been stirred to motion—and aren't we all?page 52