The New Zealand Railways Magazine, Volume 8, Issue 1 (May 1, 1933)
The Agelessness of Youth
The Slaughter of the Innocence.
Man'S memory is as short as money, running pants and other shortages, and yesterday is as dead to-day as to-day will be to-morrow. Some say that Time is a healer, but Time is only a killer who goes “heeled.” Time is a murderer of memory who specialises in the slaughter of the innocence and the “rack-ateering” of Romance. Memory is the link that binds, while forgetfulness is the kink that blinds the eyes of age to the outlook of youth; which explains the eternal try-wrangle between heaviness of hand and lightness of heart, representing age and youth disrespectfully. For youth has never attained a taste for mock-tootle snoop, but hearkens to its heart because its heart beats the drum of drama and the tom-tom of truth, while the ear of age is deafened by the false fanfare of finance and the captious call of caution.
Expression and Suppression.
Youth and age are age-old enemies because youth demands expression and age commands suppression, and suppression is as unnatural as a nightwatchman in bed or a deep-sea diver in a bathing suit. No doubt “mother knows best”—for mother's sake, and father knows second of best—for peace sake, but youth, like the ancient mariner, prefers to risk the rock of rages in the stormy sea of solution rather than learn its longitudes and platitudes from the book of parental jogg-raphy.
Sea Dogs and Hot Dogs.
In daze of yore, when the professors of unnatural mystery assured the sea-dog that the earth was as flat as a flounder's hat, the sea dog kept his doubts “doggo” for fear of featuring as a hot dog in the grill grade of the Heresy Stakes. He put to sea to see, and proved that when in doubt the best way out is to go to see. He rounded off a flat argument, vindicated his vanity, and proved it is possible to go a long way without going “over the edge.” Youth likewise hastens to hold the bird of passage in the hand, rather than to hearken to its croaks from a cloistered cage. Youth is only age with its hair on, and if no hair begets brains, a pike is not such a poor fish after all.
Hair-splitting and Bald Fact.
Youth is an explorer of the hinterlands of Heresy, and no doubt the great adulterated are often useful as life-savers at the brink of the falls; but too often the adulterated wave the red flag while yet the roar of the rapids resembles the whisper of a spent water melon.
Youth must break and err before it can take the air, and the plane of life cannot rise until it has gathered speed on the runaway. After all, mistakes are only experiences which have missed the spot marked X, and if ignorance is bliss, knowledge often is blisters. Thus we echo the policy of the insurance agent, “‘tis better to have lived and lost than never to have lived at all.”page 14
Why Abel Got the Cane.
It probably was Adam's adamantcy which caused Cain to put the label on Abel, and if Adam's appeals had been less serpentine and more concerned with causes than cores, Abel might have dodged the cane. The naughtiness of youth is nought but a sally into the alley of allegation to see if the allegation equals the actuality. Put to metrical measure it sounds lore or mess like this:—
When we are young and life is mostly “why,”
And Heresy harps in accents drab and dry,
What remedy remains for questing youth
Except to ascertain the actual truth By individual inquest on the spot
To learn the why and wherefore and the what?
For youth demands the actualities
Of life, and knows by instinct chalk from cheese.
With mind unhampered by the direful dread
Of compromising for its daily bread, Youth can't be satisfied with self-deceit, But turns to taste the raw ungarnished meat.
And if the dish prove over-red and rare For stomachs unacquaint with fleshy fare, At least it learns while yet its mind is slim,
The reason why adults are grey and grim. And who can blame a mind not run to fat For wond'ring how its elders “got like that.”
Experience, the ancient anodyne For pristine preconception, must refine The making mind of youth, although methink
Experiment oft' makes the air to stink.
Thus when young Waldo, barely rising eight,
Is found recumbent in a sozzled state, With uncle's smouldering pipe upon his chest,
Young Waldo's state explains that he's expressed
The fundamental urge to grasp the truth About this Lady Nicotine forsooth.
And when young Waldo's senses make the grade,
He'll recognise the lady is a jade.
When Albert Edward, thinking he's a “swinjer,”
At seventeen consorts with gin and ginger,
Though this is bad we one and all agree, We can't feel any worse than Albert E. And thus these expeditions in the “wood” Do prove that out of evil cometh good, And age by word of mouth can never equal
The awful agony of sinning's sequel.
Grey Hairs and Gay Heirs.
Wise Cracks on the Nut.
Pertinent prophecy “and a little child shall lead them” is truth in a nut-shell, but the nut is tough and it takes a few wise cracks to get at its kernel.
Wisdom oft' lies in lack of “wisdom.” Youth possesses the “knowledge” of ignorance, but lacks the cunning to analyse the ignorance of “knowledge,” which explains why age is a crossword puzzle to the young.
Bats and Bawls.
But why worry! Age is only youth which has lost its memory, and the day must dawn when memory will return like the prodigal son-of-a-gun drawn to home and hearth by calf love. It is said that a smart crack on the cranium will resurrect a memory which has sunk beneath the ooze of the blues. If this is according to Hoyle and Cocker the adulterated world is due for a resurrection of youth. Nemesis is wielding the willow, and there is a chance that she will bat some beautitude into the beans of the prematurely proscribed. In the meantime age might excusably beg of youth:
Because I'm old,
But educate me
In things that go
To make the world
Less webbed in woe!
Because I'm lame
In mental muscle,
But give me light
To squash the blight
Which makes me hustle!
Don't pity me
Because you see
The way I grump
When life might be
Despite the slump.
Because I'm old,
But teach me sense,
To live each da
That comes my way,
The Doomsday book
Which fouls my Fate,
But put me right
On things which might
“Give me the gate.”
In other speech
Teach me to reach
And get a fist
On simple fact
That won't retract
And do a “twist.”
Youth is busy making the best of a bad job because it hasn't discovered that the job is bad. If the child is father of the man this explains man's infantile paralysis of the understanding.page 16