The New Zealand Railways Magazine, Volume 14, Issue 4 (July 1, 1939)
A Raid on Romance
To-Day is the day of debunkerdom. Myth is no more. Romance has been shot up and brought down. Science has machine-gunned Illusion. Cupid has fallen to cupidity.
Take love—but take it with a grain of salt and cut out the sugar.
Time was when love was a finger-post to fairyland; now it is a traffic warning to mooterists. Once we imagined that love was a mystical migration from which one returned either double or quits. We were brave in our belief that affinities were drawn together as irresistibly as flies to treacle, and collided in a florescent flurry of kitchen teas and marble clocks, flitting and “flatting.” It was a magic melting of egos in the stock-pot of bliss. It was a heavenly hiatus when Time stood still, but time-payment moved on. Love transformed us—and how!
But usually all we experienced was a gentle oozing away of consciousness in which we were incapable of normal living and were shunned by the sane. We believed dimly that somewhere there was a common world where people walked on their feet and sued each other. But not for us. We were as happy as a comatose cow.
The Low-down on Love.
But now Science says “Nerts!”—in Latin—and insists that love is a mild manifestation of suicidal insanity induced by low brain-power and high blood pressure. Science holds out hope for the love-horn and denies that love is necessarily fatal. If caught before consciousness has completely vanished, the afflicted may completely recover his freedom.
Science prescribes a poultice placed over the liver—or a brick dropped on the head. It gives it as its opinion that love is no more spiritual than petrified brains or ingrown knee-caps and arises either from too much imagination or too little.
Spectacles for Blind Faith.
If only they had known the truth what a lot of unnecessary sacrifice and faithfulness they might have saved themselves! A diet of raw greens and an injection of anti-sentiment serum, or even a slight operation on the sympathetic page 51 gland might have removed all danger of a long and happy married life. To-day Romance is a curable malady—emotional influenza or psychological sciatica. So …
Young fellow, don't swallow this tosh
Concerning Love's languor—it's bosh!
If you feel all Byronic
Go, order a tonic,
Or else you'll be “for it”—b'gosh!
This thing of which poets make “hooey”
And song-writers come over “gooey”
Is faulty ignition
Or some such condition
Which makes the brain gibbous and gluey.
Young fellow, take heed of advice
Or else pay the ultimate price,
Of blood pressure horrid
Which leads to confetti or rice.
Young lady, give Romance a bye,
This spiritual love's all my eye,
What you need is a diet
Or potion—go, try it!
And soon you'll be normally spry.
This fever called love's out of date
Soon doctors will have a new plate
Announcing to all
Who have heard Cupid's call,
“Love cured without pain while you wait.”
This debunking of day-dreams does not stop at love. It extends along the whole front of fantasy from hero-worship to ghosts, from Luck to leprechauns, from Voodoo to visions. Even dreams are put on the spot and the works disclosed. Before I was properly enlightened I regarded dreams as a kind of free entertainment by mythical Marx brothers with a dash of Walt Disney at his dizziest. But research among the back-stage corridors of the bean-pole have divulged the why and the how of what I regarded as vicarious vaudeville. Dreams are now as explainable as ear-ache or onions. They are nothing but “wish fulfilments” if you know what I mean; I don't. On the other hand, they are said to be prophetic peeps through the opera glasses of Morpheus. If the last is correct, I don't like the look of my future as prophesized in a recent night excursion in which I found myself tootling through town in a hip bath, more or less raw. Nor was I surprised when the hip bath turned into a frying pan in which I was being basted by a flounder wearing a fireman's helmet and tartan bed-socks. When he tossed me up I found myself rowing round the town clock in an open umbrella intent on giving the clock's hands a manicure with a scythe. Suddenly the clock gave me a “left” with its minute-hand and lifted off my head just below the ears. I was still canvassing the city trying to sell it for bed and breakfast when I woke. Now, I have never regarded my head as pawnable, nor have I experienced the urge to do the Godiva glide in a bath; as a guide to the future there is only one answer—“Come and get me, doctor!”
This “wish fulfilment” graft is understandable when you dream that you possess the power of pointing your finger at people you don't like and turning them into chemist's jars marked “poison”; or petrifying them into public monuments which you can pelt with explosive cabbages. But what about the “wish fulfilment” in the type of dream in which you are being pursued by ten thousand unreceipted bills dressed as harriers who hurl ink pots which snap savagely with their lids at your “back of beyond.”
A Riot of Retrospect.
My own opinion, absolutely unsupported by anyone else is that:—
Dreams are a prison riot,
Wherein the door of every mental cell,
(Continued on page 64)