The New Zealand Railways Magazine, Volume 4, Issue 4 (August 1, 1929)
Items Of Interest
Monkeying with Chimp's Lymphs.
Do/sc you ever pause, dear reader, in your pursuit of fame and fireworks, to contemplate those opti-mystic words: “Make me a child again, just for to-night.” How often have you heard this sophomorical supplication raised like the cry of a radio-uncle sore smitten with infantile paralysis in the child-welfare department, or a son of Haggis, who would, perchance, qualify for a half-price ticket as an applauder of Lauder.
From Greenland's ice-cream fountains to India's rubber bands, opti-maniacs pay good money for a bad imitation of Youth. They hie them to Vienna to get a brace of chimp's lymphs welded onto their conjunctional isthmuses, in the belief that, by monkeying with glands they may become impregnated with the germs of juvenility. True, some prefer to accept the art of plastic surgery at its face value, inclining to the belief that by wearing their ears back to front, bending the nose, putting a crimp in the cranium, and generally upholstering the facial furnishings with pseudo-moles and embroidered eyebrows, they can put back the hands of time on their clocks, and regain those careless days of soapless childhood.
Nay, dear reader, mother knows best—youth is not a matter of physique or physic; it cannot be recalled at will like the lingering flavour of garlic; neither can it be regained by wearing cast-off twiddly-bits from the zoo, nor by being insulated with Dunlop arteries.
Youth is of the arts rather than of the arteries. In speaking of rejuvenation, we do not refer to the art of make-believe or make-up, once practised by the female “juvenile lead,” in those dear old bellow-dramas we used to revel in, with titles like Yeast Lynn, Greased Sin, ‘Ell in a Glim, and The Face Round the Bathroom Door. Even the “juvenile lead” realised that rejuvenation was a matter not to be taken lightly, especially in view of her tonnage and the fact that her vocal vibrations were normally of the variety that caused movable objects to rock on their bases, bitumen to bulge, and strong men to quiver from end to end. But she, dear soul, refused to grow old, although foully treated by wicked uncles and beaten by ferocious step-mothers in a manner calculated to strain the rivets in the hull of an armour-plated armadillo.
Neither do we refer to the methods of rejuvenation urged by certain prophylactic propagandists in the monthly magazines, who shoot off salvos of subtle suggestion concerning our inner histories, which even the modern biographer might (and might not), hesitate to divulge—interrogational insinuendos, such as:—
Do you feel as young as you did before you were as old as you are?
Do you experience a meat-eorological depression in the meridian after eating?
Why wear a bald patch on the thatch?
Do you feel old at ninety?
Does everything you eat turn to food?
At a curse-ory glance, such instances of human frailty as the aforementioned, have no apparent bearing on the question of youth; but the altruistic advertiser knows his homeopaths, and hastens to point out how, by such errors as wearing a hissute hiatus under the hat, and allowing our luncheons to rest heavily on our conscience, we are beating the basinette, cheating childhood, and throwing away a golden opportunity of living according to Plunket.
Believe me, dear reader, Youth depends on none of these artful aids. Youth is not in the cells, but in the cerebrum. It is only kept in the mind by keeping it in mind. It can be regained, once lost, solely by glueing the optic of optimism earnestly to the wrong end of Time's telescope and thus keeping the soda-fountain of the soul permanently refreshed with youthful effervescence.
Loot and Booty.
Let us tear each other's collars off, tender the provocative “skatty blow”; stalk by night, the forbidden apple to its native lair; dodge the daily task; scorn the weaker sex ruthlessly; yelp for no apparent reason; and generally get back to fundamentals, which is the real secret of youth, both eternal and internal—let's!
After the Bawl.
No one really knows who started the advertising bawl arolling, and no one can predict when—if ever—it will stop. Some assert that it was the work of a certain Mr. Barnum, the King of Beasts—the man who put the hippo in hippodrome, spotted the leopard, circuited the circus, lassooed the Ilama, put the gumbo on Jumbo, made allegations about alligators, gave talks on auks, knew all about guns, and introduced five hundred specimens of fearsome but jaded fauna to a pop-eyed populace.
Everybody who knows a circus from a surplice has heard about Mr. Barnum, but although it must be admitted that he possessed the faculty of forcing continuous draughts of air through his vocal chords in such a manner as to produce a plethora of personal plaudit, and although, by perpetrating publicity perpetually, he left his imprint on the pages of natural and page 11 unnatural history, nevertheless it is wrong to attribute to him the birth of the notion. The subtle science seems to have been hatched before Nature produced Barnum, the human bill-board.
Bushels and Bombshells.
You will recollect, intelligent reader, that man was adjured not so long ago, to “hide not his light under a bushel,” an injunction which has since proved to be a superfluity of advice; for history does not disclose that man has ever been in danger of snuffing his illumination with a bushel, or even a ton. In fact hundreds of tons of reinforced concrete, arranged in tiers and provided with sound-proof doors, have proved insufficient to keep within bounds his egoistic emanations. You may inter him in an ornamental sarcophagus of stone and steel, and still he booms—in truth, the larger the tomb the louder the boom. Booming, however, is one of the necessities of emancipated existence.
The man who is not a boomer is a “bloomer.” On this cosmic battlefield of boomers, no individual who has anything to sell, say, or even give away, can afford to emulate the dumbwaiter, for he who is dumb awaits in vain the falling of the fruits of silence—silence is no longer golden.
Booming, commonly known as advertising, is the art of titillating the subconscious unconsciousness of the many-headed with torrents of terminalogical tintinnabulations, or (to use the vernacular of the Excited States), “slinging the blobs an earful.”
Advertootlers and Advertiddlers.
The art of spreading the gospel of gold-getting is applied to innumerable commodities, from the ferro-concrete tooth-pick to the panoramic pretensions of whole slabs of Mother Earth; but advertisers themselves can, broadly and loudly, be divided into two classes, i.e., the Advertootler and the Advertiddler.
The Advertootler puts the printed word across in no uncertain type; he advances in double column, sends up “flares,” and slings over ink bombs continually. His slogan is “spare the cash and crash the splash.”
On the other hand, the Advertiddler tiddles timidly with his munitions. He is no advertising astronomer; he possesses no appreciation of the wonders of “space.” His motto is “An inch at a time saves nine,” forgetting the truism that “An advert, a day keeps the bailiff away.”
Perhaps an ad-verse or two from the pen of Allfired Noise, the Bard of Rave-on, might throw some lightning on the subject of “space.” Let her go—allegretto!
Beer or bananas, pyjamas or soap,
Wrappers for flappers, or pieces of rope,
Anti-fat remedies, patented pills,
Houses or trousers, or jumpers for Jills,
Flivvers or livers or pieces of pork,
Hooters or scooters, or talkies that Talk,
Binnacles, barnacles, railways or rugs,
Pickles or chowders, or powders for bugs,
Books of biography, biscuits or boats,
Player pianos without any notes,
Barrels of bitumen, engines or eggs,
Elephants, ostriches, peanuts or pegs,
Anchors for tankers, or legal advice,
Telephones, saxaphones, poisons for mice,
Sawdust or saucepans, or rudders for ships,
Bonnets for “Lizzies,” or clips for the hips,
Lotions or potions, that pacify pain,
Doughnuts or dodgems, or pieces of chain,
Take ‘em and shake ‘em and put ‘em in print,
Spare not the space nor the cost of a sprint.
Pickaxe and pickle, and sawdust and soap,
Call in an expert to “lay out” the “dope;”
Splash it with colours or dress it in red,
Such a display as will mount to the head.
Then when you've finished, begin it again,
Ad infinitum, from China to Spain.
“Guys with the goods,” who are after the “dust,”
Boom like a boomerang—“Babble or Bust!”
You will no doubt gather from these stunning stanzas, dizzy reader, that, to keep pace with the whirring wheels of commerce it is necessary to step on the pedal of the press, race on with rhetoric, and hit up the headlines. Fail to accelerate, and you miss the bus to Easy Street.
Railway travellers are of two varieties—train-catchers and time-stretchers. Train-catchers call for no comment except that they catch trains, but time-stretchers are ambulating anachronisms who misconstrue the term tempus fugit as meaning “time-for-another.” They likewise believe, probably, that sotto voce is Alcoholese for “the voice of the drunkard,” that a bigamist is a big-game hunter, and that a basinette is a musical instrument. When you pause to consider the matter they are seen to be not altogether in error.
Catch As Catch Can.
Speaking of missing the bus, reminds us that there are people who find it impossible to catch a train. They may catch colds with impunity, catch fish with bated breath, catch rats without cats, and “catch it” from their nearest and dearest. But these people, when it comes to connecting with the rolling stock, are as futile as a cow-catcher without an engine. Professor Clutch, a well known exponent of the art of tying ring adversaries in lover's knots, was like that. In his professional capacity he could catch anything on legs and tie it up so adroitly that for days the victim would have to look in the glass to manipulate his handkerchief successfully, and yet Clutch could not catch trains. Train after train he missed. For years he has been trying to move to another town, but he is always late for the last train and misses the next. The authorities refused him permission to camp on the platform, so it is easy to predict that he will continue to reside at the old address, Sine Die, which is the name of his residence. People forget that a locomotive is a lady of her word, and that when she advertises that she intends to become unstationary at 2.2 she is not toot-tooting for fun, or merely letting off steam.