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The New Zealand Railways Magazine, Volume 4, Issue 7 (November 1, 1929)

Sea-Legs and Saxaphones

Sea-Legs and Saxaphones.

It is necessary for some people to be canned before they can be candid, but we are painfully sober when we say that the question to which we have been leading up, and running round, is, “What shall we do with our male young?” Of course, we know what to do to our boys—that is something which “every father knows.”

As we contemplate them in, their cradles, looking like the negative the photographer ruined, or the bag-wash's blunder, we plan their futures.

We say, “Oh, yes, he will be a sea-captain,” without even examining his extremities to see if he possesses the rudiments of sea-legs, or overhauling him for tattooed anchors; or we remark to his mother, “What a lovely saxaphone player the lad will make,” on the flimsy grounds that he seems to be addicted to orgies of wind spasms, and moans in his sleep.

Only by surreptitiously studying the vocational vagaries and rudimentary reactions of our young can we hope to train them in the way they should grow; for the child is the man and the man who can be the child is some kid.

The infant who socks his aunt in the eye with his porringer will not necessarily turn out an eyesore—he may degenerate into a movie comedian, which unfortunately is often the same thing. The child who falls into everything without a lid, and frequently lands himself in hot water, may fall into something good in the dry-goods line later on, especially if he can transfer from hot water to hot air. For the infant who howls indefatigably it is easy to predict a successful career as a radio denouncer. But the bright lad who eats coal, boils with indignation, has no fear of bogeys, tries to throttle the cat, and rides the rails of his cot, is on the highway to the railway; in short, his life's motif is the locomotive, and even with the home signal against him, he is bound to collect the tablet. So let our song be “Watch and Wait” rather than “Bait and Botch.” As the circus proprietor said to the stationmaster while he trucked the elephants, “There are often big things in train.”