The New Zealand Railways Magazine, Volume 5, Issue 8 (February 1, 1931)
Romance On The Rail
Back-knocks and Knock-backs.
Dear Reader, the question in question is whether the world is Man's Play Area or his Pay Arrear; whether the globe is Man's marble in the game of back-knocks, or whether the World plays the back-knocks and leaves Man the knock-backs; whether Man is the Captain or the Capstan—whether he is the big noise or only the echo. Possibly the World would manage to keep on the roll even if Man were struck off it, for all Man's efforts are directed towards the betterment of Man. He snips bits off Nature with one hand and returns half with the other, that he may take again and make a gain. It almost looks as if he were dutiable as a luxury; as if he were an authorised expenditure within the meaning of the law of Supply and Demand; a parasitical paradox or even a paradoxical pillarbox filling himself with letters of credit for which he deserves no credit. But seeing that Man is rather the jest than the guest of Nature he is obliged either to conquer or conk out.
Idealism and I-do-ism.
Man has conquered almost everything except himself. He has soared to the point where he has nothing to grab if he loses his balance, and he realises that the higher he goes the harder he falls. He is whirled without end, tossed on the horns of his own dilemmas, pursued by his pursuits, torn betwixt Idealism and I-do-ism, withered by hot air, and frozen in the currents of cold reason. One half of him asserts that the game is not worth the candle, and the other half shields the candle; he curses his fate and nurses his fat; he takes all he can and cans all he takes. He claims that life is not worth living, but leavens his liver to live the longer.
The Incredibility of Credit.
Man has a lot to his credit and he owes a lot to Credit; for he is a natural creature of Credit. Credit is the breath of his strife, and shortness of breath is a prevalent penalty of Progress. Credit is a sort of L.S.Delirium to which he is heir; it is a swivelisation of civilisation, and without Credit he would be discredited. The idea of Credit is to get something for nothing on the understanding that you pay twice as much for it as you would if you paid for it before—or something as incredible. Before you can get Credit you must prove that you don't need it. But he who needs it most can't get it unless he can prove that he can do without it, which he can't. A country that would raise a loan must shew reason why it doesn't need it, and the supplicant who gets Credit must first prove that he should'nt. All of which seems discernible and incredible; boiled down and oiled up it means: “If you can't you can” and “If you don't you do.” ‘Tis a mad world, shipmates. Credit is really the echo of Bullion's bellow or cash incog.
Weilding the Willow and Swinging the Lead.
Hope and Soap.
Speaking of Hope, January is the advance agent for a brand new line of this luxury. Hope, like soap, is slippery when it gets damp, and is liable to slither out of reach; but every new year is a brand new cake of unsampled fragrance with the promise of its qualities advertised on its wrapper.
No human here below could cope
With this and that, bereft of hope.
He'd merely wither day by day,
Until he curled and blew away.
The person who would stifle care,
Must overhaul his Hope each year,
And if it needs a patch or two,
Or wants a dab of liquid glue,
Such service makes it nearly new.
The octopus and antelope,
Are each imbued with heaps of hope.
The octoroon is also rich
In Hope, although as black as pitch,
And even little things like gnats,
All harbour Hope beneath their hats.
The motto in this homily,
Is hitch your hope and wait and see.
Hope is guaranteed to remove the wrinkles off an oyster's cloister, bring back the merry laughter to a bored borer, and renew the bloom of a cold stew. If the future were an open book man would grow leaves instead of turning them.
Riding with Romance.
The planet's dimensions have been reduced aeroplanetically. To-day it is possible to visit your rich uncle in Fiji, touch him for a fiver and return after a loan flight, in time to circulate the good news among the local licensed victuallers. It is nothing nowadays for a lady to take a fly round the well-known shopping routes. Its a small world, dear reader, and getting smaller every day.