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The New Zealand Railways Magazine, Volume 7, Issue 7 (December 1, 1932)

The Yuletidal Wave and the Simmer of Summer

page 12

The Yuletidal Wave and the Simmer of Summer

Mind over Matter-of-factness.

Christmas is a seasonal complaint which affects the mind and elevates it to a state bordering on humanity. It is mental rather than ornamental, although it is not unusual for the victim to suffer from “spots” and swellings. However, the symbols are ethereal rather than material, although it is permissible to produce such evidence of gilt as a goose quiescent on a plate of gravy, or a duff ambient between crossed spoons. Still, Christmas reposes mainly in the upper reaches of the life stream, and it is more appropriate to celebrate the significance of the season on an ice floe with a cold sausage and a warm heart, than to impersonate the season's salubrity in a mansion of aching hearts with a magnum of champagne and an embalmed peacock.

Consequently, Christmas may rightly be described as an altitudinisation of the mental plane, irrespective of the meateorological outlook or the victory of mind over matter-of-factness. Coming closer to “terra ferment;” when Christmas approaches and the “duffers” mould their glucose globules, and the poulterers join forces with the taxidermists, something besides the anticipation of gustatory interment and liquidatory con-ferment stimulates the sub-conscious tiddlewinks. This is the real spirit of Christmas, working while you sleep.

The True Sense of Irresponsibility.

Christmas is a species of psychological weight-lifting or heart's ease, when the microbes of mundanity and the caterwauls of care are ejected from the system by an inrush of insurrection to the brain. It is a state of mind in which the constitution revolts against the dismal diatribes of pusillanimous pessimism and dolorific despair. A time arrives when even a worm will turn and bite the mud that binds it, and a tadpole will spring off its tail and become a leap-frog rather than a mere muddler in mud.

Man is obsessed by a sense of responsibility, but a sense of irresponsibility is often a valuable adjunct to a “jink,” and is the leavening in the staff of life. A citizen who is incapable of reacting riotiously at Yuletide, is heel-tied and hopelessly handicapped in the catch-as-catch-can of Christmas. With these few words we introduce the spirit of the season, with the cork out; the overproof, unadulterated, nineteen-hundred-and-thirty-two star benedictine of benediction, with a “kick” like a mastodon's mit in a gelatine glove; a potion that invests the investigator with the mental vestments of variegated vision.

page 13
“Revolts against the dismal diatribes of pusillanimous pessimis.”

“Revolts against the dismal diatribes of pusillanimous pessimis.”

An existence without the crystallisation of Christmas once a year, to warm the hobs of hospitality, vitalise the virility and rout the slump-ticks, would be like a permanent pain in the neck. Imagine, horrified reader, the horror of facing a life spread out like a damp sheet of printer's errors, and unpunctuated by a dash or an exclamation mark. Such a life would be a permanent waive. Civilisation would reach that point of excellence and efficiency which destroys all life. But, fortunately, once every year the hobo Happiness heaves a spanner into the works of Advanced Existence, and there is a glad time for all for the duration of the cessation. The sun shines, man discovers again that he is separated from the slug only by his ability to laugh, that he still possesses the remnants of an ego, and that the odour of crushed grass, the thrust of the wind, and the warm earth caressing his bare brisket, are the real gifts of the gods.

He finds that he possesses a digestive apparatus, both physical and metaphysical, and can look like a man and act like a “maneater.”

Let us sing to the season of sun and salubrity:—

Oh, ho, for the germs of Christmas cheer

That fructify in “skittles” and beer,

And circulate in the human blood,

And lift the spirit out of the mud.

What-ho, for the fever of fancy and fun

Enveloping every son-of-a-gun

Who's bitten by bugs of the Yuletide breed—

A most intriguing complaint indeed—

Which causes its victims to moult with mirth,

And brings the loftiest down to earth.

Oh, it's good to laugh like anything,

When you feel the nip of the Yule-bug's sting.

Its good to forget you're civilised,

That your souls are cramped and undersized,

And to rise to the top of the golden slime

Of Commerce and Caution, at Christmas time

To slip the shackles of Progress trite

And bare the back to the microbe's bite,

And welcome the blisters of bliss and sun,

Each super-civilised son-of-a-gun.

For once a year you have the chance

To learn the nature of real romance,

Forgetting to be, like other men,

A highly respectable citizen.

How terribly terrible, reader dear,

To be respectable all the year.

And never to slip the noose of Pelf

Sufficiently long to be yourself.

Without this vagabond vacation,

You'd die of over-snivelisation.

So, ho for the bites that the Yule bugs give,

That cause each son-of-a-gun to live,

And heats his blood to a hundred and three

When he sees himself as he ought to be.

The Means to a “Bend.”

And what of the train in this scheme of springs. The train is the variegated
“The sun is Nature's intoxicant.”

“The sun is Nature's intoxicant.”

page 14 pull-over, the joyous jazz-jumper, covering the torso of Nature. The train is a means to a “bend,” and an accomplice in the act of breaking and entering the portals of Promise. The train and the traveller get “steamed up” together during the festive fiesta. Certainly Christmas was on the map before steam, but before steam stymied Stodge, Christmas was celebrated by sitting round flesh-pots rather than for flitting round fresh spots. With the arrival of the rail, railing took the place of aleing and baleing at Yule-tide, and now the world seeks new whirls to conquer, and discovers sun spots in rollicking by rail. In short, the railway engine is the iron hors d'oeuvres in a meal of merriment.

A Summing of Summer.

Christmas is Summer's white pants—a sign of seasonal salubrity and a salute to insobriety; for who is really sober in the summer? The sun is Nature's intoxicant, the ideal inebriant, and the only ale with a “kick” that breaks no bones.

There are other signs of summer. Only yesterday I noted the loud shriek of a backless bathing suit calling to the female beach-comber or brine-soaked lady-bird, from the depths of the plate-glass glades of Gladrags. Also, there are signs that the straw cady, so long absent from our shores, has reappeared in our midst. The straw cady, or rolling road-reveller, was once a common sight perching on the branches of our hat-racks and hall stands, slightly dishevelled after a day of flying to and fro about the roads and hedgerows of Wellington. But its natural foe, the Flying Squash-wabbler, or Tyred Tiddler, drove it from our shores.
Father Xmas Travels By Rail

Father Xmas Travels By Rail

Now it has returned we may expect a hot time this summer. In any case, it is a sign that summer may be expected to simmer. How true it is that a “straw” shews which way the wind blows.

For men of muscle, brown and braw,
There's nothing like a hat of straw.
It's light, and keeps the “boko” shady—
The straw commemorable “cady,”
You wear it either straight or “gay,”
It looks distinguished either way.
Its easy, when you meet a lady,
To raise a straw-constructed “cady.”
In fact, in case she should ignore you,
The wind will often raise it for you.
A straw invariably shews
Which way the wind at present blows.
In fact, the “cady” made of straw,
Is oft “not dead but gone before.”
At Christmas it's especially handy
For serving soup, or even “shandy,”
At picnic parties of the sort
Where crockery is always short.

The Sun-burnt Boko or Skinned Beak also has made an early appearance this year. Several have been seen displaying their tomato-like peal. The Sun-baked Boko must not be confused with the Sozzled Conk, for although they are of similar hue, they are birds of a different feather. The one derives its name from sizzling in sun, and the other from sozzling in rum. Other unnatural phenomena peculiar to summer are the Eskimo Pie-per or Arctic Tonsil-teaser, the Blazer or Striped-coated Swank, and the Picnic-party or Sand Swallow. Seeing that we are agreed that summer is to be or not to be, according to the weather, we will cease to simmer, and wish a good Christmas dinner to all.