The New Zealand Railways Magazine, Volume 13, Issue 10 (January 2, 1939)
“He's Tellin’ Us!!”
The idea of Ideas.
Charlie Chickweed is a philosopher. “It's me animal friends that does it,” he explained. “Every man is the reflecshun of the company ‘e keeps. Daily associashun with these ‘ere little varmints ‘as inflooenced me mind with benefishul results. No ‘uman bein’ can consort regular with animals without bein’ improved in ‘is mental an’ moral conserps. My observashuns ‘ave led me to the conclushun that man lost ‘is ‘appiness when ‘e lost ‘is tail an’ will never regain either until ‘e gets back both. Animals ain't ‘ounded by ideas like ‘umans. Y’ might say that animals are ruled by three N's—eatin', sleepin', an’ courtin'. Slip them an extra idea an’ they get as contrary an’ miserable as ‘uman beings. Take a seal, sir! As ‘appy a bit of streamlinin’ as you'd find anywhere, gettin’ an appetite day by day chasin’ its breakfast in the briney instead of losin’ its appetite wonderin’ where its next breakfast is comin’ from like many ‘uman victims of conflictious ideas. But, take a seal out of ‘is natural element an’ teach ‘im new tricks, an’ what ‘appens? Well, sir, ‘ave you ever noticed the expression on the face of a performin’ seal?
I've seen the same ‘aunted look on the faces of trained fleas an’ vacuum-cleaner salesmen—kind of ‘Oliver-Twiss-askin'-for-more.’ Ideas! That's what's the matter with the world to-day. Too many people with too many ideas to get off their chests. Some nut ‘oo's failed in all the natural pershoots of life such as mindin’ his own business, bein’ happy with ‘imself an’ tolerable with others, thinks up a ‘cause’ from all the odds an’ ends of ignerance at ‘is disposal, gives it a name endin’ with ‘ism’ and persuades other nuts nuttier than himself to fight for it. This ‘ere ismism, which ‘as spread like an epidermic through the ranks of civilisation, ‘as never took toll of the animal kingdom. That's why I like ‘em an’ respeck their intelligence. They are not took in by anything that don't smell like the real Mackie. They've got a nose that detecks delooshuns and snares. It's a pity, sir, that ‘uman bein's ‘ave lost the art of sniffin’ trouble, on account of livin’ so long with their noses stuck up in the air instead of gettin’ them down to earth.
Scents and Sense.
You don't catch no animal fallin’ for false ideas that don't smell like something ‘e can eat. ‘Uman bein's die of indigestion of the brain through swallowin’ ideas that look right but don't smell right. They are the victims of complicashuns, self-inflicted.
Look at Jezebel, sir, sittin’ on ‘er perch as wise as Solomon's wife, an’ with not ‘alf her opportoonities. A parrot of discretion, sir, in spite of bein’ soiled by ‘uman contack through bein’ born in a bar an’ chewin’ the demoralisin’ ends of corks. ‘Er only ‘umanlike accomplishment is that she talks without knowin’ what she's sayin’ but, unlike ‘umans, she's saved from disaster by the fact that she don't believe a word of it. Just get a close-up of that eye, sir, but keep yer fleshy parts away from the Black Douglas. Magpies ‘ave a great sense of ‘umour. Many a gent the Black Douglas ‘as nipped in the bud, so to speak, when bendin’ to tickle the guinea pigs. Jest good clean fun, sir.
The Modesty of Genius.
I always regards Douglas as an objeck lesson, sir. Sort of clerical ‘e looks in is black an’ white an’ a face that y’ might meet at the bar. Put a wig on Douglas an’ I guarantee you'd ‘and ‘im six and eightpence kind of automatic. Many a ‘uman bein’ with a face like that would feel bound to walk ponderous an’ look solemn as though ‘e knew things which was a mystery to everyone else. They'd make money out of a face like the Black Douglas's. But Douglas ‘as the modesty of genius. ‘E knows that there's not much fun in jest ownin’ a face and sellin’ it at six an’ eight a time. ‘E knows that the real fun of life is seein’ gents jump an’ lose their dignity which ‘as cost them so much misery to cultivate.
Excuse me, sir, while I lift Columbus off your collar. Explorin’ little things, white mice, ain't they? Nearly killed an ole gent, Columbus did. ‘It's got me!’ moans the ole party. ‘It's goin’ up me leg. It's creepin’ paralysis.'
“‘Tut, tut!’ says I, takin’ a rumble to the situashun. ‘That's not creepin’ paralysis, that's creepin’ Columbus.’ An’ sure enough, there was Columbus examinin’ the ole gent's suspender which was branded ‘Made in U.S.A.’ It took two dog powders to bring the ole gentleman round.
There's Gold in That Thar Bowl.
“‘I can't guarantee it, lady,’ says I ‘All I can tell you is that ‘e's been him-mersed in that water ever since I've ‘ad ‘im and ‘e's never cried ‘elp'! once.'
You don't want to worry about their expression, sir; they've not really sneer-in’ at you. They get like that through constantly swallowin’ water. ‘Oo wouldn't, sir? It must be ‘orrible. But their expression makes ‘em difficult to sell, sir, for no gent likes to think that the goldfish sneer at ‘im even if ‘e is married.
Well, good-bye, sir. Any time you feel sort of fed-up with yourself come an’ sit with the animals. They won't mind.”