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The New Zealand Railways Magazine, Volume 13, Issue 12 (March 1, 1939.)

Get Fit Or Go Phut

page 52

Get Fit Or Go Phut

Keep fit—that's it!
Grow vital and vivid—
Not languidly livid—
With muscles that swell
And ripple like—well,
Be fit!
That's it—keep fit!
Full of vitamins red,
A, B, C, up to Z,
And corpuscles ruddy
We're tellin' you, buddy—
Keep fit!
Grow fit—make a hit!
Magnetic, compelling,
With eye stern and quelling,
With jaw that gives pause
To mother-in-law's.
Don't quit—keep fit!
Keep training the torso,
Each day a bit more so.
In exercise wallow,
You'll be an Apollo—
Maybe, but don't quit! Keep fit!
Grow fit—have grit!
Though you're feeling all in,
Give the business a spin,
Don't weaken, keep moving,
Each day you're improving.
Be fit—how it thrills you!
Be fit—if it kills you!
Stick it out, keep it up—Don't quit!
You may as well die keeping fit.


Get phit or go phut. It's your duty to keep fit even if you die in the attempt. Samson in his day never dreamt of the number of ways there are of keeping fit. He grew fit in spite of his ignorance. It is amazing also to think that Goliath and Hercules were able to rise above the disadvantages of their times. Now, had they lived to-day with all the torso-teasing and tissue-titillating tactics available they might have gone really big. But the chances are that they would never have been able to stand up to the strain. Hercules' diet probably was bear's ribs and lion's liver. Poor sap! He knew nothing of vitamins and calories and the strengthening properties of peanuts. He was just dragged up in ignorance, snapping off pillars of temples with his bare hands and breaking the jaws of lions without the faintest scientific knowledge of how to get strong. There are more ways of keeping fit than there are of going to the dogs. But natural ignorance sponsored by natural brawn is not one of them. A bull is strong, but his ignorance on the subject is appalling.

“When jaw meets jaw, then comes the tug-of-war.”

“When jaw meets jaw, then comes the tug-of-war.”

Love in a Pottage.

Wildly speaking, the scientific technique of getting fit is to cut out all the things you like, and do all the things you don't like. Fitness entails a stoical indifference to the flesh pots, the hop-pots, and all other pots of promise.

When you examine the subject it is amazing how much of our pleasure reposes in pots. This may explain the general pottiness of progress. Love in a pottage is all very well, but it doesn't build bonny biceps. But you can't have it on the swigs and the boundabouts too.

To be fit you have to become a martyr to fitness. Keeping fit is as exhausting as keeping good. For instance, fit men always sing before breakfast. That, in itself, should be a warning. A man who does this has to be fit to survive public opinion. I knew of one who lived in a boarding house. He is a broken man to-day. Even his constitution weakened under the strain of being thrown downstairs five mornings out of the seven.

page 53

Ignorance and Blisters.

One can't help feeling sorry for unfit men. They are so pathetically happy in their ignorance. They sit flabbily in their cars watching fit hikers stagger past under the weight of loads that would shock a camel. They lie in the sun, disgustingly unfit and contented, whilst harried harriers whizz past with hardly a leg to stand on but more dynamic personality than a welshing book-maker. They have no ambition to exchange their condition of contemptible comfort for a state of bounding fitness, of breathless health, of aching vitality. They never aspire to tossing heavy masses of metal through the air. The heaviest thing they ever tossed weighed no more than a pint. They never ache to add large knobby bits of fibrous tissue to their upholstery. They have no desire to spring up stairs five steps at a time. What are lifts for, anyway? They are pitifully ignorant of the advantages of beating the lark by three tweets in the morning. Why should they? Why spend years on intensive education just to beat a lark at its own game. Anyway it is doubtful if a lark would be in such a tearing hurry to rise if its nest was as snug as the average bed. If human beings had to sleep in lark's nests wouldn't they be waiting impatiently for dawn too?

The Horrors of Rude Health.

It must be terrible to have to greet each day with a happy laugh, to spring from your bed with the explosive abandon of a crocodile bitten from below, to go through the day being dynamic and vital and a darned nuisance to everyone—laughing lightly at misfortune—other people's mostly—dismissing fear airily and generally rousing homicidal impulses in the breasts of the unfit who only ask for a little peace and tranquility in which to enjoy their unfitness. No reasonable person objects to any other person being fit so long as the fitee keeps reasonably quiet about it. This rude health business
“Hercules—snapping off pillars of temples with his bare hands without the faintest knowledge of how to get strong.”

“Hercules—snapping off pillars of temples with his bare hands without the faintest knowledge of how to get strong.”

is apt to become too rude. When it reaches the back-slapping, rib-poking stage, it is time for the unfit to equalise matters with a blacksmith's hammer.
The Under Dog

The Under Dog

It is a pity that one can't grow fit as pleasantly as one grows old. Growing old is done with effortless dignity, but growing fit entails all the most unpleasant sacrifices it is possible to think of; and how can the average man feel dignified in a little pair of trousers that make him look like a poisoned office boy.

Training Without Tears.

Nobody would object to getting fit if he could do it in bed with a push-bell at his side and Jeeves, ever alert, at the buffet. It's a most painful fact that it's only the ageing who desire nothing more keenly than the little unhealthy luxuries of life, who have to fight for fitness. The young already have it. It is they who so unfeelingly sool fitness onto their shuddering elders. It is time some lover of mankind discovered that the best way to get fit is to eat and drink all the best things that are worst for us, to spend as much time as possible in vertebrate pondering, to ooze around in a state of digestive twilight, to let lawns return to their natural luxuriance, to keep the feet off the ground and the mind off exertion, to smoke the pipe of peace whenever we want to, and to grow as shockingly fat as natural laws will allow. Still, it's interesting to watch other people getting fitter and fitter every day; and the unfit can always do a little good by visiting the fit while they are recovering from getting fit in the hospital.

Personally, I regret that the old-fashioned sedan chair has gone out of date for rambles in the country. We can still learn something about fitness from the past. Certainly the expectation of life wasn't as long but it seemed longer, and it was far more comfortable to die of unfitness than by physical violence.

page 54

page 55

page 56

Adventures With Bingo

(Continued from page 27)

Peter by the hand, Bingo led him across the Bridge of Dreams.

On the other side of the cave was a ring in the wall. Catching hold of it, Bingo gave it a tug, and a stone door swung open, revealing a flight of stone steps, leading upwards. Bingo ran nimbly up the steps, Peter following close at his heels. Presently they came to the end of the steps and walked out into sunshine—on the other side of the mountains.

It was day. Peter looked around in surprise. They were standing in the street of a strange little village; with quaint little low-gabled houses, each painted a pretty bright colour and set among trees, and gay little gardens. It was in no way like an ordinary village, for all within it was made of wood—just as if someone had taken a board and a fret saw, and cut out the cows, and the horses and trees, and everything else one could make out of wood.

In the streets were wee wooden people, stiff and straight, with bright painted clothes and jolly, round faces. And there at the corner was standing a sign post bearing the words: “Wooden Toy Village.”

“We had better go straight to visit the old Toy-maker, or he might be offended,” said Bingo.

At that moment, a little toy 'bus shot round the corner, and stopped with a honk of its wee wooden horn.

“Hop aboard! Hop aboard!” cried its driver, and Peter and Bingo scrambled on top.

“To Toy-maker's Corner,” said Bingo, giving the driver two roasted peanuts out of his little fur purse.

They rattled along up the street, scattering the dogs and the pigs on the road as they went. Presently, they drew up before the quaintest wee house in the village—its low wooden eaves nearly touching the ground.

“Toy-maker's Corner, it is,” cried the driver, and he bundled them on to the street. With a honk of his horn he was off in a cloud of white dust.

Just then there flew overhead six little 'planes, their wooden propellers making a loud, whirring sound.

“They have just been released from the Toy-maker's shop,” explained Bingo.

Over the door of the Toy-maker's shop hung a neat painted sign, which read:—

Village Toy-maker
All Wooden Toys Made to Order.

There was no need to knock at the door, for it stood wide open. As the two came up, a merry voice called out, “Come in, come in and see the old man.”

(Photo. C. W. Brewer) Dorothy Falls, Lake Kanieri, Westland.

(Photo. C. W. Brewer)
Dorothy Falls, Lake Kanieri, Westland.

Inside sitting at a bench covered with paint pots, and brushes, and fret saws, and tools of all kinds, was a little old man with snowy white hair. He wore a red gown, and a little black cap, while perched on the end of his nose, was a pair of large glasses. In his hand was a paint brush, with which he was putting the finishing touch to a bright wooden soldier.

“That's the last of that bunch,” he said, as he placed it upon the floor, beside a row of five others, all in red coats and trousers of blue, and high black busbys, all shining and new.

At once they all sprang to their feet, and started to march, two by two, out of the shop. The shop was stacked full of all kinds of toys, made out of wood—some not quite finished, others awaiting a finishing coat of paint.

The old man himself was a merry old soul, and he showed them the whole of his stock—even letting Peter play with some of the toys.

“I don't allow all the children who come here to touch my treasures,” he said, “but I see you're a nice gentle child. The last one who came was horrid and rough, and he broke up and chipped at least half of my toys, as he ran round the village.”

“I'll be most careful,” said Peter.

“My mother says I take the best care of my toys.”

“I'm quite sure of that,” the old man replied.

Peter could not take his eyes from a bright yellow scooter that stood by the door.

“You can have a ride on it, if you like,” smiled the old man.

Peter was more than delighted, and he set off at once down the street.

Unfortunately, as he rounded the corner he ran bang into a number of red-coated soldiers, scattering them all in the dust. Up jumped the officer in command and blew his whistle. Down the street came dashing a white wooden ambulance. It did not take very long to stow the injured soldiers inside. Two were broken, and most of the others were covered with scratches, and chipped.

Peter ran back to the Toy-maker's shop, feeling dreadfully sorry for what he had done—dragging the scooter behind him.

“I couldn't help it, I really couldn't,” he sobbed as he burst into the shop. The ambulance had arrived there before him, and there were the poor little soldiers, lying all in a row on the bench.

“Now, don't you cry,” said the kindly old man, “to the best of us, accidents happen. I'll soon put them right with a dab of my paint.”

“Time's getting on, so I think we had better be moving along,” said Bingo. So bidding their kind friend good-bye, they found their way out of the shop. Following a small winding road, they came to the edge of the village. Along an embankment a green train was puffing and sending up clouds of cotton-wool smoke. It stopped at a red painted station—panting and letting out steam.

“We'll catch the mountain express,” said Bingo; and they hurried along and scrambled on board.

(To be concluded.)