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The New Zealand Railways Magazine, Volume 14, Issue 1 (April 1, 1939)

Laugh and the World Laughs With You

page 34

Laugh and the World Laughs With You


What makes the world go round and round,
Is it the rouble, mark and pound?
Is it the men of blood and fear
Who stimulate this restless sphere?
Or is it love, as poets propound,
That makes the world go round and round.
Is it the tense affairs of nations
That influence the world's gyrations?
Methinks it's something far more sound
That makes the world go round and round.
To put the query clear and fair,
Let's promulgate a questionnaire:
Why does a cow look so morose,
And pigs so uniformly gross?
Why does the horse look so forlorn,
And sheep deplore that they were born?
What makes a moose look sick with grief,
The ox depressed beyond belief?
To answer why they're each so dreary
Necessitates another query.
What raises man above the class
Of animals that live on grass?
It can't be intellect, my lad,
With half the world entirely mad.
The explanation's simply this—
A fact so many people miss—
Man's raised above the sheep and calf,
Because he has the power to laugh.
No other animal on earth,
Can emulate his vocal mirth,
Except perhaps the kookaburra,
Who lacks the mirth, although he's thorough.
No other beast can shake the rafter
With gusty gasps of gurgling laughter.
No other species can express,
In such a way, its happiness,
Which helps to prove the truth profound;
That laughter makes the world go round.
A laugh is worth a ton of wealth,
It clears the mind, improves the health,
Corrects the liver in a tick
And gives the heart an added kick.
A laugh in time can save a nation
From almost any situation.
Dictators who could laugh a lot
Could never hatch a sticky plot.
They'd never want to rule the earth
If they obeyed the rule of mirth.
And trouble would be cut in half
If diplomats learnt how to laugh,
Instead of starting agitations
And breaking consular relations.
The way to settle all the fuss
That daily is retailed to us
And makes us jitterously nervous,
Is, liven up the foreign service.
Let Gilly Potter make whoopee
With Hitler's hosts in Germany.
Let Gracie Fields and Harry Tait
Make merry on affairs of state.
With Mussolini, in the forum
Of Rome, without too much decorum.
George Roby and the brothers Marx
Could entertain, with divers larks,
The Soviet in Leningrad
And prove that Stalin's not so bad.
Our emissaries everywhere
Should have a free and festive air.
Their orders on the world's behalf
Should be, “Go out and get a laugh”
A laugh is understood by all,
It is a clear and clarion call,
It is a universal canto,
A brotherly Expressperanto,
Which makes us one, to say the least,
And raises man above the beast.

The Fear of Frivolity.

So, what! If you don't believe it try it on the bailiff next time he calls. Try laughing off your income tax. It'll do you good and it won't do your income tax any harm. Even if you do belong to a club, try laughing at home. When the family have got over the shock you'll discover that you mean more than an extra potato in the pot and a clean shirt over the end of the bed.

Life's a joke, anyway, and you might as well be in on it. After all, taking it fool and buy, there is more to laugh at
My-Oh My! Ain't Life a Lark “… And raises Man above the beast.”

My-Oh My! Ain't Life a Lark
“… And raises Man above the beast.”

page 35 than to cry over. The only consistency in existence is its inconsistency; and inconsistency is the essence of frivolity. If the world were wiser it wouldn't be half so entertaining. If man were less exasperating he would be more enervating. The more seriously he takes himself the less seriously he can be taken.

He has not only got a bee in his bonnet but a whole hive in his head; so he spends his life busily buzzing under the impression that buzziness is business.

But he is not to blame; he is the victim of mess education. From the time he could toddle he has been taught that “life is real, life is earnings.” Consequently, unless he becomes a professional laughologist, he finds that business is the centre of gravity and laughter a bye-product, a bye-bye product—especially laughter in the wrong places. And the joke is that the best laughter always comes in the wrong places. At a board meeting, for instance, where the air palpitates with portent and the chairman's chins quiver quidulously over a debilitated divvy, whilst the secretaries sit like plaster casts from Easter Island, there is always the temptation to smear the end of the nose with ink and turn a back-hand slam over the agenda, or to second an untabled commotion.

To one upon whom there has been laid the curse of proportional representation of fundamental facts the sight of exorbitant earnestness is always a temptation to blow up the show with a charge of giggleite.

The Dominance of “Don't.”

All children are born with a chuckleurge, but as soon as they can walk and talk they learn the dominance of “Don't.” They are denied all the simple pleasures of life such as dipping the cat in the coffee pot, chewing soot, and lighting fires under the sofa. All the joy is don'ted out of life. It's don't do this and don't do that. Don't express legitimate joy when father skids on the soap; don't give way to natural merriment when the gas man gets tangled in the clothes line; don't wake the welkin when the parson drops baby-brother Basil into the font at the christening; in fact, don't be human at all.

This Don'tism can only result in the gradual decline of the functions of the funny-bone culminating in ass's elbow or ossification of the occiput.

Thus the criminal earnestness of the egotistic promulgators of pomposity—the European nabobs of neocrasy who are striving to-day to make the world fit for horrors.

The Power of Persiflage.

But one day world-wide education will end this menace of earnestness. Children in their prattling primers will be taught the cleansing quality of frivolity. There will be chortling classes, laughing lessons, marks for merriment and prizes for persiflage. Flippancy in secondary schools will be a primary industry. Jocularity will embody—in fact, annihilate—world affears. The universities will have Chairs of Joviality occupied by suitable professors such as Laurel and Hardy, Wheeler and Wolsley, Potash and Perlmutter, Comin' and Cohen, Clapham and Dwyer and the Brothers Boloney. The degree LL.B. will mean “laugh like billyhoo”; and M.A. and B.A. will bear the cheerful significance of “most affable” and “backchat artist” disrespectively. In time the peoples of the earth will become so proficient in persiflage that they will learn to laugh even at themselves and—lo!—their eyes will be opened and they will see themselves as they would have been had they not made themselves what they are.

“A Chair of Merriment occupied by suitable professors.”

“A Chair of Merriment occupied by suitable professors.”

When all the world laughs every day,
Despair and disaster will fade away,
And peace and plentitude abound,
For laughter makes the world go round.

page 36