The New Zealand Railways Magazine, Volume 14, Issue 2 (May 1, 1939)
A Topsy-Turfey Gee-Genius
A Topsy-Turfey Gee-Genius.
A Knower's end is inevitable. When his children take to reading encyclopedias, his wife to gaining her general knowledge from the visiting tradesmen, and even the dog gives up looking up to him with eyes swimming with dog-like delusion, his hours as an imaginative genius are numbered. He must either divert his ingenuity to used-car salesmanship, go dumb (which would probably result in a deep-seated explosion) or turn his unnatural ability to that most imaginative and inexact of all the sciences—horse-racing. Racing is peculiarly suited to the gee-genius of the Knower. There is something about the horsiness of a horse that gees up his creative faculties. There is so much to know, and so little time to know it in. You have to know the owner's intentions, the trainer's expectations, the jockey's ambitions and the horse's feeling on the subject of forging ahead and proving his claim to be the friend of man. And you've got to know when all these warring elements will cash in at the post.
Tennyson, the poet, was a worshipper at the shrine of “My Lady Nicotine,” and like many men of letters, preferred a pipe to a cigar. (Cigarettes hadn't been invented in his day). His favourite pipe was a common clay. He would take a new clay, fill and light it, smoke it till empty, and then, snapping the stem and throwing the fragments aside, would fill and light a second clay. He never smoked the same pipe twice. His tobacco was purest Virginian, for he insisted upon the purity of his weed. Therein he was wise. Really pure tobacco is harmless. Impure tobacco (i.e., tobacco containing much nicotine) may, and often does prove, highly injurious. This fact is at last becoming generally recognised. Hence the demand for our beautifully pure New Zealand tobacco which, containing less nicotine than any other, can be smoked even immoderately with absolute safety. Why?—because it's toasted! There are, as most smokers know, five brands only of the genuine toasted tobacco: Cavendish, Navy Cut No. 3. Cut Plug No. 10, Desert Gold and Riverhead Gold.*
Here is unlimited scope for the Knower. He may be discredited in his own family loose-box, his relatives may flee moaning from his presence, streets may clear of all sign of life at his approach, and he may be listed as an inflictious disease; but as a quadrupedagogue he claims audiences with impunity. He is not regarded as a nag among horses. His face grows long and solemn, but you can tell that he isn't actually running in the race because he isn't wearing a bridle. Even other Knowers listen to him if he looks mysterious enough to suggest a dividend complex. He whispers horsely of strange knowledge that has come to him in the night; of deep secrets plucked from the favourite's feed-bag; of devious devices designed to spice the sport of ginks with financial fecundity. He wears an air of melancholy dignity befitting one immersed in the topsyturfy affairs of life and debt.
And so at last he passes to the better course where there are only payout windows in the “tote,” and the bookmakers—I mean the barbers—send a tribute of horse-chestnuts inscribed: “Heaven's gain is our loss.”
But here's to the Knower. His heart's in the right place even if is voice is all over the place.
From the Ganges to Genoa,
You can bet you'll meet a Knower,
Glibly tossing answers back—
Be he yellow, white or black.
He's a goer is the Knower,
He's a gale, a whale, a blower,
Never stymied, never stumped,
(In Chicago sometimes “bumped”)
He can answer all you ask,
But you'd better wear a mask;
By the freedom of his blower
You will always know a Knower.