Other formats

    TEI XML file   ePub eBook file  


    mail icontwitter iconBlogspot iconrss icon

The New Zealand Railways Magazine, Volume 14, Issue 3 (June 1, 1939)

Everybody's Wooing It — (Alexander's Bragtime Band) — Success

page 50

Everybody's Wooing It
(Alexander's Bragtime Band)

The Drag-on and The Rake-Off.

Modern methods of child-wailfare decree that it is cruel to say: “If you're not careful the bogey will get you.” To-day we have a complex complex through over-indulgence in fear-fixations and metaphysikinks in fifty-three varieties. Instead of digging up the good old bogey which every child was quite pally with we have invented another by saying, in defect: “If you're not careful the Future will get you.” We produce the Future as a kind of “terror incognito” for the exploration of which the embryo explorer must train to every hair he has got if he doesn't want to lose himself and go round and round, as lost explorers do, until he meets himself coming back and conks out from misplaced confidence and self-deception.

There is no doubt that St. George had a soft snap compared with modern youth's expedition into the Vast Unshown. George had advance information. He had the low-down on his dragon's hide-out, and the general meanness of its demeanour. He knew that it was a fire-breather and could be put out with a puff or two of the Nero Patent Fire Extinguisher, procurable at any armourer's at the ridiculously low price of two doucats and a deener. Besides he had every encouragement to sally up the dragon's alley. If you have studied the background of that famous picture entitled “Leave it to George,” you will understand. Who wouldn't take a chance on a mere dragon in the interests of such a snappy bit of beauty-in-distress? Most of us would give a bull-dozer a run for its money for less.

Anyway it was a straight-out oneway proposition in which either the dragon got it in the central-heating or St. George would be poured out of his tin-wear in more-or-less involuntary liquidation. All George had to do was to gird up his sirloins with steel girders and go on location. He had to get the decision, anyway, because the scenario said so and the advance bookings were already sold.

From the Word “Goo!”

But the modern young St. George enjoys none of these advantages. He doesn't even know what particular make of dragon he will meet, where
“The dragon was a fire-breather who could be put out with a puff of the Nero Fire Extinguisher.”

“The dragon was a fire-breather who could be put out with a puff of the Nero Fire Extinguisher.”

he will meet it, or exactly how he will give it the works. All he is taught is that somewhere there dwells a lovely lady named Success whose form runs into four figures and who waits to welcome him with open alms if he can drag off her dragon whose unchristian name is Fear. But Saidie Success is so elusive that even the Tax Office is not certain of her address.

Thus it is evident that the pursuit and capture of this gilt-edged baby with the gold-crowned smile and eyes as warm as the tops of lead-headed nails is no egg-and-spoon race.

Also, it is understandable why every baby, be it bonny or bony, is, before it has put a tooth into its first rusk, tentatively tossed to the dragon that guards the lady Sadie.

He is trained to one end—to whit, to woo. He is taught the craft of laying page 51 tasty baits that he might snare her and bring her back alive bound up with marriage lines and a deed of gift.

This branch of wouldcraft is called Education, but why—nobody seems to know except that it sounds the kind of name for that kind of thing. Of course, Education must not be confused with Thought which is practised by poets and philosophers and suchlike people who are so unsuccessful that they have to pay cash for everything they get. So, from safety pin to safety-first, from the word “goo!”, from shorts gasps to long pants, from LL.B. to L.S.D., modern youth is educated in the art of making two and two add up to five and everything else add up, and up, and up.

Think? I Don't Think.

The youth who hankers to sit by the wayside and dream of things beyond the reck of ready-reckoners, who fain would ponder on the mystery of the invisible and indivisible ego, who would dare to doubt the quibbulous questing of the “homo sappy-ends,” who would question the efficacy of his aims, the direction of his progress, and the state of his soul, gets it in the neck with a stay-of-proceedings or a “quid nunc” or something. For—

The watchword, you ham!—
The watchword is “Scram!”
Climb out of your pram,
Get after the jam,
Get going or sink,
There's no time to think,
The pace is a cracker,
A high-pressure smacker,
Keep busy, keep moving,
Each moment improving
Towards—well, I guess
The answer's Success.
You say you have doubt
As to what it's about?
You say you are hazy,
Uncertain and mazy?
Aw! Step on it brother!
Keep moving or smother—
You're crazy.

“Climb out of your pram.”

“Climb out of your pram.”

Don't brood like a mourner,
There's cash around the corner,
What's that about Knowledge?
Why, this is no college,
It's high-pressure biz.
It's life with a fizz,
It's great, it's colossal,
Now don't be a fossil,
Come off it and move,
Get out of your groove,
Be keen and progressive,
Your fear is excessive.
You think I should think?
Aw, let's have a drink,
Thought gets me all dizzy,
Besides—I'm too busy
To think in my prime,
I haven't got time.

“One Man's Family”

“One Man's Family”

To finish this fairy story we should paint a poignant picture of youth, grown old, sitting with Success, jaded but jewelled, gazing through mullioned casements framed in cloth-of-gold curtains, at the setting sun of lost opportunity. We should have him hearking regretfully to the evening notes of the nesting tomtit and murmuring “Ah, me—ah, me.”

We should portray him eyeing with envy the merry milkman carrying home his five rosy little butter-fat daughters in a ten-gallon can. We should—but, no; it's no use rubbing it in— and nobody would believe us, anyway.