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"Beloved Humans: It's Going to Be a Great Life" from Success Magazine

by Ellis Parker Butler
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from Success Magazine
Beloved Humans: It's Going to Be a Great Life
by Ellis Parker Butler

It's a terrible thing to live down a reputation. But when Ellis Parker Butler set up his Einstein theory that "PIGS -- is Pigs" -- a scientific achievement that stands with Newton's discovery of the Law of Gravitation, or Harvey's discovery of the circulation of the blood -- at that moment Ellis Parker Butler set into operation cosmic laws that no man since has been able to control.

The world of science today recognizes that PIGS -- is pigs; that MAN is -- man; that WOMAN is -- woman. And now comes Ellis Parker Butler, out of the laboratory again, with the epoch-making discovery that "LIFE is -- Life."

And it is through the pages of SUCCESS that this scientific revelation is made to the whole world. If Scientist Butler sees fit to disclaim the paternity of the parentheses in this scientific exposition, or the mixing of Romeo and Juliet in the cradle, while Shakespeare was absorbed in the last issue of SUCCESS, we are willing to assume the responsibility and plead "Guilty": Dear reader -- we cannot tell a lie -- the wicked printer did it. If BELOVED HUMANS -- allow us to present the "dryest" philosopher of our times, Mr. ELLIS PARKER BUTLER. Mr. Butler -- speaking:

By the time a man gets to be my age and most of the population talk about the things that happened when he was a boy as if they were part of the Remote Historical Past -- like the laying of the cornerstone of the pyramids or the landing of the Pilgrim Fathers -- he is apt to discover a couple of things.

One is that it is getting along toward the time when his loving friends will be told to please omit flowers. The other is that the glittering tower of happiness -- he meant his life to be -- has turned out to be something that looks like a slab of moldy mush.

I don't know how it is with you, but with me the trouble is that I'm always putting off having that grand old time until I get something fixed. I'm always going to be a great man like Teddy Roosevelt or Napoleon Bonaparte -- when I get time!

I know just as well as anyone that the thing to do with a life is to jump right into it with both feet and live it enthusiastically all over the place -- the way a dog enjoys a bone. But there is something the matter with me that makes me think:

"Well -- this is going to be a great life -- a fine life! But I won't get right down to living it, I guess, until day after tomorrow -- when the plumber comes and mends that faucet, so that dribbling water gets off my nerves. Day after tomorrow, when he mends that faucet -- or maybe six weeks from next Christmas, when I sell the motion picture rights to that novel I was going to write year before last -- I'll really start in living!"

Away back in the days when Garfield was assassinated, I was all ready to begin living at full tilt. But I had to put it off a couple of days because I wasn't sure whether the assassin's name was pronounced Git-o or Git-aw. And by the time I was sure of that -- and ready to start living with all four cylinders -- Garfield was dead and I had to wait until after the funeral. And before the funeral was nicely over, and everybody knew what the catafalque cost and had all details explained to them by the newspapers, the tight shoes I was wearing gave me an ingrowing toe-nail -- and it did not seem the right time to begin living a fine air-cooled wide-open life. There is something about a first-class ingrowing toe-nail (Julius Caesar had one -- so did Cleopatra) that makes one want to put off grabbing a garland of roses and start his light-footed dance down the corridors of time -- down the jazz-way to Immortality.

What I should have done was to go see Doc. Pete Townley, our eminent Muscatine chiropodist (colored -- some call him a direct descendant of Hannibal the Great). I would have gone to see Doc if I hadn't thought the sore toe would be all right again in a few days. I might have learned a lot from Pete Townley. He (and old King Solomon) was one of the few men I have known who seemed to be living his life right up to the handle all the time -- with nothing to complain about.

He enjoyed good society and he did not wait until his skin turned white before he went into it and got the benefit of it. He bought a black bag and a set of toe tools and simply had a grand life. He was invited to all the best homes (the Astors -- Vanderbilts -- and Goulds of Muscatine) and heard the same classy conversation any white millionaire would have heard -- all about whose hired girl had left and how the baseburner had come to smudge the wall paper and how that toe had ached until three o'clock in the morning, allowing little sleep, if any.

And he got paid for it, too! While the reluctant-to-begin-living Negroes of Muscatine were hanging back in my style, afraid to begin living heartily until something happened -- afraid, maybe, to shake even the hand of a white man -- Pete Townley jumped right into the midst of things and not only clasped the hands of the most recherche, but cut their hangnails and even clasped their feet -- the feet of the "four hundred." And back there in Muscatine in those days mighty few white men -- not even the boldest and bravest -- would have dared to do that!

The great thing about Pete Townley was that he started right in and (like Hannibal in his Conquest of the World) began living for all he was worth before a lot of fears and repressions turned him into a scared-cat. Why, when I was fourteen years old, I was already so scared-catty that on my way to school I used to walk clear around the block any girl lived on -- because I had a patch on the undercoat part of my pants. At fourteen, I was already beginning to put off being happy until I grew up and could buy myself an unpatched pair of trousers. And at fourteen, Pete Townley was married! Think of that! Married!

One difference between Pete Townley and the rest of us was that he was born a slave and became free -- while we are born free and get to be slaves to some notion or other.

Pete Townley came up the Mississippi from "down river" somewhere with a lot of exodusting slaves, during the Civil War and got herded into a detention camp at St. Louis -- and somehow or other the rumor got around the camp that no Negro could go on up North unless married.

I can only guess how that rumor started. Probably the colored folk "down river" had not been any too particular about seeing that their marriage certificates had all the steel engraving on them that the law required North of St. Louis.

Maybe some of them had no certificates at all! And the authorities at St. Louis possibly thought it would be just as well to have married couples actually married before they got divorced -- or before letting them go up river to Iowa -- many being finicky in that state on that subject.

It was a sort of jealousy, I guess. People who had paid a minister two dollars for a marriage ceremony felt it was low down of other couples to go ahead and be married without any expense. Anyway, the rumor got around the detention camp. And when it came fourteen-year-old Pete Townley's turn to be married, a big jolly good-natured Negro woman who hated to think of a nice-young-lad-like-Pete being sent back into slavery (just because he wasn't married) took him and married him!

But I call it downright good hearted of her to come forward that way and marry a poor forlorn child that she would almost have to feed with a spoon.

True, she was old enough to be his mother -- but I call it downright good hearted of her to come forward that way and marry a poor forlorn child that she would almost have to feed with a spoon (as Cleopatra fed Marc Antony). There are not many women that would do that nowadays!

So Pete's wife brought him up North and sent him to school and saw that he kept his face and hands clean and had a clean handkerchief on Sundays, and -- I suppose -- spanked him when he did not behave. That, probably, is where other wives will envy her! It is not so bad to be able to divorce a husband when he gets too annoying, but it saves a lot of time and money to be able to take him across a knee and spank him.

Pete Townley lived upstairs over a shop on a side street, but that did not make him hold back from mixing in swell society, either. The grocer up on the Main Street corner used to sell his chickens alive and deliver them dead and dressed -- and when he had sold any chickens he sent them up to Pete Townley's wife to be properly denuded (a la Artists and Models).

You could always tell when somebody in Muscatine was going to have chicken, because then Pete Townley's wife would not be leaning out of her window -- you knew she was back somewhere on that second floor wrestling with chicken feathers. And she lived her life right along day by day, too.

The fondest thing she was of -- as Roy Cohen would say -- was food. She was fonder of food than Irvin Cobb ever dared pretend he was -- even in his eatingest days!

Whenever she leaned out of her window she was eating -- and when she died she was so big they had to cut away the bricks around the window -- she was too big to be carried down the stairs. Some people might consider a wife of that size a handicap, and use her as an excuse to put off getting down to real living, but Pete Townley was a different sort of man.

He never said: "I certainly would enjoy going up to Mrs. Senator Morgan Gubb's house today -- to take her lily white foot in my hand and trim those corns she's got!

And to talk some swell society talk about who's got a hired girl and who ain't got -- but my wife's so big and fat she's liable to pass away with degeneration of the heart 'most any minute! And if she does I've got to get a special size coffin made -- and I've got to get a mason to unloosen the bricks around the window -- and I've got to get a derrick to derrick her down to the hearse! And I've got to get a preacher -- no, maybe I'd better get two preachers to preach over her, she's so big! So I guess I'd better put off going up to Mrs. Senator Gubb's house until I've got my wife off my mind and the tombstone paid for!"

No -- he never said that. When an invitation came to him, inviting him to call on a lady -- or a gentleman -- he just picked up his little black case and started instantly -- and presently he was kneeling before a beautiful female queen of society (probably fat), and saying: "Did that huht? Icks-scuse me, lady!" and having just an awful good time.

Another man I knew out home was equally prompt to take advantage of all that life can give. He was colored, too, and a fine figure of a Negro. He was in politics. One day the President offered him the job of Minister to Liberia. Looking at it one way, I suppose the job of being Minister to Liberia is not such a whale of a job. (It might please Al Jolson or Frank Tinney.) But, as nearly as I have been able to discover the facts, the leading duty of the Government of Liberia is to get out new sets of postage stamps to sell to postage stamp collectors.

The Prime Minister's heavy task is to think up new animals to picture on the postage stamps. One Prime Minister thought of a lizard and they engraved the lizard on a fifteen-cent-stamp in purple and deep green. Liberia instantly became the only nation in the world that had a deep green lizard on a purple stamp -- and they elected the Prime Minister to the President's job, I understand -- just to show their gratitude. It looked as he had a life job, but a few years later the Third Assistant Postmaster General thought of the fish that climbs out of the water and waltzes around on land. They put the land-walking fish's portrait on a fifty-cent-stamp in ultramarine blue and jet black -- and all the postage stamp collectors stopped buying 15 cent lizard stamps and began buying 50 cent fish-that-walks-on-land stamps.

It was a great day for Liberia -- and the money piled into the treasury fifty cents at a whack, instead of in fifteen-cent dribbles! I understand the populace was so grateful they elected the Third Assistant Postmaster General to the Presidency! And that he has the job cinched for life -- unless somebody comes along and thinks of putting a pale pink whiffenpoof on an indigo blue $1.00 stamp. (Secretary of the Treasury Mellon and Postmaster General New please note.)

However that may be, it does seem to be a fact that the United States Minister to Liberia is not as important as the Ambassador to St. James (even tho' Colonel Harvey did get the later job).

His speeches do not get in the papers as often. Nobody knows whether he wears knee breeches or none. He does not have to lie awake at night wondering how to prevent Liberia from declaring war on the United States (and he does not have to worry about Ireland). It looks like a one-horse job.

But, to return to Muscatine -- although this man was quite an important political figure among the colored voters of Muscatine, Iowa, he did not say: "I won't take a Ministerial position until I can go to the Court of St. James." No, he took the first chance he was offered, and went to Liberia -- and began drawing the salary immediately on the first day he arrived.

Now, my point is -- if he had been afraid to take the good things of life as they came along he might have moped and fretted for years and years (like some politicians I know), always getting ready to accept a diplomatic job when everything was just right -- he might have lived sixty years worrying because he did not have a diplomatic job, but always refusing the jobs that were offered because he wasn't quite ready yet. But he wasn't that sort of man. The minute he was offered the ministership to Liberia he took it -- and in two weeks he was on his way to Monrovia -- and in less than two months he was on his way home again, soldered in a lead coffin -- and the entire round trip was at the Government's expense. It did not cost him a cent!

Now, somebody may scoffingly say: "That just shows! If that man had stayed at home he would not have got swamp fever, or whatever killed him. And he would not have needed a coffin -- not even an expensive soldered one the angel Gabriel will have to open with a can-opener!"

But that is all wrong. If my old colored friend had hesitated and wondered and worried, instead of telegraphing in haste (collect) accepting that Liberian job, there would have been a Democratic administration come in and he would have fretted and worried for eight years more -- mighty unhappy all the time.

Then -- when he was so old he could not really enjoy Liberian postage stamps with lizards on them, or any of the other Liberian advantages, such as bare feet and silk hats at the same time, the Republicans would have come in again and he would have been made Minister to Liberia just the same -- and the swamp fever would have got him just the same -- and he would have come home in a non-refillable waterproof container just the same! The only difference would have been that he would have had eight years of needless worry -- and would have had to pay for food and taxes and rent and upkeep during the entire interim. And at the end of the period he would have been dead just the same!

There's one sure thing in life -- we're all going to be dead at the end of the period -- whatever the period may be for each of us. Whether it is a year or sixty years does not make so much difference to anybody, except the undertaker -- it is nothing for you to worry about.

I'm mighty sure that if I get up this morning and begin living a little bit of life and then drop dead at sunset I'll have lived some life, anyhow! But if I get up this morning and say that same old thing: "Oh! I guess I'd better not begin living any life until the Russian ruble is worth $5.00 -- (or until the German mark will buy a Rolls-Royce) --" or "until they discover whether Tut-Ankh-Amen's father-in-law had whiskers" -- (or until William Jennings Bryan is elected President) -- or "until I discover whether I have plain stomach-ache or compound or merely some Freudian complex," -- or something equally essential -- I'm not going to live any life at all.

A couple of billions of men (since Adam and Eva) have lived ninety years, more or less, always intending to do some real living as soon as everything was satisfactory for it -- and have died without having lived at all. All they ever amounted to was to serve as second-grade bridges for the generations to pass over -- if they had no children they did not even amount to that. The biggest thing most of us ever accomplish is to leave some children behind us -- to pay our debts.

I suppose there are three or four hundred thousand families scattered about the United States who are figuring that they are going to have a real good time "when grandpa dies." Some of them have been waiting for grandpa to die ever since the Civil War and it begins to look as if the old man would live to be one-hundred-and-thirty unless someone takes an axe to him.

Tobacco won't kill him -- bootleg hootch only makes him snappier -- mother's soda biscuits don't knock him for a goal! He keeps right on living.

Away back in '88, (the time of the Big Blizzard) Anna Mary graduated from High School and decided she would marry Jed Toofus as soon as grandpa died. She moped around the house for sixteen years, getting meaner and yellower and skinnier every day -- and talking more unkindly to grandpa every minute -- and she died, a total fizzle, on June 23, 1905.

Grandpa's daughter-in-law lived on Main Street (next to Sinclair Lewis). She stopped smiling on December 13th, 1872, when grandpa let his pipe ashes fall on the new rug -- the one with the Newfoundland dog carrying a basket of blue roses on it -- and her nature immediately became so mean that she couldn't live -- and wouldn't die! Whenever she looked at her husband it was as if she wished that she dared bite his nose off.

At that minute, she turned as sour as last Tuesday's milk. She knew just how acid she looked and felt and acted, but she just felt she couldn't take a hold of herself and be cheerful and gay again, and halfway decent to folks, until grandpa died and got out of the way. She finally passed to a blessed repose (while still scolding about the ashes on the new rug) on April 13,1918.

The tombstones of those who were waiting for grandpa to die.

The tombstones of those who were waiting for grandpa to die (and let them begin living) are now as thick as fuzz on a peach in the cemetery of that town. And all the good it has done is to make grandpa twice as cranky as he ought to be -- so that it is twice as hard for anybody in that house to be happy as it was in 1870.

And right across Main Street there is a family that has an Aunt Caloris who is so mean and ugly and rich that when she looks at a clock it strikes thirteen -- and then explodes with a low moan. This Aunt Caloris is outfitted with every known ability invented since Cain killed Abel for making folks miserable. (How she escaped the Great Flood is still a mystery.) That family has every right to say: "We can't be happy while Aunt Caloris is moaning around and doing her mean tricks, but when she dies we'll begin living happily!" But the folks in that family have a notion that the time to live life is right now! And when they feel joyous and want to get into the flivver and go to the woods on a picnic, or anything like that, and Aunt Caloris begins to get out the old Ark and wake up Noah -- and whine and moan and get out wet blankets and throw cold water -- they take her to the cellar door and put a foot against the small of her back and give her a good strong shove and then lock the cellar door on her. And the cellar is full of water -- because the water pipes leak and the plumber has unfortunately, gone to Palm Beach.

Then lock the cellar door on her.

When ma says merrily: "Joe, have you got the bottled olives? Come on, Jamima, you take the lunch basket! Ain't it a nice sunny day for a picnic!" and off they go. They live more hot-and-happy life every day than the grandpa folks across the street have dared to think of since Sherman marched through Georgia.

I can imagine that the poet Whittier sat down and wept for three solid days and nights when he found he had to try to rhyme "pen" with "been," because he was a natty rhymer and took a lot of pride in coaxing together words that mated as lovingly as ham and eggs -- words like "day" and "hay," and "feet" and "sweet" -- but he believed he had got a hold of one of the biggest truths in the world and although it broke his heart, almost, to turn out such a rhyme he jumped right in and wrote:

"Of all sad words of tongue or pen

The saddest are these -- It might have been."

Whittier was right! He made a good job of picking the saddest words of tongue or pen -- but if anyone turned me loose in the word-orchard to pick the most awful words a mind ever thought I would pick "One of these days --"

The whole world seems to be saying to itself: "I'll begin to live, or be happy, or do the thing I want to do -- one of these days!"

But mighty seldom "Right now!"

And I'm the worst of the lot at it!

I never saw a blue-eared mongoose, but I'll bet ten dollars (on Charlie Chaplin in six rounds against Jack Dempsey) that when a blue-eared mongoose is born it sets right out the very first minute its eyes are open to live all the life it can possibly live -- and with all its heart and soul!

And so does the hippopotamus -- and the canary -- and the ring-tailed monkey!

If you get a cannon and shoot a tadpole in the eye six hours after it makes its first wiggle -- and kill it dead -- it is a safe bet that that tadpole has been living its life right up to the handle every minute since it came out of the egg!

And if you swat a mosquito you can do it with absolute freedom from conscientious scruples, because you can be sure that mosquito has been living its life to the utmost every second since it was born! And you can remember too that only the female mosquito ever bites.

But, for goodness' sake! Don't kill a man! I urge you to refrain from killing a man! Because if you do kill one -- say a man of fifty -- you'll be practically guilty of infanticide -- for the poor fellow has probably lived only two hundred or three hundred real hours -- the rest of the time he has been putting off living his life until tomorrow, saying: "One of these days, when I get my business running right --"

And everyone knows a business never does get to running right!

Nor don't kill a woman, either! Women are not quite as bad as men at this putting-off business! They do go right ahead and get some of the clothes they want to live in -- even if they have to charge them. And they indulge in the deep joy of talking about their neighbors -- (and other delicious pastimes like bargain sales and Rodolf Valentine!)

But quite a lot of them do expect really to begin to live -- "One of these days when Henry passes away." That's not quite as bad as it sounds; it only means when she does not have to get up three full meals a day. If Henry bought a six-month "Touring Europe" ticket it would do quite as well as his funeral.

But why wait for his funeral? Why not say: "Henry, for the next two weeks you will have to shift for yourself. I am going to live my life!" Say this firmly -- in a tone that means you mean it. Henry won't shout: "Oh boy! Whoops! Hurrah!" until he is out of hearing.

Life is a snowball on a hot cook stove. We say: "I'm going to eat that snowball and get the good of it as soon as the fire goes out" -- and when the fire goes out there is no snowball! It is all well enough to say that when the fire goes out we can go out in the yard and get another snowball -- maybe so; maybe not. You may take your chances as you like about that -- but I do know that we have this particular snowball and it is melting darned fast -- it is dripping in our hands and making a puddle on the floor.

We're like the Russians, if the reports are true, making an awful mess of life in order to get ready to live -- and then being shot in a cellar before we get a chance to live.

There was a young fellow who got married to a nice girl. The first Sunday after they set up housekeeping they had roast chicken for dinner. The loving husband carefully carved off all the luscious white meat and gave it to his wife -- then he took the dark meat and the drumsticks for himself. Every Sunday he treated her in that same generous, loving fashion. And next to his wife, the thing he loved best in the world was white meat -- he almost hated dark meat! It came pretty close to gagging him -- but he was so loving and generous that he gave all the white meat to his wife. (Just like we married men -- isn't it?)

And at the other end of the table his wife sat, Sunday after Sunday, saying to herself: "Oh! I do wish Romeo would let me have some of that dark meat. I do so love dark meat! White meat is so tasteless and insipid! But I love dear Romeo and want him to have the very best of everything -- and he must be so fond of dark meat, since he keeps it all for himself, so I'll let him have it!" (Just like a woman -- ain't it?)

Things went on that way for one year -- and for another year -- and still another year. Every Sunday, Romeo gave his wife all the white meat and kept all the dark meat -- and presently she began to be snappy and cross at dinner. He began to be gloomy and blue as soon as he had finished reading the Sunday papers. Other days were well enough, for a while -- but Sunday became a miserable day for them both.

As Romeo carved the chicken he would think: "Huh! If she had any love for me, or kindness of heart, or sympathy, or thoughtfulness, she would tell me to take part of this white meat myself. But, no! She takes it all -- always has taken it all -- always will take it all! Well, one of these days she'll be dead, anyway, and then maybe I can have some white meat myself!" (While there's life there's hope.)

At the other end of the table his wife (Juliet) glared at him and thought: "Huh! The greedy pig! Not once since we have been married has he let me have even a smitch of dark meat -- not a smitch! That's the man of it for you -- keeping all the best for himself! Well, one of these days he'll be dead -- and then, perhaps, I can have a mite of dark meat!" (Every cloud has a silver lining.)

And so, being ill humored about that, they began to be ill humored about everything. When Juliet did her hair a new way he told her she looked like a drowned cat! (And she probably did.) When Romeo got a new suit, Juliet asked him if he wanted folks to think he was a gambler! From that they went on and hated each other's folks -- and said mean things about their ancestors and threw brickbats at the decayed fruit on the family trees. For days at a time they sulked and would not speak -- and every Sunday they grew bitterer and bitterer.

They had what Freud would call a chicken complex -- it embittered their whole existence. If they heard a rooster crow, they would turn orange yellow, with every symptom of incipient jaundice and general liver complaint. And from that they went on to hating the birds -- robins, and canaries in cages, and ostriches in the zoo, and parrots on wallpapers.

And then they began to hate feathers because that is the way a chicken-complex works. They hated feathers on hats, and feathers in beds. And from hating feathers hi beds they began hating bedsteads and bureaus -- and dining room chairs and all kinds of furniture -- and houses, and forty-foot lots, and Second Additions to the Town of Wampus -- and the United States of America.

As their chicken-complex got a good grip on them, they began hating everything -- bills, because chickens have bills -- and Chinamen, because some Chinamen are called Wing -- and chickens have wings. And Congregational ministers, because the Pilgrim Fathers were Congregationalists and landed on Plymouth Rock.

Then their subconscious minds got busy, as they always do when one has a chicken-complex, and they began to dream. Juliet dreamed that Romeo was a rooster with solid dark meat! And that she had him by the legs with his head on a block and an axe in her hand! (I venture to say there are moments in every married woman's life when she would envy the opportunity of Juliet.)

Romeo dreamed that he was in heaven and had a shotgun and was popping away at the angels as they flew by overhead. Every time he dreamed this dream he dreamt he shot an angel. (And I venture to say that there are moments in every married man's life when he wishes his wife were -- an angel!) And it came fluttering down, all white and soft and feathery, he picked it up by the feet! But its feet were so cold they froze his hands and he had to drop it. (Here's where Owen Davis got his idea for his great drama "Icebound.")

So Romeo went to a Professor of Complexes and told him this dream. The professor looked mighty serious. "You want to be careful," he said. "You are in great danger. The cold feet of the angel mean it is your wife! That you shot her with a shotgun means you don't like her very well. You have some sort of a complex, and if you don't look out you'll be killing your wife -- and you'll be electrocuted on the said day and date, as by law provided, so help you Mike Murphy! Now what, in your past life with your wife, makes you think of feathers?"

Romeo thought for a long while (applying the best known memory tests) and finally he said that once, when they had been married five years, Juliet had bought a hat with an ostrich plume on it -- and the hat had cost forty dollars -- and it had made him mad.

"That's it -- that's it!" said the Professor of Complexes, missing it a mile. "You hate her because you were cruel to her and scolded her when she bought an expensive hat. You must squash that complex in the bud. How much does she pay for her hats now?"

"The last one cost fifty-two dollars, heaven help the poor starving Armenians!" said Romeo.

"Very well! You must go and buy your wife a-hundred-dollar-hat and give it to her! That will unloop the complex and permit the emphysematous condition of your subconscious protoplasm to osculate supernumerary -- twenty-five dollars please!"

So Romeo went to a store and bought a-hundred-dollar-hat and carried it home in a bandbox that looked like a fire in the oil works.

Grasped the bronze statue of Napoleon -- and murdered him!

The instant Romeo opened the box and showed the hat to his wife (Juliet), she gave three piercing screams! Grasped the bronze statue of Napoleon -- and murdered him!

The jury looked at the hat -- and brought in a verdict of justifiable homicide. But it all ruined her life -- and the shop would not exchange the hat -- so in a few years she died miserably.

Now, that was a sad story. I hated to have to tell it. (It's my story -- not Mr. William Shakespeare's -- nor George Ade's -- and I hope that a Sothern and Marlowe will not play it without proper recognition of my rights and royalties.) But I have here told it to the world because it illustrates what I mean when I say we ought to try to get full value out of life right now this minute!

If Romeo had said, when he stuck the knife into that first roast chicken on the first Sunday after he and Juliet began housekeeping: "Oh, yum yum! White meat! Just what I like best!" Then Juliet would have said: "How nice -- for I don't like it at all. But I do adore dark meat!" And each would meet on common ground -- each having exactly what he liked best -- and would have had it from the very first moment -- and also every Sunday all through life -- and lived happily ever after.

"One of these days" -- when I can afford a stenographer -- I am going to write a great book on this immense subject and it will sweep over America as "The Simple Life" (and as "Uncle Tom's Cabin") -- did. Everybody will read it and everybody will see clearly that the life you don't live is no life at all -- but merely a job of feeding one's face so that one will have strength to work for food to feed one's face again -- and so on until the gong sounds.

After all: Life is -- Life! So let's begin living it now -- this minute! Right now I want to go into the other room and stretch out on the couch and rest the kinks out of my back -- and I'm going to do it!

The time to do what you want to do -- is NOW!

The time to do what you want to do -- is NOW!



Saturday, October 07 at 1:11:16am USA Central
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