I had my life to live over, I would pay less attention to
people who teach tension. In a world of
specialization we naturally have a superabundance of
individuals who cry at us to be serious about their
individual specialty. They tell us we must
learn Latin or History; otherwise we will be disgraced and
ruined and flunked and failed.
After a dozen or so
of these protagonists have worked on a young mind, they
are apt to leave it in hard knots for life. I wish
they had sold me Latin and History as a lark.
would seek out more teachers who inspire relaxation and
fun. I had a few of them, fortunately, and I figure
it was they who kept me from going entirely to the
dogs. From them I learned how to gather what few
scraggly daisies I have gathered along life's cindery
I had my life to live over, I would start barefooted a
little earlier in the spring and stay that way a little
later in the fall. I would play hooky more. I
would shoot more paper wads at my teachers. I would
have more dogs. I would keep later hours. I'd
have more sweethearts.
would fish more. I would go to more circuses.
I would go to more dances. I would ride on more
merry-go-rounds. I would be carefree as long as I
could, or at least until I got some care - instead of
having my cares in advance.
errors are made solemnly than in fun. The rubs of
family life come in moments of intense seriousness rather
than in moments of light-heartedness. If nations -
to magnify my point - declared international carnivals
instead of international war, how much better that would
K. Chesterton once said, "A characteristic of the
great saints is their power of levity. Angels can
fly because they can take themselves lightly. One
'settles down' into a sort of selfish seriousness; but one
has to rise to a gay self-forgetfulness. A man falls
into a 'brown study'; he reaches up at a blue sky."
a world in which practically everybody else seems to be
consecrated to the gravity of the situation, I would rise
to glorify the levity of the situation. For I agree
with Will Durant that "gaiety is wiser than
doubt, however, that I'll do much damage with my
creed. The opposition is too strong.
There are too many serious people trying to get everybody
else to be too darned serious.