Hunches, 1-28-37

The news in last week's Press of the formation of the Hamilton Retailers Association shows that some of the business men, at least, are on their toes. The way some folks placidly watch the steady stream of cars from this town taking perfectly good business to Quincy and Keokuk is not a compliment to local merchants. This process can be reversed by a cooperative exchange of ideas on modern business practice through the Association. It is not surprising that such a plan has been tried before and disbanded. The ups and downs of business cycles are bound to produce successive booms and periods of discouragement. But it is a pity that some form of cooperative organization cannot be maintained during hard times, when it is needed the most. The worst pitfall of such groups is the insidious growth of cliques and jealousies, which should be stamped out as fast as they appear. But never condemn the group because of a few chiselers.

 This column attempts to speak plainly, but any criticisms that are offered are given in a constructive sense. An example of poor business has come to our attention through a friend, and is noted here for whatever it may or may not be worth.

 Mr. X got caught the other day, when the temperature was down around zero, with his car battery almost completely discharged. The battery had to be charged immediately to prevent it being ruined by freezing. Mr. X visited six places where batteries were serviced after regular working hours, but early enough in the evening to be within reason. Two couldn't be bothered; two didn't have rental batteries; one, the proprietor was out just now; and number six did the job in fine shape. Now Mr. X is a resident of Hamilton, and didn't feel particularly bad about his difficulties; but if he were an outsider, would not this incident be spread around as a black eye for the city? Not only that; but is is a pretty safe bet that number six will get the future business of Mr. X and to heck with the other five!

 Have you read "Wake Up and Live"? Miss Brande has hit upon a nostrum which has as much tonic effect as her name might imply. People in dispair will give anything if they can find some mental life-raft to cling to until the storm blows over. To a lesser extent, but just as truly humanity always needs guide posts and beacons to help steer a steady course in the right direction. Life at its best is full of inscrutabilities. We cannot understand much that we see and experience; but we can control our state of mind. ("It's not the gale, but the set of the sail, that determines where we go.") Miss Brande does not deny the existence of evil and pain and cussedness--she offers no mental aspirin tablets. She simply tells us to keep them in the background, if we wish to live our lives fully. She expanded her idea into a book--and a best-seller, at that. Much of her elaborations may appeal to some as merely excess baggage. But her central idea is majestic in its simplicity and practicability. Here it is: Act as if it were impossible to fail. Two little words "as If" are packed full of meaning. Life is more than a game to be played; it is an art to be practiced. Successful art requires technique. Miss Brande tells us to use our noodles and apply the gentle art of make-believe. A wholesome mental attitude simply excludes, or rather minimizes, the negatives; and expends all its controllable energies on the positives. The art is to do it.

 Please note that the New Year's Resolution to write at least one column, omitting the first person singular, is hereby fulfilled.

Go To Next entry
Return to entry dates