Mr. Anon, summed up his philosophy of life in these few homely but poignant words: The best way to look at life is with a little humor, a lot of pity, a ceaseless curiosity, a love of beauty, and a sense of comradship with all men.
Such sentiments deserve to be graced by prominent authorship, such as Kipling. For years I have relied on the stern realities and depth of perception of “if”, and the “Recessional.” And “Just So” and the “Jungle Stories” were the delight of my youth. But Kipling’s life was troublesome from start to finish; so his humor, abundant though it is, lacks spontaniety. He lived in a world apart from his fellow men, observing them keenly through a telescope. Nevertheless, I make frequent pilgrimages to the 32 shrines in the 32 lines of “If”.
But Mr. Anon apparently lived a more balanced life than Mr. Kipling, even though the latter preferred the God of things that are to the God of things as they ought to be. Kipling knew how to live, but circumstances never permitted him to realize his ideals. For that reason he is like most of us. He personifies the analogy: play the cards as dealt, and if fate decrees a poor hand--play it well. That fellow Anon, on the other hand, was dealt a good hand; he wasn't distracted much by the hardships of making a living, nor victimized by sordidness; he was able to concentrate on the positive aspects of life. No doubt he was a happy man.
Come to think of it--Mr. Anon has written some terrible stuff, too.
Speaking of a sense of humor reminds me of an incident years ago when I was in school. There was a highly cultured female Doctor of Chemistry on the faculty. Her physical attributes made a mighty unfavorable first impression on the younger generation, and of course she was invariably assigned as chaperone to the many mixed parties at the institution. She was long and lanky, particularly her neck. Disrespectful youth was inclined to think her prominent facial proboscis could be seen coming around the corners some time before she herself arrived. So I did as Romans did, and cordially disliked her at first. But even sophisticated youth knows enough rules of propriety to keep “in right” with the powers that be; and I dutifully shook her paw at the right time and commented on the weather. This happened on several occasions before I managed to disengage my attention from my partner long enough to observe that Poinsettia (that's what we called her) usually spent the entire evening knitting. My curiosity was aroused, and I began to wonder if this much-maligned lady of letters enjoyed her job of watch dog. Then I suddenly realized she must have been bored to distraction. With that realization I decided to cultivate her friendship. That was easier said than done, for I was just another whipper-snapper; and the sooner the party was over, the sooner Poinsettia could go to bed. Anyway, I watched my chance, and eventually found myself and partner approaching her ladyship adorned with a dutiful smile, and with quaking knees. I Was due for a surprise and I got it, for we were greeted with a keen glance which took in the situation at once. A friendly gesture was all that was needed on my part, and Poinsettia took command, relieving my embarrassment. In a very short time the conversation was flowing without effort. For we were really old acquaintances who had neglected to be friends. Finally I said, "Miss X, why do you get so much pleasure from your knitting?” Her reply was prompt, “because it gives me something to think about while I am talking.”
That story became a campus classic, and Poinsettia became a campus favorite.
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