Works in the Herald 1934

As part of their initiation rag, five freshmen at Sydney Technical College recently had their faces sprayed, their eyes and mouths sealed, with duco. It was thought that only skilled surgical treatment could remove the film from the lads' faces.

Behold the undergraduate --
   A most amusing fellow
In all his jesting up-to-date --
His sense of humor is so great,
   His modern wit so mellow,
That no quip serves him lest it be
Rich in originality.

Assured of overwhelming odds,
   Seizing the freshmen's persons,
Indelibly he daubs these clods,
To waken mirth in men and gods.
   (Saving a few McPhersons
And other members of their race
Who have of humor, not a trace.)

The softier sort of joke that serves
   Dull age -- the quaint or quizzical --
Gains his contempt, as it deserves;
Mere wordy wit gets on his nerves;
   His jokes are ever physical,
And richer qualities attain
The more they hold of cosmic pain.

To torture victims till they squeal
   Is mirthfully effectual;
Humor lacks pith unless these feel
Fierce torments: wit has no appeal
   That's solely intellectual.
The quirk, the paradox outworn,
The epigram but earn his scorn.

No milder jest may give him joy --
   Strange, adolescent creature,
Suspended 'twixt the man and boy --
No rag's worth while lest it employ
   Some quaintly painful feature;
But jokes, that moved the stone-age man
To shrieks of mirth, he'll gladly plan.

Behold the undergraduate
   And pity him a little,
Remembering 'twas once our fate
To linger in that loutish state
   That holds of grace no tittle,
But comes alike to boy and pup --
The penalty of growing up.

Herald, 29 May 1934, p6

Copyright © Perry Middlemiss 2003-06