Esteemed thinker: Gelett Burgess

the goops Manners are the simple etiquettes between humans that can dictate whether an interaction will be a pleasing or unpleasing experience. Manners are not instinctive; for example we will not find a pair of dogs discussing which one will have the bone but rather they will grab and grapple until the victor is munching happily away at the marrow.

Instead, manners are learned activities that can be passed down from generation to generation like grandmother’s linen tablecloth. But unlike that tablecloth which only dons the table on special occasions; we can only hope that manners are always showing. Alas, this is not always the case and what was once considered ill mannered are now simply part of the norm.

Let me present a few examples of manner interpretations having changed through time. In the earlier part of the 20th century, speaking on the telephone in public was conducted in a private “telephone booth” so as not only to maintain some modicum of privacy but also as consideration to others around. Today, speaking on a cell phone is as conducted everywhere and those around, whether they like it or not, are subjected to its intrusion.

Food today has been packaged in a fashion whereby children hardly need to use any utensils but rather finger their way through a meal; yogurt is squeezed through tubes, chicken is pre-cut as finger- food, and fruit is rolled into plastic-like material to be peeled and eaten. Even waffles are now designed to be neatly fit in the hand and dunked in syrup without the assistance of a fork. Often table manners have been modified for convenience.

And then there was the removing of a man’s hat when indoors, which was once considered good manners but is now regarded as quite archaic.

However, as times have changed our interpretations of manners the one conduct that has not gone out-of-style is the custom of please and thank you whereupon I say, I am pleased that you have stopped by and thank you for taking time from your busy day to read this post! And oh yes … have a most pleasant day!!

Gelett Burgess Today’s post acquaints you with the esteemed thinker: Gelett Burgess (1866-1951) American poet, artist, and humorist. Born in Boston, Massachusetts, his career began after graduating from MIT with an engineer degree. Best known today as the creator of the Goops and the famous Purple Cow verse, he was also the author of many books and a brilliant, iconoclastic American humorist.

From his title, More Goops and How not to be Them, I bring you one of his poems, “At Table” which will indeed fit neatly into today’s post. Enjoy!

At Table

Why is it Goops must always wish
To touch each apple on the dish?
Why do they never neatly fold
Their napkins until they are told?
Why do they play with food, and bite
Such awful mouthfuls? Is it right?
Why do they tilt back in their chairs?
Because they’re Goops! So no one cares!

First image: 1900

Poetry

city Poetry…when you hear or read that word how does it make you feel? For some it ignites pleasure, for others it simply conjures up memories of bad days in literature class. I for one am a big fan of poetry. I read it, write it, record it, video it, sense it in my surroundings.
Try if you dare and ask someone when it was that they last read a poem and many will solicit an expression as though you have just stepped out from a Victorian novel… for not everyone may feel or regard the merits of the poem.

So, I have taken the liberty of offering up to you one of my own pieces originally published in Digital Americana Magazine (May 2011). It is titled…

Do Great Women Vacuum?

Each morning
Riding the number 32 bus
I see angels
Going to work

They step down
Leaving behind rose
And lavender scents
That cling to my skirt

Their starched uniforms
Melt into gray mornings
Till only a bleached silhouette
Fades into each house

And at night
When they return home
They continue to vacuum
Their ordinary lives

***
Which brings me to day’s blog; as you can imagine is about Poetry; whereby I put forward to you a moment to contemplate the words of our 19th century philosopher, Arthur Schopenhauer. From portions of his essay Aesthetics of Poetry, let us read and break from our hectic day…

Authur Schopoeneur “ As the simplest and most correct definition of poetry, I would call it the art of exciting by words the power of the imagination…Because the reader’s imagination is the material in which poetic art represents its pictures, this had the advantage that the more special execution and finer traits so appear in each one’s imagination, as is at the most suitable to his individuality, his sphere of cognition, and his humor, and hence affect him in a most lively manner…but how infallibly a beautiful melody touching the heart travels around the world, and an excellent poem wanders from people to people…To delight the ear with its sounds, seems its whole destiny, and, having done this, everything seems to be accomplished and every claim satisfied. That it, at the same time, conveys a meaning, expresses a thought, proves, as it were, an unexpected addition, like the words to music, an unexpected gift, pleasantly surprising us, and because we made no claims of this sort, very easily satisfying us…”