Saturday, January 6, 2018

Crapé Diem | Dare We Camouflage Old Age?

Maurice Ketten camouflage cartoon (1917)
Above Maurice Ketten, CAMOUFLAGE COOKING in The Galveston Daily News (Galveston TX) September 29, 1917, p. 8. For other wonderful Ketten cartoons, see earlier blog posts.


Abe Martin SHORT FURROWS in The Indianapolis News. September 28, 1918, p. 4—

Rev. Wiley Tanger addressed “Th' Serious Thinkers" in Tell Binkley’s insurance office, last night, takin’ for his subject, “Age Camouflagin." After garglin' a dipper o' water, he said: “One o’ th’ first things a feller notices after he reaches fifty is how swiftly Saturday night rolls around. He no sooner takes a bath till he begins t’ lay out his underwear fer another one. He no sooner shaves th’ snow from his chin till it's white agin. Th’ weeks an’ months an’ years dart by like a Chaplin film. He no sooner gits used t’ a straw hat with a polka dot band till it’s time t’ look around fer a rakish green hat. Th’ day’s gone ferever when he could git by with a youthful face an’ sparklin’ eyes an’ th’ time t’ camouflage has arrived. Th’ never endin’ battle agin relentless ole age is on. Th’ barber, th’ masseur, th’ tailor, th’ presser an’ cleaner, th’ shoe maker, th’ osteopath an’ th’ toupee maker must all be drafted int’ his service an’ he starts forth t’ conquer an unseen foe. But why should a feller try t’ hide th’ fact that he’s fifty? Surely there’s room enough on this earth fer people o’ fifty! Who’s he tryin’ t’ fool? What’s he tryin’ t’ put over? He has started over th’ top an’ a talcumed face an' tan spats won’t hold him back! A polka dot hat band an’ gray hair won't mix!! A peeled gray head an’ a green hat only excite comment—speculation!! I don’t mean t’ say that a feller should begin t’ unravel an’ wither at fifty. If ther’s anything I hate t’ see worse’n a peeled gray badger in a pinch-back suit, it’s a reconciled feller o’ sixty sittin’ around fumblin’ a set o’ white whiskers when he ought t’ be plowin’. A feller ought t’ be tickled t’ death t’ reach fifty! He ought t’ be proud of it!! What I’m drivin’ at is that a feller ought t’ stay in his class. A toupeed feller kin never look like anything but a restorer ad! Bright colors only emphasize ole age. If you're spared till fifty, take advantage o’ ever’ moment from then on, but do it leisurely an’ gracefully. Don’t try t’ look like you’ve been born agin!

“You kin be youthful in spirit without shavin’ all th’ time an’ smellin’ like Floridy water!! Talk about th’ golden days o’ youth!! What’s th’ matter with th’ diamond studded years beyond fifty? At fifty we should quietly apply th’ brakes an’ leisurely descend th’ slope with seasoned muscles, ripe judgment, shorn of illusions, rich in experience, filled with sweet memories, grateful fer havin’ successfully weathered th’ adventurous years o’ youth, with a keen appreciation o’ ever’ precious hour an’ with th’ knowledge that ther’s no new sensations. Let’s stop camouflagin’ an' leave th’ pinch-back clothes an’ zebra shirts t’ youth. Let’s bathe ever’ Saturday as usual, but let’s not worry about our chins bein' white. We’ve had our fling at lady killin’ so let’s sober down an’ resolve not t’ drain our reserve tanks chasin’ after a procession that’s only headed fer where we already are.”