Tomorrow night is my first book study group here at the caboose.
I’m just a little bit nervous, not that I have to speak seriously about a subject near and dear to my mind, but that I have to have the caboose bathroom clean enough for women.
It’s one thing to be criticized about low toilets at the county fairgrounds. My area on the Midway does not include the women’s restrooms, just curly fry cleanup.
However, here at my international headquarters, I am responsible for providing a comfortable, clean environment in which to discuss the ideas and philosophies espoused in our studies.
Maybe I should call Ron Brown of Brown Bear instead.
Tomorrow we will be discussing a book entitled “Be Good To Yourself,” written about 90 years ago.
I am not certain of the actual date, as the author, Orison Swett Marden, died in 1924 with some 2 million unpublished words in his manuscripts. This may have been included in those yet to be published efforts.
Possibly “Be Good to Yourself” was written anywhere between 1894 when Marden’s first book, “Pushing To The Front,” was published, and 1924, the year of his death, at age 74.
Marden was the founder of Success Magazine in 1897, which reached an enormous circulation of almost a half-million subscribers, translating at that time to between 2 million and 3 million readers.
I might add that my first contact with Marden’s writings was in 1983 in Langley, across the street from the middle school, in a trash bin.
Some gentle soul was closing his thrift store/book store. I asked him what he wanted for a weather beaten, tattered 1908 first edition of “He Can Who Thinks He Can” by Orison Swett Marden, which I had found in his trash.
“How about 25 cents?” he asked.
I invite you to muse over these few Marden musings from “Be Good To Yourself.”
From page 13, “The great thing in life is efficiency. If you amount to anything in the world, your time is valuable, your energy precious. They are your success capital and you cannot afford to heedlessly throw them away or trifle with them.”
What, no more half-night fair board meetings?
If these monthly, open-then-closed sessions don’t last at least four hours without an intermission, our fair girls just aren’t above average.
Somebody please wake up dedicated board boy Buzz and tell him that it’s time to feed his little Margie.
From page 14, “If you would make the most of yourself, cut away all of your vitality snappers, get rid of everything which hampers you and holds you back, everything which wastes your energy, cuts down your working capital. Get freedom at any cost.”
There goes my television, my satellite dish and my subscription to The Weekly World News.
How will I ever know about the feud between 24’s Jack Bauer and his slime-ball brother or discover that Bigfoot will be named Hilary Clinton’s running mate? I guess she needs the Northwest vote.
Also from page 14, “Always ask yourself, ‘What is there in this thing I am going to do which will add to my life-work, increase my power and keep me in superb condition to do the best thing possible to me?’”
Mmmm. Does that mean I need to stop shopping at Costco?
On page 35, “Some of us waste our energies and make our lives ineffective by trying to do too many things.”
Maybe we locals should all read that last line again.
“Ability to do one thing superbly almost precludes the possibility of doing other things in a way to attract attention.
If we focus powerfully upon one thing, energy is withdrawn from everything else.
The mind is like a searchlight as everything is in semidarkness except the object upon which the light is thrown at the moment. It cannot illuminate a very large area at one time. We cannot concentrate powerfully enough upon more than one thing to reach excellence.”
That explains why I blow bubbles better than figuring out what to do next.
Chapter Six, entitled “Eight Hundred Sixty-Nine Kinds of Liars,” is based upon Mark Twain’s accounting of the varieties he observed.
Fascinating stuff that Mr. Twain said.
Thank goodness David Ossman, our own Mark Twain, is still sharing that same wonderful wit and wisdom of his and Twain’s and George Tirebiter’s. Check out David’s latest best-seller, “The Ronald Reagan Murder Case,” available at local coffee shops everywhere, but likely autographed at 1504.
Chapter Seven on “The Quarrelling Habit” has this gem on page 63.
“Young people resent being lectured or corrected all the time. Nor do they thrive under constant repression.”
Another good reason for free bus service on Whidbey for our kids and seniors who act like kids.
I have much more to read before tomorrow’s study group.
I hope the girls attending do not notice my incomplete preparedness in the recitation of Marden’s closing chapters.
Just in case, I better use candles in the bathroom.