Posted by jlubans on June 08, 2017

Caption: The Professor Aloft. Illustration by CLYDE J. NEWMAN, 1899

“NOW it happens that in America a man who goes up hanging to a Balloon is a Professor.
One day a Professor, preparing to make a Grand Ascension, was sorely pestered by Spectators of the Yellow-Hammer Variety, who fell over the Stay-Ropes or crowded up close to the Balloon to ask Fool Questions. They wanted to know how fur up he Calkilated to go and was he Afeerd and how often had he did it. The Professor answered them in the Surly Manner peculiar to Showmen accustomed to meet a Web-Foot
On the Q. T. the Prof. had Troubles of his own. He was expected to drop in at a Bank on the following Day and take up a Note for 100 Plunks. The Ascension meant 50 to him, but how to Corral the other 50? That was the Hard One.
This question was in his Mind as he took hold of the Trapeze Bar and signaled the Farm Hands to let go. As he trailed Skyward beneath the buoyant silken Bag he hung by his Knees and waved a glad Adieu to the Mob of Inquisitive Yeomen. A Sense of Relief came to him as he saw the Crowd sink away in the Distance.
Hanging by one Toe, and with his right Palm pressed to his Eyes, he said: ‘Now that I am Alone, let me Think, let me Think.’
There in the Vast Silence He Thought.
Presently he gave a sigh of Relief.
‘I will go to my Wife's Brother and make a Quick Touch,’ he said. ‘If he refuses to Unbelt I will threaten to tell his Wife of the bracelet he bought in Louisville.’
Having reached this Happy Conclusion, he loosened the Parachute and quickly descended to the Earth.”
MORAL: Avoid Crowds.
Yet another benefit of Solitude of which we have been hearing so much. Indeed those not so inclined have mounted a retaliatory assault on that State of Being (any state away from the silicone screen) which they consider Boredom.
So, yes, let’s ogle the screen and flicker, fidget, instagram, twitter and pinter our friends or our “general public” if it be Seemly and fitting or Not.
Our professor, a rapscallion of the third Masonic order, uses his break from the maddening crowd to think Devious – not what Thoreau had in mind for Solitude, or maybe he did when he was cadging those free Din-Dins at Walden Pond.
In any case, another fable from Mr. Ade – an America’s humorist par excellence.
For more Info on George Ade (1866-1944) see my note at a previous blog.

Source: *Source: George Ade. “Fables in Slang, 1901.

N.B. My next book, Fables for Leaders, Ezis Press, comes out in September 2017 as an e-book ($8.99) and a soft cover print-on-demand book, ($26.99). The print book, pictured, will feature original illustrations by the renowned Béatrice Coron.

Cover: "Fables for Leaders" PRE-PRINT, 203pp. 2017.

© Copyright John Lubans 2017

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