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Pomp And Circumstance

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Pomp And Circumstance

Last week, the telephone-device in my bed-chamber sounded, and I nearly jumped out of my desiccated, paper-like skin. No-one ever summons me in my own bed-chamber via the telephone-device! I had my nurse pick up the ear-receiver and put it against my prosthetic brass ear, but that proved to be a bad idea, as the voice emanating from the receiver reverberated endlessly through the metal ear canal, causing blood to shoot out of my ear in a scarlet jet.

Later that day, I finally came to, only to find my head swathed in yards of bandages. My scribe, Braintree, was in the bed-chamber, quietly awaiting the dictation of this week's Publisher's Message. I asked him if he knew anything about the telephone-summons.

"That was the opinion-page editor," Braintree said. "He wanted to know if you would be interested in devoting this week's Message to advice for the young people who are graduating from high-school this month."

I was aghast that a lowly up-start hack would instruct me in the writing of the column I have authored since 1897. But I was even more appalled when Braintree explained to me what a "high-school" was. Evidently, now-a-days, they keep the molly-coddles in school until the age of 17 or 18, filling their minds with such trivial nonsense as isosceles triangles and who won the Battle of the Boyne. An out-rage!

When I was a lad, we had no such fripperies as public education, at least not out in the frontier where I was raised. I learned my letters and ciphering at my father's knee. The rest of my time was devoted to ploughing the sun-scorched earth, tanning buffalo hides, and fighting off grizzled-bears with my trusty bowie-knife! But my thirst for adventure knew no quenching, and when I was 10, I jumped a train bound for New-York.

Still of a tender age, I found that rogues and fiends lurked at every corner, eager to exploit a young run-away. So I joined a gang of young roughs in the Tender-loin District. Our trade was embroidery; in fact, we were the toughest embroidery gang in the East. We had a virtual strangle-hold on all embroidery operations in New-York. But our gang was eventually vanquished by a stronger, even younger gang who dealt in crocheting. So I returned to the family home-stead and worked the printing-press until taking over the editorship in 1896.

As for advice for the young graduates, I have none. It's every man for him-self!

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