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The World’s Wit and Humor: An Encyclopedia in 15 Volumes. 1906.

Finley Peter Dunne (1867–1936)

Work and Sport

From “Observations of Mr. Dooley”

“A HARD time th’ rich have injyin’ life,” said Mr. Dooley.

“I’d thrade with thim,” said Mr. Hennessy.

“I wud not,” said Mr. Dooley. “’Tis too much like hard wurruk. If I iver got hold iv a little mound iv th’ money, divvle th’ bit iv hardship wud I inflict on mesilf. I’d set on a large Turkish sofa an’ have dancin’ girls dancin’ an’ a mandolin orchesthree playin’ to me. I wudden’t move a step without bein’ carrid. I’d go to bed with th’ lark an’ get up with th’ night-watchman. If anny wan suggested physical exercise to me, I’d give him forty dollars to go away. I’d hire a prize-fighter to do me fightin’ f’r me, a pedesthreen to do me walkin’, a jockey to do me ridin’, an’ a colledge pro-fissor to do me thinkin’. Here I’d set with a naygur fannin’ me with osterich feathers, lookin’ ca’mly out through me stained-glass windies on th’ rollin’-mills, smokin’ me good five-cint seegar an’ rejicin’ to know how bad ye mus’ be feelin’ ivry time ye think iv me hoorded wealth.

“But that ain’t the way it comes out, Hinnissy. Higgins, th’ millyionaire, had th’ same idee as me whin he was beginnin’ to breed money with a dollar he ownded an’ a dollar he took fr’m some wan that wasn’t there at th’ time. While he was hammerin’ hoops on a bar’l or dhrivin’ pegs into a shoe, he’d stop wanst in awhile to wipe th’ sweat off his brow whin th’ boss wasn’t lookin’ an’ he’d say to himself: ‘If I iver get it, I’ll have a man wheel me around on a chair.’ But as his stable grows an’ he herds large dhroves down to th’ bank ivry week, he changes his mind, an’ whin he’s got enough to injye life, as they say, he finds he’s up against it. His throubles has just begun. I know in his heart Higgins’s ideel iv luxury is enough buckwheat cakes an’ a cozy corner in a Turkish bath, but he can’t injye it. He mus’ be up an’ doin’. An’ th’ on’y things anny wan around him is up an’ doin’ is th’ things he used to get paid f’r doin’ whin he was a young man.

“Arly in th’ mornin’ Higgins has got to be out exercisin’ a horse to keep th’ horse in good health. Higgins has no business on a horse an’ he knows it. He was built an’ idycated f’r a cooper, an’ th’ horse don’t fit him. Th’ nachral way f’r Higgins to ride a horse is to set well aft an’ hang onto th’ ears. But he’s tol’ that’s wrong an’ he’s made to set up sthraight an’ be a good fellow an’ meet th’ horse half way. An’ if th’ horse don’t run away with Higgins an’ kill him, he’s tol’ it’s not a good horse an’ he ought to sell it. An’ mind ye, he pays f’r that though he can’t help raymimberin’ th’ man nex’ dure fr’m him used to get tin dollars a week f’r th’ same job.

“When he was a young man, Higgins knowed a fellow that dhruv four horses f’r a brewery. They paid him well, but he hated his job. He used to come in at night an’ wish his parents had made him a cooper, an’ Higgins pitied him, knowin’ he cudden’t get out a life-insurance policy an’ his wife was scared to death all th’ time. Now that Higgins has got th’ money, he’s took th’ brewery man’s job with worse horses an’ him barred f’m dhrivin’ with more thin wan hand. An’ does he get annything f’r it? On th’ conth’ry, Hinnissy, it sets him back a large forchune. An’ he says he’s havin’ a good time, an’ if th’ brewery man come along an’ felt sorry f’r him Higgins wudden’t exactly know why.

“Higgins has to sail a yacht raymimberin’ how he despised th’ Swede sailors that used to loaf in th’ saloon near his house durin’ th’ winter; he has to run an autymobill, which is th’ same thing as dhrivin’ a throlley car on a windy day, without pay; he has to play golf, which is th’ same thing as bein’ a letther-carryer without a dacint uniform; he has to play tennis, which is another wurrud f’r batin’ a carpet; he has to race horses, which is the same thing as bein’ a bookmaker with th’ chances again’ ye; he has to go abroad, which is th’ same thing as bein’ an immigrant; he has to set up late, which is th’ same thing as bein’ a dhrug clerk; an’ he has to play cards with a man that knows how, which is th’ same thing as bein’ a sucker.

“He takes his good times hard, Hinnissy. A rich man at spoort is a kind iv non-union laborer. He don’t get wages f’r it an’ he don’t dhrive as well as a milkman, ride as well as a stable-boy, shoot as well as a polisman, or autymobill as well as th’ man that runs th’ steam-roller. It’s a tough life. They’se no rest f’r th’ rich an’ weary.

“We’ll be readin’ in th’ pa-apers wan iv these days: ‘Alonzo Higgins, th’ runner up in las’ year’s champeenship, showed gr-reat improvement in this year’s bricklayin’ tournymint at Newport, an’ won handily with about tin square feet to spare. He was nobly assisted by Regynald Van Stinyvant, who acted as his hod-carryer an’ displayed all th’ agility which won him so much applause arlier in th’ year.

“‘Th’ Pickaways carrid off all th’ honors in th’ sewer-diggin’ contest yesterdah, defatin’ th’ Spadewells be five holes to wan. Th’ shovel wurruk iv Cassidy th’ banker was spicially noticeable. Th’ colors iv th’ Pickaways was red flannel undhershirts an’ dark-brown trousers.

“‘Raycreations iv rich men: Jawn W. Grates an’ J. Pierpont Morgan ar-re to have a five-days’ shinglin’ contest at Narragansett Pier. George Gold is thrainin’ f’r th’ autumn plumbin’ jimkanny. Mitchigan Avnoo is tore up fr’m Van Buren Sthreet to th’ belt line in priparation f’r th’ contest in sthreet-layin’ between numbers iv th’ Assocyation iv More-Thin-Rich Spoorts. Th’ sledge teams is completed, but a few good tampers an’ wather men is needed.’

“An’ why not, Hinnissy? If ’tis fun to wurruk, why not do some rale wurruk? If ’tis spoort to run an autymobill, why not run a locymotive? If dhrivin’ a horse in a cart is a game, why not dhrive a delivery wagon an’ carry things around? Sure, I s’pose th’ raison a rich man can’t undherstand why wages shud go higher is because th’ rich can’t see why annybody shud be paid f’r annything so amusin’ as wurruk. I bet ye Higgins is wondherin’ at this moment why he was paid so much f’r puttin’ rings around a bar’l.

“No, sir, what’s a rich man’s raycreation is a poor man’s wurruk. Th’ poor ar-re th’ on’y people that know how to injye wealth. Me idee iv settin’ things sthraight is to have th’ rich who wurruk because they like it do th’ wurruk f’r th’ poor who wud rather rest. I’ll be happy th’ day I see wan iv th’ Hankerbilits pushin’ ye’er little go-cart up th’ platform while ye set in th’ shade iv a three an’ cheer him on his way. I’m sure he’d do it if ye called it a spoort an’ tol him th’ first man t’ th’ dump wud be entitled to do it over again against sthronger men nex’ week. Wud ye give him a tin cup that he cud put his name on? Wud ye, Hinnissy? I’m sure ye wud.”

“Why do they do it?” asked Mr. Hennessy.

“I dinnaw,” said Mr. Dooley, “onless it is that th’ wan great object iv ivry man’s life is to get tired enough to sleep. Ivrything seems to be some kind iv wurruk. Wurruk is wurruk if ye’re paid to do it, an’ it’s pleasure if ye pay to be allowed to do it.”