A Man Of Good Elastic

The philosopher appeared in front of the Hotel Imperial and attracted a crowd by his actions. He removed his coat, folded it, laid it on the sidewalk, placed his hat upon it; then he drew a small rubber band from his pocket. He broke the circle with his fingers, and, stretching the elastic to its limit, held it above his head.

Five rubber bands

“Gentlemen,” said the philosopher, “and pardon me – ladies – I did not see you. In this little piece of elastic there is the philosophy of life and living. When it is stretched to its full length it represents the strained life; when relaxed it is the simple life.

“Appearances, ladies and gentlemen,” said the philosopher, stretching the elastic until it threatened to snap. He allowed the rubber to relax with a snap and chuckled.

“But there’s the goods. It doesn’t look so big, but it amounts to as much as is more solid.”

“And you, ladies?” Once more the elastic extended. “Dress! But there’s simplicity. And who shall say that the original Eve was less of a woman than any of you?”

That decided Policeman Xenodocius, the Classic Cop of the Tenderloin. He arrested the Philosopher of the Elastic Life.

“Pardon me,” said the sophist. “I have but one more lesson to-”

“Come on!” said Xenodocius urgently.”

“Well,” said Sergt Charles Place, placidly, a moment later, “I don’t see that he did anything dangerous.”

“Aha!” cried the philosopher. “Here is a man of good elastic. I congratulate you, Sir.”

As the philosopher turned to go, he saw the reporters. Out came the inevitable elastic.

“Gentlemen,” said he, “you see it is stretched. Now it is not stretched. This applies also to journalism. There is no need for you to make it the length of this. See!” And he slowly allowed the rubber band to contract. “Observe that it loses nothing but gains rather by compactness.”

A wave of his hand and he was gone.

The New York Times; May 6, 1905

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