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Letters To Cynthia
by [?]


Dear Sir–What is a Boob? Will you please d
iscuss the subject a little? Perhaps I’m a boob
for asking–but I’d like to know.



The Boob, my dear Cynthia, is Nature’s device for mitigating the quaintly blended infelicities of existence. Never be too bitter about the Boob. The Boob is you and me and the man in the elevator.


As long as the Boob ratio remains high, humanity is safe. The Boob is the last repository of the stalwart virtues. The Boob is faith, hope and charity. The Boob is the hope of conservatives, the terror of radicals and the meal check of cynics. If you are run over on Market Street and left groaning under the mailed fist of a flivver, the Bolsheviki and I.W.W. will be watching the shop windows. It will be the Boob who will come to your aid, even before the cop gets there.

1653 BOOBS

If you were to dig a deep and terrible pit in the middle of Chestnut Street, and illuminate it with signs and red lights and placards reading, DO NOT WALK INTO THIS PIT, 1653 Boobs would tumble into it during the course of the day. Boobs have faith. They are eager to plunge in where an angel wouldn’t even show his periscope.


But that does not prove anything creditable to human nature. For though 1653 people would fall into our pit (which any Rapid Transit Company will dig for us free of charge) 26,448 would cautiously and suspiciously and contemptuously avoid it. The Boob ratio is just about 1 to 16.


It does not pay to make fun of the Boob. There is no malice in him, no insolence, no passion to thrive at the expense of his fellows. If he sees some one on a street corner gazing open-mouthed at the sky, he will do likewise, and stand there for half hour with his apple of Adam expectantly vibrating. But is that a shameful trait? May not a Boob expect to see angels in the shimmering blue of heaven? Is he more disreputable than the knave who frisks his watch meanwhile? And suppose he does see an angel, or even only a blue acre of sky–is that not worth as much as the dial in his poke?


It is the Boob who is always willing to look hopefully for angels who will see them ultimately. And the man who is only looking for the Boob’s timepiece will do time of his own by and by.


The Boob is convinced that the world is conducted on genteel and friendly principles. He feels in his heart that even the law of gravity will do him no harm. That is why he steps unabashed into our pit on Chestnut Street; and finding himself sprawling in the bottom of it, he bears no ill will to Sir Isaac Newton. He simply knows that the law of gravity took him for some one else–a street-cleaning contractor, perhaps.


A small boy once defined a Boob as one who always treats other people better than he does himself.


The Boob is hopeful, cheery, more concerned over other people’s troubles than his own. He goes serenely unsuspicious of the brick under the silk hat, even when the silk hat is on the head of a Mayor or City Councilman. He will pull every trigger he meets, regardless that the whole world is loaded and aimed at him. He will keep on running for the 5:42 train, even though the timetable was changed the day before yesterday. He goes through the revolving doors the wrong way. He forgets that the banks close at noon on Saturdays. He asks for oysters on the first of June. He will wait for hours at the Chestnut Street door, even though his wife told him to meet her at the ribbon counter.