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Scheaffer, C. Gibson (ed.) / Wisconsin literary magazine
Volume XXVI, Number 3 (March 1927)

Ward, Mackenzie
Let there be light with less argument,   pp. 4-5


Page 4

LET THERE BE LIGHT WITH LESS ARGUMENT
By
MACKENZIE WARD
I am tired of hearing people's opin-
ions about what I am doing in my
four years of college. It is strenu-
ous to read articles by eminent men
and women who dissect me and ana-
lyze me as though I were a bug or a
compound. I feel like a bandit who
has held up the fast mail and sighs
at the newspaper account of his
crime. No one knows much about
me; what they say is all wrong to be-
gin with; and until they understand
me, how are they going to correct the
system of making me as intelligent as
they are.
Percy Marks thought he had me
cornered, but he was all off, and if
Lynn and Lois Seyster Montross seri-
ously believe I am Andy Protheroe,
they are crazy, also.
People are all suspicious of me, It
is because they are jealous. My par-
ents and my relatives are suspicious
of me, my instructors, business men,
editorial writers, bill collectors, the
board of regents, they all are. They
make jests about my inefficiency, my
ignorance, dress, presumption, and
ideals. I laugh at them, and they
think I am laughing because the joke
is on me, but that is not the reason.
I laugh at them as you laugh at
clowns. You see, I do not take them
very seriously.
A few years ago it was decided that
I should go to college.
"College," said Aunt Eva, "is very
broadening."
"College is foolishness," declared
my father.
"It is dreadful in some ways," re-
marked my mother, thinking of mov-
ies she had seen.
"College is the nuts," concluded
brother Charlie, who had just been
there.
I know a lot more now than if I had
gone to work. I can tell you about
two or three philosophy books and
about elementary geology. I am pretty
well up on history. I know a few
economic theories. About poets and
verse forms and novels and literary
movements I could talk longer.
The trouble is, they all think that
because I am in a university I really
should learn a great deal. I am not
interested in that. It doesn't seem to
make much difference whether or not
I learn all I can. This point of view
is some sort of a trick idea that does
not work for everybody. I am too
young to be too much interested in
learning.
These people who write about me
and talk about me are stodgy and not
youthful any more. Did you ever
watch them bob around when they
danced? They have lost their hold
on what I am, and so they cannot un-
derstand. They are clever, and when
they phrase their distorted ideas nice-
ly, people believe them. Other people
want to believe that things are all
haywire. If they have not gone to
college, they are jealous, and if they
have, they are jealous anyway. It is
an old grudge, between youth and
middle age, and it is an obvious
grudge.
Business men and editorial writ-
ers see me at football games or on
Friday and Saturday nights. They
see me in night clubs in New York,
or in Chicago's supper places, when I
have a little money. Sometimes I am
drunk, and they think I am too young
to get drunk. Most any of us could
drink them under the table. They do
not realize that from Monday to Fri-
day I am busy with lectures and text-
books, as busy as they are with mar-
ket quotations and press bulletins.
Sometimes, though, some one will ask,
"Shoot a hand of bridge?" and I will
often lay down my book and yield to
this temptation. I play bridge, and
go to movies, also. You may inter-
pret this as a confession, if you like.
But because of what I do on special
Nveek-ends, they think I am always
like that. They believe that my edu-
cation is all nonsense. That is a fool-
ish thing to believe. Such things as
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