And laughter will arouse that sense as quickly as anything else. The man who is capable of laughing heartily is not apt to be the one who carries some conscience-stricken thought around with him. It is the easiest thing in the world to detect an untrue laugh. The real laugh springs out of the depths of being and comes with a ringing sense of security and faith in one’s self. It goes with the workman in the early morning when he swings along the road to the factory. It accompanies the soldier into battle. It arouses the clerk from lethargy. It brightens the sick room. It raises us all to unexplored heights, and as evidence of our state of mind it can only mean one thing—honesty and sincerity. No character can exist without this outward exhibition of an inward honesty. The mere cultivation of laughter would eventually lead to honesty. The fact that you are laughing, enjoying life, awakens you to a spirit of security and a feeling of the joy of living. Gloomy men are the ones whose tendency is toward crime and trouble. Laughing men are the ones who stir the world with new desires and make life worth living. Therefore we say—laugh and live!
[Illustration: A Scene from “His Picture in the Papers"]
CLEANLINESS OF BODY AND MIND
If we interview many of life’s failures we will find that the overwhelming majority went down because of their neglect to get out of an environment that was not stimulating and because their ambitions had grown rusty and inefficient to cope with depressing circumstances. The prisons and other institutions are filled with people who did not make any attempt to get away from the vicious surroundings in which they lived. They were like tadpoles that had never grown to frogs ... they just kept swimming around in their muddy puddles and, not having grown legs with which they could leap out onto the banks and away to other climes, they continued to swim in monotonous circles until they died. In other words, the failure is a man who dwells in muddy atmosphere all his days, who is content to remain a tadpole and who never attempts to take advantage of any opportunity. He becomes unclean, so to speak. And that is what we mean by this chapter heading “Cleanliness of Body and Mind.” It was not intended to point out the proper way to keep our faces and hands clean, or as a sermon, but rather to show ourselves that the clean body begets the clean mind, the two together constituting compelling tendencies toward the clean spirit. A move in the direction of these takes us out of the rut of life.