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Saturday, October 15, 2011

Number 284: Dale Wimbrow "The Guy In The Glass"

The Guy In the Glass

When you get what you want in your struggle for pelf,
And the world makes you King for a day,
Then go to the mirror and look at yourself,
And see what that guy has to say.

For it isn't your Father, or Mother, or Wife,
Who judgement upon you must pass.
The feller whose verdict counts most in your life
Is the guy staring back from the glass.

He's the feller to please, never mind all the rest,
For he's with you clear up to the end,
And you've passed your most dangerous, difficult test
If the guy in the glass is your friend.

You may be like Jack Horner and "chisel" a plum,
And think you're a wonderful guy,
But the man in the glass says you're only a bum
If you can't look him straight in the eye.

You can fool the whole world down the pathway of years,
And get pats on the back as you pass,
But your final reward will be heartaches and tears
If you've cheated the guy in the glass.

-- Dale Wimbrow

Hap Notes: First off, never heard of "pelf"? It's a word for ill-gotten gains, money gotten in a disreputable way. This poem, for many years, was attributed to the ubiquitous "Anonymous", that fella who wrote so many of the older familiar poems. Sometimes an urban mythology goes with it such as "it was found on a jail cell wall" or "it was written by a recovering addict." All interesting embroideries but false and belies the work of the poet,Dale Wimbrow (1895-1954), who was a fascinating and multi-faceted poet, musician, writer and artist.

Wimbrow was born in Whaleyville, Maryland. He went to Western Maryland College and served in WWI. He wrote songs and was somewhat famous for his work with orchestras on the radio. Here is a Wimbrow penned song: Dale Wimbrow and his Rubenville Turners doing "Country Bred and Chicken Fed" from 1926: Pretty cheery stuff and anticipates the rise of Swing and Western Swing music. He his wife, Dorothy, was a radio writer and producer.

Wimbrow wrote a good half dozen songs in addition to two books. He also started the Indian River News in 1948. The newspaper went on until his death and was later re-established and carried on by his wife.

Today's poem has been memorized, cut out of various newspapers (Ann Landers ran it in her column in 1983) and recited by millions over the years. It was originally published in the American magazine in 1934. Wimbrow wrote it in answer to a question written in to the magazine by an 18 year old fella, " One good reason, please, why an ambitious man should be honest." The magazine offered a prize for the best reader responses. Ironically, I don't think he won that contest. Go fig.

Since this poem has run in countless publications, I doubt that it needs much explication, however, it bears repeating that when you look in the mirror you should be looking a person whom you enjoy being with since that is who you will be with for life.

Here is another of Wimbrow's poems and his children's tribute website for him:

Yay! Saturday! So here are some cartoons and music:

Romper Room magic mirror WQAD-TV in Moline, IL.:

And here's Miss Frances at Ding Dong School making a very, uh, interesting sandwich:

Michael Jackson with "Man In The Mirror":

That scary mirror scene and transformation of the evil queen in Disney's "Snow White" :

Here is a cartoon of Toopy and Binoo with a mirror. The cartoon originated from the books "Toupie et Binou" written by Dominique Jolin: Toopy and Binoo

Here's Arcade Fire with "Black Mirror"

This is just sick- bathroom mirrors with commercials:

Apropos of nothing– have you ever seen this hand art before?:

And for the upcoming holiday- here are a few pumpkins:

This is certainly not for children – claymation of part of Mark Twain's "The Mysterious Stranger":

And finally- you've got to really click around the Boobah Zone (I can't believe it's taken me this long to share this- it's so odd, part of a children's show btw):

(The masthead picture today is the Hall of Mirrors in the Palace of Versailles)

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