John B Keane: A bad dose of being down in the dumps

No human being is proof against periodic doses of the dumps, but a man has to experience what it is to be down in the dumps to know what it is to be on top of the world, and between the two states there is only a very short journey, and when you consider that a man can travel from one extreme to another in a matter of seconds the gap may not be as wide as people would have us believe.

No human being is proof against periodic doses of the dumps, but a man has to experience what it is to be down in the dumps to know what it is to be on top of the world, and between the two states there is only a very short journey, and when you consider that a man can travel from one extreme to another in a matter of seconds the gap may not be as wide as people would have us believe.

The fuel for the journey from down in the dumps to the top of the world is the cheapest of all fuels and often the distance can be travelled on as little as a kind word. A laugh or a smile will do just as nicely and if none if these can be mustered up then a pat on the back will do the trick.

The trouble is that we can never, of our own volition, rise out of the dumps. We can rise others but not ourselves and it doesn’t matter whether we are kings, cardinals or dust men outside assistance is always necessary whether it be divine or human.

Often it is necessary to throw a gallon of water into a pump to get it going. It is this gallon that encourages thousands of gallons to come fourth. It is the same with a smile. If we administer it to another person it will release all the smiles and laughter in the great reservoir of the human disposition.

The dumps, however, are as easily brought on as they are disposed of. Once a person suffers from the initial dose it is no trouble at all to lapse and there is no such thing as building up an immunity. Repetitions of old rows between husbands and wives are very often the major cause, and where both are stubborn the smile or the kind word which brings relief may be slow in coming, and so that I am forced to believe that most people need to be down in the dumps from time to time or maybe it is that they like being down in the dumps and they are merely exhibiting man’s natural capacity for sufferance. The people who suffer most, if that is the right word, from being down in the dumps are husbands and wives. The friction created from their constant rubbing and grating against each other is the chief cause and very often for sheer devilment both parties will make no effort to elevate themselves from their down in the dumpiness and are inclined to drag out the fight to see how far they can go.

As I say, these skirmishes are absolutely necessary and are more necessary than ever if a marriage is to be successful as a whole. Long breathing spaces where no word is exchanged are absolutely necessary, and when the fight is over both parties return to a normal way of life refreshed and invigorated and fully prepared to work themselves into another state of down in dumps when the time is ripe for doing so. The worst thing about being a spinster or a bachelor is that there is no one to fight with, there is no one to resurrect the spirit when a dose of down in the dumps arrives. You can say what you like about matrimony but at least it’s rarely dull.

I can often tell when a person is down in the dumps. It is written on the kisser as it were and is there quite plainly for all to read. A pleasant salute is a great help to the victim but best of all is to stop them on the street and tell them you never saw them looking better.

This, of course, is not necessary if the person is married for they have the alternative of going home and starting the fight afresh and keeping the fight going until both parties are so exhausted that no other course is open to them except to make up.

Then when there is silence, the silence of the fatigued one or other is sure to cast the word or look which will dispel the dumps. We often hear of couples who are always fighting and when we do we must foolishly believe that they are always unhappy. They are always fighting, dear reader, because they have more energy then other fighters in the marriage stakes. There are many types of marriages and they can be placed between two extremes, i.e., the lazy ones and the crazy ones.

In reality, however, they are all the same down deep. They have the great advantage, of course, of never being truly harmonious. But who wants to listen to the same tune day in and day out? When the dumps arrive as they must from the time to time two heads and two hearts are better than one. And remember if you are down in the dumps be sure to enjoy them because, after all, that’s what they are for.