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[ILLUSTRATION: _Laugh and Live_]


Laugh and Live

By DOUGLAS FAIRBANKS


ILLUSTRATED

NEW YORK
BRITTON PUBLISHING COMPANY

1917




TO MY MOTHER




CONTENTS

I. "Whistle and Hoe--Sing As We Go"

II. Taking Stock of Ourselves

III. Advantages of an Early Start

IV. Profiting by Experience

V. Energy, Success and Laughter

VI. Building Up a Personality

VII. Honesty, the Character Builder

VIII. Cleanliness of Body and Mind

IX. Consideration for Others

X. Keeping Ourselves Democratic

XI. Self-Education by Good Reading

XII. Physical and Mental Preparedness

XIII. Self-indulgence and Failure

XIV. Living Beyond Our Means

XV. Initiative and Self-Reliance

XVI. Failure to Seize Opportunities

XVII. Assuming Responsibilities

XVIII. Wedlock in Time

XIX. Laugh and Live

XX. A "Close-Up" of Douglas Fairbanks




LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS

Laugh and Live
Do You Ever Laugh?
Over the Hedge and on His Way
Preparing to Pair With the Prickly Pear
A Little Spin Among the Saplings
Over the Hills and Far Away--Father and Son
A Scene from "His Picture in the Papers"
A Scene from "The Americano"--Matching Wits for Gold
Taking on Local Color
A Scene from "His Picture in the Papers"
Douglas Fairbanks in "The Good Bad-Man"
Squaring Things With Sister--From "The Habit of Happiness"
A Scene from "In Again--Out Again"
Bungalowing in California
Demonstrating the Monk and the Hand-Organ to a Body of Psychologists
"Wedlock in Time"--The Fairbanks' Family
Here's Hoping
A Close-Up




LIVE AND LAUGH




CHAPTER I

"WHISTLE AND HOE--SING AS WE GO"


There is one thing in this good old world that is positively
sure--happiness is for _all_ who _strive_ to _be_ happy--and those who
laugh _are_ happy.

Everybody is eligible--you--me--the other fellow.

Happiness is fundamentally a state of mind--not a state of body.

And mind controls.

Indeed it is possible to stand with one foot on the inevitable "banana
peel" of life with both eyes peering into the Great Beyond, and still be
happy, comfortable, and serene--if we will even so much as smile.

It's all a state of mind, I tell you--and I'm sure of what I say. That's
why I have taken up my fountain pen. I want to talk to my friends--you
hosts of people who have written to me for my recipe. In moving pictures
all I can do is act my part and grin for you. What I say is a matter of
your own inference, but with my pen I have a means of getting around the
"silent drama" which prevents us from organizing a "close-up" with one
another.

In starting I'm going to ask you "foolish question number 1."--

Do you ever laugh?

I mean do you ever laugh right out--spontaneously--just as if the police
weren't listening with drawn clubs and a finger on the button connecting
with the "hurry-up" wagon? Well, if you don't, you should. _Start off
the morning with a laugh and you needn't worry about the rest of the
day._

I like to laugh. It is a tonic. It braces me up--makes me feel
fine!--and keeps me in prime mental condition. Laughter is a
physiological necessity. The nerve system requires it. The deep,
forceful chest movement in itself sets the blood to racing thereby
livening up the circulation--which is good for us. Perhaps you hadn't
thought of that? Perhaps you didn't realize that laughing automatically
re-oxygenates the blood--_your_ blood--and keeps it red? It does all of
that, and besides, it relieves the tension from your brain.

_Laughter is more or less a habit._ To some it comes only with practice.
But what's to hinder practising? Laugh and live long--if you had a
thought of dying--laugh and grow well--if you're sick and
despondent--laugh and grow fat--if your tendency is towards the lean and
cadaverous--laugh and succeed--if you're glum and "unlucky"--laugh and
nothing can faze you--not even the Grim Reaper--for the man who has
laughed his way through life has nothing to fear of the future. His
conscience is clear.

Wherein lies this magic of laughter? For magic it is--a something that
manufactures a state of felicity out of any condition. We've got to
admit its charm; automatically and inevitably a laugh cheers us up. If
we are bored--nothing to do--just laugh--that's something to do, for
laughter is synonymous with action, and action dispels gloom, care,
trouble, worry and all else of the same ilk.

Real laughter is spontaneous. Like water from the spring it bubbles
forth a creation of mingled action and spontaneity--two magic potions in
themselves--the very essence of laughter--the unrestrained emotion
within us!

So, for me, it is to laugh! Why not stick along? The experiment won't
hurt you. All we need is will power, and that is a personal matter for
each individual to seek and acquire for himself. Many of us already
possess it, but many of us do not.

Take the average man on the street for example. Watch him go plodding
along--no spring, no elasticity, no vim. He is in _check-rein_--how can
he laugh when his _pep_ is all gone and the _sand in his craw_ isn't
there any more? What he needs is _spirit_! Energy--the power to force
himself into action! For him there is no hope unless he will take up
physical training in some form that will put him in normal physical
condition--after that everything simplifies itself. The brain responds
to the new blood in circulation and thus the mental processes are ready
to make a fight against the inertia of stagnation which has held them in
bondage.

[Illustration: _Do You Ever Laugh?_ (_White Studio_)]

And, mind you, physical training doesn't necessarily mean going to an
expert for advice. One doesn't have to make a mountain out of a
molehill. Get out in the fresh air and walk briskly--and don't forget to
wear a smile while you're at it. Don't over-do. Take it easy at first
and build on your effort day by day. A little this morning--a little
more tonight. The first chance you have, when you're sure of your wind
and heart, get out upon the country road, or cross-country hill and
dale. Then run, run, run, until you drop exhausted upon some grassy
bank. Then laugh, loud and long, for you're on the road to happiness.

Try it now--don't wait. _Today is the day to begin._ Or, if it is night
when you run across these lines, drop this book and trot yourself
around the block a few times. Then come back and you'll enjoy it more
than you would otherwise. Activity makes for happiness as nothing else
will and once you stir your blood into little bubbles of energy you will
begin to think of other means of keeping your bodily house in order.
Unless you make a first effort the chances are you will do very little
real thinking of any kind--_we need pep to think_.

Think what an opportunity we miss when stripped at night if we fail to
give our bodies a round of exercise. It is so simple, so easy, and has
so much to do with our sleep each night and our work next day that to
neglect to do so is a crime against nature. And laugh! Man alive, if you
are not in the habit of laughing, _get the habit_. Never miss a chance
to laugh aloud. Smiling is better than nothing, and a chuckle is better
still--but _out and out laughter_ is the real thing. Try it now if you
dare! And when you've done it, analyze your feelings.

I make this prediction--if you once start the habit of exercise, and
couple with it the habit of laughter, even if only for one short
week--you'll keep it up ever afterwards.

And, by the way, Friend Reader,--don't be alarmed. The personal pronouns
"_I_" and "_you_" give place in succeeding chapters to the more
congenial editorial "_we_." I couldn't resist the temptation to enjoy
one brief spell of intimacy just for the sake of good acquaintance.
_Have a laugh on me._




CHAPTER II

TAKING STOCK OF OURSELVES


Experience is the real teacher, but the matter of how we are going to
succeed in life should not be left to ordinary chance while we are
waiting for things to happen. Our first duty is to prepare ourselves
against untoward experiences, and that is best done by taking stock of
our mental and physical assets at the very outset of our journey. What
weaknesses we possess are excess baggage to be thrown away and that is
our reason for taking stock so early. It is likely to save us from
riding to a fall.

There is one thing we don't want along--_fear_. We will never get
anywhere with that, nor with any of its uncles, aunts or cousins--_Envy,
Malice and Greed_. In justice to our own best interests we should search
every crook and cranny of our hearts and minds lest we venture forth
with any such impedimenta. There is no excuse, and we have no one to
blame if we allow any of them to journey along with us. We know whether
they are there or not just as we would know _Courage, Trust and Honor_
were they perched behind us on the saddle.

It is idle to squeal if through association with the former we find
ourselves ditched before we are well under way--for it is coming to us,
sooner or later. We might go _far_, as some have done, through the lanes
and alleys of ill-gotten gains and luxurious self-indulgence, but we
would pay in the end. So, why not charge them up to "profit and loss" at
the start and kick them off into the gutter where they belong? They are
not for us on our eventful journey through life, and the time to get rid
of them once and for all is when we are young, and mentally and
physically vigorous. Later on when the fires burn low and we still have
them with us they will be hard to push aside.

"To thine own self be true," says the great Shakespeare and how can we
be true to our own selves if we train with inferiors? We are known by
our companionships. We will be rated according to association--good or
bad. The two will not mix for long and we will be one sort of a fellow
or the other. We can't be both.

There was a time, long years ago, in the days of our grandfathers, when
men went to the "bow-wows" and, later on, "came back" as it were, by
making a partial success in life--measured largely by the money they
succeeded in accumulating.



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