La Paix, Rodgers’ Forge
August 8, 1933
I feel very strongly about you doing duty. Would you give me a little more documentation about your reading in French? I am glad you are happy — but I never believe much in happiness. I never believe in misery either. Those are things you see on the stage or the screen or the printed pages, they never really happen to you in life.
All I believe in in life is the rewards for virtue (according to your talents) and the punishments for not fulfilling your duties, which are doubly costly. If there is such a volume in the camp library, will you ask Mrs. Tyson to let you look up a sonnet of Shakespeare’s in which the line occurs “Lillies that fester smell far worse than weeds.”
Have had no thoughts today, life seems composed of getting up a Saturday Evening Post story. I think of you, and always pleasantly; but if you call me “Pappy” again I am going to take the White Cat out and beat his bottom hard, six times for every time you are impertinent. Do you react to that?
I will arrange the camp bill.
Halfwit, I will conclude.
Things to worry about:
- Worry about courage
- Worry about Cleanliness
- Worry about efficiency
- Worry about horsemanship
- Worry about. . .
Things not to worry about:
- Don’t worry about popular opinion
- Don’t worry about dolls
- Don’t worry about the past
- Don’t worry about the future
- Don’t worry about growing up
- Don’t worry about anybody getting ahead of you
- Don’t worry about triumph
- Don’t worry about failure unless it comes through your own fault
- Don’t worry about mosquitoes
- Don’t worry about flies
- Don’t worry about insects in general
- Don’t worry about parents
- Don’t worry about boys
- Don’t worry about disappointments
- Don’t worry about pleasures
- Don’t worry about satisfactions
Things to think about:
- What am I really aiming at?
- How good am I really in comparison to my contemporaries in regard to:
- (a) Scholarship
- (b) Do I really understand about people and am I able to get along with them?
- (c) Am I trying to make my body a useful instrument or am I neglecting it?
With dearest love,
P.S. My come-back to your calling me Pappy is christening you by the word Egg, which implies that you belong to a very rudimentary state of life and that I could break you up and crack you open at my will and I think it would be a word that would hang on if I ever told it to your contemporaries. “Egg Fitzgerald.” How would you like that to go through life with — “Eggie Fitzgerald” or “Bad Egg Fitzgerald” or any form that might occur to fertile minds? Try it once more and I swear to God I will hang it on you and it will be up to you to shake it off. Why borrow trouble?
- Things to worry about (lettersofnote.com)
- The Great Gatsby (1974 film) – Not So Secret Obsession (waldina.com)
- S and R, Then and Now. (waldina.com)
- Something Extraordinary (waldina.com)