Are you “Erect”?

Well Mr. Man, are you?   Or do you slouch when you walk to your job?  What about hang your head?  For shame! No wonder you can’t get ahead in life!

If you are a lover of the value of old newspapers in genealogy, you know that periodically you can get diverted by something on a page that has nothing to do with what you are looking for.  If you are looking for John Jones’ death notice and come across an advertisement headline that says “Pimply? Well don’t be!” you are going to at least scope out the claims of the product.  I mean, who wants to be pimply?  And who ever had to find a word that rhymes with “pimply”?  Not me.

This little gem is something I came across in the August 27, 1895 issue of the Marion Star, my hometown newspaper.   It promises, in direct, no nonsense fashion, how to stand up straight and tall and put your best foot forward.


OK, now admit it.  You tried at least one of these, right?  It was number 11, wasn’t it.

This little bit is what we used to call “Filler” in the older days of journalism when pages were laid out by hand.  Today, you press a button and the computer lays out the page.  But back then, with metal type slugs and hot metal castings, you did it manually.  It was hard, labor intensive work.  And try as you might to carefully lay everything out, sometimes you needed something to fill out the space and these little gems would be used.

And think about your ancestors – reading a newspaper, seeing this, and considering these tips as a serious means of self-improvement.  You have no radio, no TV, no electric lights, no computers or smart devices. And this is in an era when we are SEVENTY years from self-help book craze that got started with “You’re OK, I’m OK.”*  So why not make yourself erect (and you need to stop thinking dirty thoughts, if you are) and present a better you as you walk to the market, or walk into church, or to work.

Huzzah! For you Mr. Man!

Ready for a stroll.


I however insist that you not put forty pounds of anything on your head and run up and down the stairs as Number 6 proposes.

As you get through the day, if you must “Look upward as you walk on the sunny side of the street,” put on some sunglasses.  And watch out for people looking down at their cell phones.


*Note – I am not a fan of self help books.  One of the most unhappy wretches I have known in my life would never seek professional help, would go to work and then home, and they call and whine about their lives. “I never meet anyone,” they would opine.  When I suggest that they take up a hobby like bird watching, volunteering or GENEALOGY, their response was “I have a hobby.  I read self-help books.  They are so affirming.” 

Well, there you go, right?  

Trust me – the only one who is helped by a self help book is the author, every time someone buys their books.  But that’s my opinion – your mileage may vary.