Meingast’s Guide to the “Good” Life

From Guide to the “Good” Life (1926):

It’s common Austrian wisdom that the more one reads and thinks, the sicker and uglier the body becomes. Mountaineering, river bathing, shooting, skiing, and horseback riding can reverse the process if these activities are done regularly before the subject reaches 35. After that, the subject cannot reverse the corporeally mutilating effects of study, and must contend with such concomitant conditions as gout, warts, loss of eyebrow hair, elongation of shoulder hair, knock-knees, and a phlegmy cough. 


  1. Oh, interesting! I somehow assumed this was from his “Letter to a Young Gentleman on the Occasion of his Wedding.”

  2. Kristin Primus says:

    Nope, it’s from the Guide. It’s quite the compendium of nuggets of Meingastian wisdom.

    You know, it’s commonly assumed that the Guide contains crock-pot recipes, but I’m looking at the “recipes” again, and I think our Dr. Dexter Tirgum’s translation from 1955 is completely off. Tirgum translates “der Hafen der Schmierfinken” as “crock-pots,” but it is better translated as “Haven of the Hacks.” I think the “recipes” are probably not recipes, but rather lists of writers he despised. Turns out that “Kugelköpfiger Lauch” was a common nickname of one Herr Jakob Pummeldümmer, who famously tried to write a theatrical adaptation of Kleist’s essay “Über das Marionettentheater” for sheepdogs (and other “smart” dogs). I haven’t figured out who “Runkelrübe” is supposed to be, but I suspect it is Fraulein Anna Haßgefäß, who wrote terribly maudlin minstrel songs.

  3. Kristin Primus says:

    Also— there was a production of the Pummeldümmer adaptation in Carmel in 1987. Wild.

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