Rob Price
Gutbrain Records
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2018 September 12 • Wednesday

Here's another bit of ephemera from Oceans of Books by the Sea: Driver and Pedestrian Responsibilities, the second in a series of five "Sportmanslike Driving" books printed by the American Automobile Association. This is from 1936.

A quick perusal seems to reveal a lot of sound advice mixed with some colorful observations of human nature.
With his normal psychological make-up, the baby would make the worst possible driver. He would consider nothing but his own interests and immediate desires.

The babyish adult makes a miserable driver for the same reason. He has never outgrown his babyish egotism. Sometimes this is not his own fault. He may have had the kind of training that makes a grown person act like a baby. But if he realizes his own infantile egotism, it may not be too late for him to acquire a social point of view.

Realizing one's own infantile egotism doesn't seem to be a popular idea these days. Was it ever?

The theme is picked up later, when they discuss "The Show-off".

Like the egotist, the man who shows off discloses that he has never properly grown up. He has never managed, no matter what his age, to get both feet on the ground and to see himself in his proper place among men and women. He is exactly like the child who enjoys dangling his lolly-pop in other children's faces! He is unduly competitive and boastful. Often he is suffering from a half-recognized sense of inferiority which he is trying to cover up by false appearance of superiority.

There's a vivid metaphorical illustration for warding off traffic accidents.

And an even more vivid illustration of how centrifugal force can work on a car, trading in illustration for either photo montage or a blend of photography and illustration.

And finally and perhaps most touchingly, near the end of the book comes a hand alteration of one of the illustrated figures. Was this done by a high-school student in 1936?

The illustrations are by "Mrs Iris B. Johnson", perhaps the Iris Beatty Johnson who illustrated the Ginnie and Geneva books.