A tale of requited love

September 8, 2021

This story originally appeared in The New Yorker on July 25, 1994.

How I Met My Wife
by Jack Winter

It had been a rough day, so when I walked into the party I was very chalant, despite my efforts to appear gruntled and consolate.

I was furling my wieldy umbrella for the coat check when I saw her standing alone in a corner. She was a descript person, a woman in a state of total array. Her hair was kempt, her clothing shevelled, and she moved in a gainly way.

I wanted desperately to meet her, but I knew I’d have to make bones about it, since I was travelling cognito. Beknowst to me, the hostess, whom I could see both hide and hair of, was very proper, so it would be skin off my nose if anything bad happened. And even though I had only swerving loyalty to her, my manners couldn’t be peccable. Only toward and heard-of behavior would do.

Fortunately, the embarrassment that my maculate appearance might cause was evitable. There were two ways about it, but the chances that someone as flappable as I would be ept enough to become persona grata or a sung hero were slim. I was, after all, something to sneeze at, someone you could easily hold a candle to, someone who usually aroused bridled passion. So I decided not to risk it. But then, all at once, for some apparent reason, she looked in my direction and smiled in a way that I could make head or tails of.

I was plussed. It was concerting to see that she was communicado, and it nerved me that she was interested in a pareil like me, sight seen. Normally, I had a domitable spirit, but, being corrigible, I felt capacitated—as if this were something I was great shakes at—and forgot that I had succeeded in situations like this only a told number of times. So, after a terminable delay, I acted with mitigated gall and made my way through the ruly crowd with strong givings.

Nevertheless, since this was all new hat to me and I had not time to prepare a promptu speech, I was petuous. Wanting to make only called-for remarks, I started talking about the hors d’oeuvres, trying to abuse her of the notion that I was sipid, and perhaps even bunk a few myths about myself.

She responded well, and I was mayed that she considered me a savoury character who was up to some good. She told me who she was. “What a perfect nomer,” I said, advertently. The conversation became more and more choate, and we spoke at length to much avail. But I was defatigable, so I had to leave at a godly hour. I asked if she wanted to come with me. To my delight, she was committal. We left the party together and have been together ever since. I have given her my love, and she has requited it.


Friday chuckles — Mars & Venus edition

September 3, 2021


Flower power

July 29, 2021

A man burst into a flower shop and said, “Quick! I need two potted geraniums!”

“I’m very sorry, sir,” said the florist. “We’re all out of geraniums. How about some lovely African violets?”

“No,” said the customer. “It was geraniums my wife told me to water while she was away.”

 


Advice for married men

July 22, 2021

by guest columnist Hal Hickenlooper

It’s important for men to remember that as women age, it becomes harder for them to maintain the same standards of housekeeping as when they were younger. But when you notice this happening with your wife, try not to yell at her. Some women are oversensitive, and God knows there’s nothing worse than an oversensitive woman.

Let me tell you how I handled this situation with my wife, Peggy. When I retired about a year ago, it became necessary for Peggy to get a full-time job to bring in some extra income and for the medical insurance her employer provides. Shortly after she started working, I noticed her age was beginning to show. Here’s an example: I usually get home from the golf course about the same time she gets home from work, and even though she knows how hungry I am, she almost always says she has to rest for half an hour before she starts supper. But I don’t yell at her. Instead, I tell her to take her time and just wake me up as soon as she has supper on the table.

Here’s another example: Peggy used to clear the table and wash the dishes as soon as we’d finished eating, but nowadays it’s not unusual for the dishes to sit on the table for an hour or two. I do what I can to help by diplomatically reminding her that the dishes aren’t going to wash themselves. I know she appreciates this, and it does seem to motivate her to get them cleaned up and put away before she goes to bed.

Another thing that happens as women age is that they complain a lot more. For instance, Peggy complains that it’s hard for her to find time to pay all the monthly bills during her lunch hour. But boys, we take ’em for better or worse, so I just smile patiently and offer encouragement. I tell her to stretch it out over two or three days, so she won’t have to rush so much. I also remind her that missing lunch every now and then wouldn’t hurt her any, if you know what I mean. I like to think tact is one of my strong points.

Aging also affects women’s stamina. When doing even simple jobs, Peggy seems to think she needs breaks. Recently, for instance, she said she needed a break when she was only half finished mowing the lawn. But I didn’t make a scene. I just told her to make herself a nice big glass of lemonade and sit down for a few minutes, and as long as she was making one for herself, she might as well make one for me too.

I know that I probably seem like a saint for the way I support Peggy. I’m not saying that showing this much consideration is easy. Nobody knows better than I do how frustrating women can be as they get older. But if you use just a little more tact and a little less anger when dealing with your wife as a result of reading this article, then I will consider the time it took me to write it well spent. After all, we’re put on this earth to help each other.

(EDITOR’S NOTE: Unfortunately, Hal died shortly after completing this article. The coroner’s report listed the cause of death as a perforated rectum. According to police testimony, he was found with a Callaway Big Bertha II Driver jammed up his rear end. His wife Peggy was charged with homicide. The all-female jury took fifteen minutes to arrive at a verdict of not guilty, accepting Peggy’s defense that her husband accidentally sat down on his golf club.)


Baroness Schraeder regrets to inform you that her wedding to Captain Von Trapp has been cancelled

July 15, 2021

By Melinda Taub.

Dear friends, family, and Austrian nobility,

Captain Von Trapp and I are very sorry to inform you that we no longer plan to wed. We offer our deepest apologies to those of you who have already made plans to travel to Salzburg this summer.

Those of you on the Captain’s side of the guest list are probably aware of the reason for the change of plans. I’m sure by now you have received that charming “Save the date!” card in the shape of a mountain goat from the Captain and his new fiancée, Maria.

I must confess to being rather blindsided by the end of our relationship. It seems Captain Von Trapp and I misunderstood each other. I assumed he was looking for a wife of taste and sophistication, who was a dead ringer for Tippi Hedren; instead he wanted to marry a curtain-wearing religious fanatic who shouts every word she says.

But I don’t want you to be angry at him. We are all adults here. “But Baroness,” so many of my friends have said, “you must be devastated. You yourself are fabulously wealthy, so you cannot have wanted the Captain for his money—you must have truly loved him.” It’s true. But so, I am sure, does his new fiancée, his children’s nanny. Her wardrobe is made of curtains. She’s definitely not a gold digger or anything.

I’m sorry. That was crude of me. She seems like a lovely person, and she and the children have a great deal in common.

A great, great, great deal.

Since I will no longer be a part of their lives, I do hope you will all keep an eye on the Captain’s children. I am not terribly maternal but I was very fond of them in my own way and I must admit I am worried what will become of them now that I have gone. I had planned to send them to boarding school, since their education at the moment seems to consist mostly of marching around Salzburg singing scales. I think it would have been particularly helpful for the eldest daughter, who seems intent on losing her virginity to the mailman.

Please, friends, don’t worry about me. While I was a bit startled to be thrown aside for someone who flunked out of nun school, I assure you that I will be fine, and my main pursuits in life shall continue to be martinis, bon mots, and looking fabulous. You’ll also be glad to know I have retained custody of the Captain’s hard-drinking gay friend, Max. Anyone who gets tired of sing-alongs should feel free to look us up.

Again, my deepest apologies for this disruption to your plans. I am currently sorting through the wedding gifts we’ve already received and I will send them back as soon as possible. The Captain would help, but he is busy learning to play a song about cuckoo clocks on his guitar.

Sincerely,
Baroness Elsa Schraeder


Advertisements from long, long ago — Marriage Savers™ edition

May 28, 2021


Let the memory live again

February 25, 2021

Stan and Lois, both in their eighties, were becoming more and more forgetful. On the advice of their doctor, they began carrying small notebooks and pencils with them so they could write down things they wanted to remember.

One evening while they were watching television, Stan got up from his chair.

Lois said, “Where are you going?”

Stan said, “To the kitchen for a glass of water.”

Lois said, “While you’re there, will you get me a bowl of ice cream?”

Stan said, “Sure.”

Lois said, “You’d better write it down so you won’t forget.”

Stan said, “I don’t need to write it down. You want a bowl of ice cream. I can remember that.”

Lois said, “Can you put some strawberries on top?”

Stan said, “Sure, I can do that.”

Lois said, “You’d better write it down so you won’t forget.”

Stan said, “I don’t need to write it down! Ice cream and strawberries. I can remember that.”

Lois said, “I want some whipped cream on it too. You’d better write it down. You’ll forget if you don’t write it down.”

Stan said, “I don’t need to write it down! Ice cream with strawberries and whipped cream! How hard is that to remember?”

Stan shuffled off to the kitchen, grumbling all the way. He was gone for about twenty minutes, and when he returned, he handed Lois a plate of bacon and eggs.

Lois looked at the plate, then looked at Stan and said, “Where’s my toast?”

 

 


A rose by any other name

February 16, 2021

Walt showed up late for the card party at the senior center. He blamed it on his poor memory, which seemed to be growing worse with age.

“You know, I used to have that problem too,” said his friend Stan. “But then I went to a memory clinic, and they taught us some really great techniques, like visualization and association, and I haven’t had a problem since.”

“That sounds like just what I need,” said Walt. “What was the name of the clinic?”

Stan’s mind went blank. He thought and thought, and finally he said, “What do you call that flower with the long thorny stem?”

“You mean a rose?” said Walt.

“That’s it!” said Stan. Then he turned to his wife and said, “Hey Rose, what was the name of that memory clinic?”


Monday chuckles

August 24, 2020


Senior moments

June 22, 2020


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