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.
Mrs. Jordan’s first grade students were in the school library, browsing through picture books, when little Emily suddenly said, “Hey, look at this! It’s a frickin’ elephant!”
Mrs. Jordan was shocked. “What did you say?” she asked.
“I said it’s a frickin’ elephant,” Emily replied. “It says so right here on the picture.”
Mrs. Jordan took the book and looked at it, and sure enough, the child was right:
A zoo was getting a new wildebeest, but the animal arrived a few days earlier than expected, before its cage was ready. The crew that was supposed to lay the floor tiles was due to arrive the following day, but for the moment, all the tiles were stacked in a corner of the cage.
There was no place else to put the wildebeest, so into the cage it went. The zookeeper gave it some food and fresh water, locked the cage, and left for the night.
When he returned the next morning to see how the wildebeest was doing, the zookeeper was astonished to see that all the floor tiles had been neatly laid. The cage was still locked, and the zookeeper had the only key. He called the veterinarian and told him what had happened. The veterinarian came and examined the animal, and finding it to be perfectly healthy, concluded that it was just a typical gnu, and tiler, too.