Wednesday, January 10, 2007

"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.

Beknownst 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 behaviour 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 heads and 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 no 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. "

The New Yorker (July 25, 1994)

Jack Winter sleeps

A wonderful and enigmatic personality has left us. The NY Times obit for comedy writer, world traveler, playwright and frog collector Jack Winter spells it out.

Monday, January 08, 2007

a visit to Papermania

This Saturday, Samantha and I made the three hour drive from Maine to Hartford, CT to attend the giant ephemera fair called Papermania. We got there a bit after opening, but spent the entire day browsing through booths piled high with unusual items: books, prints, photographs, advertising art and postcards. In the end, we bought two big bags of items, and could have spent even more time there. There were lots of friends and colleagues both exhibiting and in attendance as purchasers, and it was a pleasure to meet some dealers we haven't previously seen on the book fair circuit. I have to say, though, that also there were some of the strangest dealers I have yet to meet. First there were the three (count 'em) dealers who had no business cards or other info about their businesses and were unwilling to give out info otherwise. Then there was the dealer with an original drawing by an interesting artist, who had no price. Was it his item? "Yes." Is it for sale? "Yes." What's the price? "I don't know." This pattern was repeated later in the show with a dealer who had a notice about an important and expensive book taped up in his booth. Is it for sale? "Yes." How much? "I don't know." Are you intending to sell it? "Yes, but I need to find a rich man to buy it." We'll you're not going to find him this way. Finalyl there was the dealer gone AWOL. I myself am guilty of leaving my booth to browse a fair or seek some sustenance, but I found myself in a booth, books in hand, ready to buy. The dealer was missing - fine. I checked with the neighbors and was told that they had gone to a basketball game(?). I returned an hour and two hours later and found an empty booth. My selection of books remained on the folding chair, with my business card tucked inside. No dealer (and no call on the phone by today). Is there any wonder that booksellers are going out of business? Of course, these situations were frustrating, but still unusual examples of my interactions with the dealers at Papermania. And I'll be back there again next show.