Bachelor advice, ca. 1923

November 27, 2006 | By | 2 Replies More

While going through some family memorabilia that I inherited, I discovered an address book that my grandfather had dated 1923.  In it, he had typed several creative compositions, which I suppose he had read someplace and wanted to preserve for future reference.  They are reproduced below, to provide a glimpse of American bachelorhood from 80 years ago.

Don’t use big words.

In promulgating your esoteric cogitations, or in articulating superficial sentimentalities and philosophical or psychological observations, beware of platitudinous ponderosity.  Let your conversation possess a clarified conciseness, compact comprehensiveness, coalescent consistency, and a concatenated cogency.  Eschew all conglomerations of flatulent garrulity, jejune babblement and asinine affectations.  Let your extemporaneous descantings and unpremeditated expatiations have intelligibilty and veracious vivacity without rhodomontade or thrasonical bombast.  Sedulously avoid all polysyllable profundity, pompous prolixity, psittaceous vacuity, ventriloquial verbosity, and vaniloquent rapidity.  Shun double-entendres, prurient jocosity, and pestiferous profanity, obscurant and apparent.  In other words, talk plainly, naturally, sensibly, truthfully and purely.

A Midnight Game

The football game was over,
  And before the parlor grate,
A maiden and a man
  Were lingering rather late.

They talked of punts and passes,
  Things which are rather tame,
Til cupid put his nose guard on
  And butted in the game.

He lined that couple up;
  Then made them toe the mark,
And soon had them going,
  With a scrimmage in the dark.

As they sat there silent,
  In this new formed bliss;
The man thought that the scrimmage
  Ought to end up with a kiss.

Thereupon he tried one,
  An amateur affair,
But he lost it on a fumble
  And instead it hit the air.

The next he landed on her ear
  And then the maid did shyly say,
“You’re penalized for holding and
  Likewise for off-side play.”

Fiercely he tried another;
  This time succeeding fine,
For he made a bully touchdown,
  On that warm red two yard line.

As they sat there in the silence,
  Communing soul to soul,
The parlor door swung open
  And father kicked for goal.

A Bachelor’s Prayer

“Backward, turn backward, O
  Time in your flight!
Give us a maiden with skirts not
  So tight;
Give us a girl whose charms,
  many or few,
And not so exposed by much peek-
“Give us a maiden, no matter
  what age
Who won’t use the street for a
  vaudeville stage;
Give us a girl not so sharply
  in view;
Dress her in skirts that the sun
  won’t shine through.
“Then give us the dances of
  days long gone by,
With plenty of clothes and
  steps not so high;
Oust the turkey-trot capers and
  buttermilk glides,
The hurdy-gurdy twist and the
  wiggle tail slide.
“Then let us feast our tired
  optics once more
On a genuine woman as sweet as
  of yore;
Yes, time, please turn backward
  and grant our request,
For God’s richest blessing
  –but not one undressed.”



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About the Author ()

Grumpypilgrim is a writer and management consultant living in Madison, WI. He has several scientific degrees, including a recent master’s degree from MIT. He has also held several professional career positions, none of which has been in a field in which he ever took a university course. Grumps is an avid cyclist and, for many years now, has traveled more annual miles by bicycle than by car…and he wishes more people (for the health of both themselves and our planet) would do the same. Grumps is an enthusiastic advocate of life-long learning, healthy living and political awareness. He is single, and provides a loving home for abused and abandoned bicycles. Grumpy’s email: grumpypilgrim(AT)@gmail(DOT).com [Erich’s note: Grumpy asked that his email be encrypted this way to deter spam. If you want to write to him, drop out the parentheticals in the above address].

Comments (2)

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  1. Dan says:

    That first passage cheered me greatly, since I consider my vocabulary reasonably expansive, and there were many words I had never before read. Hashing the pronunciations out in my head brought me joy.

  2. hogiemo says:

    For more vocabulary try Googling "Shakespearean curses" or be thou voluntarily carried away from grace, thou rank, fat-kidneyed varlot!

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