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Unsolved mysteries

Monday, April 12, 2010

I love finding these little ads that make no sense because I know that there was someone who did know what the hell the author was talking about.  To quote a contemporary writer's thoughts on the matter: "somewhere lives and breathes the mysterious being who holds the key of this thrilling secret, whose pulse beats quickly, whose heart flutters, or whose cheek burns or blanches at the sight of these ridiculous symbols."  Word.  My sentiments exactly.

My Flower - Surmising and scolding! Submit to all, brave heart.  Who holds you purest and who has sweetened some hours in your life? Silent Sentinel.

It's not that I can't figure out the jist of an ad like this; but what it means exactly I can't imagine.  "Flower" has been making some wrong assumptions about the "Silent Sentinel" and is angry with him as a result.  Or, "Flower" is being scolded because other people are making assumptions about her (I've decided "my flower" is not the way you'd address a man so have determined their respective genders to make my pronouns easier).  Maybe Flower is being attacked because of her relationship with Sentinel?  So he tells her to be brave and just take it on the chin?  And then of course reminds her that he's the one who loves her best and has made her happy.  I wonder if all the alliteration with the letter "s" is deliberate or not?

104 - You are awful handsome; you are worth millions.  Fish Store, Herald office.

Yeah, on this one I've got nothing.  Really nothing.  It sounds either vaguely threatening or flirtatious and I honestly don't know which is right - if either.  First of all, being worth "millions" at the time this ad was written was really rare.  It'd probably bring down the pool of candidates to, like, fifty people.  (Okay, I'm not sure, but if you limit it to New Yorkers that's a reasonable guess.)  So I'm going to guess that this is an exaggeration and "104" is not actually worth millions.  Unless 104 is a place - like a business - and not a person.  Although if a business, I doubt it's a fish store, which, huh?  Fish store?  What does that mean?  Why would you ever tell anyone to address a letter to "Fish Store, Herald office"?  That's soooo weird!  Maybe...it's millions of fish?  But where does the handsome come in?  People, I'm confused.  I'm wracking my brain trying to come up with some reasonable explanation for this, and think I'll have to admit defeat.  Just another one of those ads I'll never understand!

Having trouble reading the ads? Click one to enlarge!

©2010 Pam Epstein

2 comments:

Bea April 16, 2010 at 3:08 PM  

The worth millions bit makes me think not money, but rather he's one in a million. That sort of thing? I don't really have any sort of explanation other then that.

Pam April 16, 2010 at 4:43 PM  

Oh - I didn't even think of that! I wonder if "one in a million" was around yet (1870s). But if so, that actually makes a lot of sense.

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