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Speaking in code

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Felt wide awake despite the hour, so figured, hey, why not blog?

Once again I find several fascinating ads all on one day.  None of these makes sense, but I guess none of them are particularly far out.  And unfortunately a few of them aren't entirely legible.  But man are they weird!





In vain is an unequal contest.  Sentiment is the characteristic of the gentler sex, generosity that of the other.  Beauty and wit are only adornments.  Truth is patient.  Alma.  113 Herald Uptown.
A wild idea. - Kindly defer contemplated [?] within O.M., until further notice; the very thought causes "bones to rattle."  Aunt Jack.
Darling M.O. - Two letters have miscarried lately, mailed from F.A.B.: the lane is endless, says I: all send true devotion to [?].

Wow.  These are strange.  But hold! I saw the name "Alma" and though, dude, that is familiar.  So I looked and, indeed, found this ad, which I blogged about last year (can we all be impressed by my awesome, awesome memory?).  Now foolishly I don't have that ad marked anywhere so I can't remember the date, but you (or I, having studied these ads for way too long) can tell from the typeface that these ads dated from about the same time period. They do have different addresses, but they're both sending people to the Herald Uptown (another indicator of when the ads were printed), and it's possible that each time you printed an ad you were given a number arbitrarily by the paper.  So I think there's at least a chance they were the same Alma.  But it could be coincidence.

Okay, whatevs, whether or not it's the same Alma is irrelevant to how interesting this one is.  Alma and his correspondent are in disagreement about something, and are each saying they are right.  Alma is finally pointing out that they are never going to agree on whatever this thing is because Alma is a man and the person he's addressing is a woman.  Thus the "unequal contest."  I get the impression that the "contest" is over something to do with romance, and he's like, fine, women are better at being emotionally available, but men are more generous, and in the end we're better because beauty and wit are just on the surface, while truth (which is what he thinks he represents) is always, well, true.  I think I may have just confused myself.  Any thoughts on what this so-called contest is?  This is the one thing that makes me wonder if it's the same Alma, because the tone of these two ads is so different.  So I'm back to square one.

The second ad, I'm not sure if the letter I put in brackets is really a letter or just a smudge.  You can kind of make sense of the ad without anything between "contemplated" and "within" by just assuming an "action" of some sort.  So, the wild idea is this action, "Aunt Jack" (interesting name, genderwise) is saying, no, you idiot, don't do it, it's extremely stupid and just the thought gives me the jitters.

And the third ad, another word I can't make out.  From a distance it looks like "music" but when I enlarged the image, that's definitely not what it is, and it makes no sense at all anyway.  In this one the first half is clear, but the second half is a bit more cryptic.  "The lane is endless," obvious enough; someone's trying to accomplish something but it's either impossible or going to take forever.  But why "says I"?  Odd way of phrasing that.  And "all send true devotion to..."?  Who is "all"?  I'm thinking revolutionary leader in exile, his followers are trying to bring him to America, but it's going to be really, really difficult with miles of red tape?  If only I could make out that last word!  Anyone?

1:34am!  I think I will try for sleep again.


©2010 Pam Epstein

5 comments:

Anonymous August 12, 2010 at 4:29 AM  

Last word is "uncle".

Pam August 12, 2010 at 8:23 AM  

Ah - you are so right!

Peter August 20, 2010 at 5:27 PM  

Seconding the first comment-- pretty sure that says "uncle."

Peter August 20, 2010 at 5:27 PM  

Haha, didn't read the second comment... Whoops.

Anonymous August 24, 2010 at 7:22 AM  

hehe.. yah.. its uncle... ^_^

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