Friday, June 4, 2010

The Tale of Willy The Masher

Niacinamide, said my doctor, fresh back from the Bio-Balance  conference in Sydney. It stops the brain churning.
You mean obsessing? I asked.
Yes. He smiled.
It was a lightbulb moment.

I found this postcard in the Tallangatta Op Shop yesterday.  I was intially attracted to the boating theme - everything's been coming up nautical lately - but the written message on the back of the card has really captured me.  It launches off in a big bold excited hand and shrinks as the author runs out of space, and possibly confidence, and it goes like this:

Dear. Willie.
I am sending You this P.C. to know how you are getting on as it is a longtime since I saw. you.  I was sorry when I did not see You at the Katamatite Dance the other. night.  I am sending you this to know. if. you will meet me at the Boosey School corner. tomorrow Sunday.  I remain your true love. Guess the name. Guess my name if you can.

The front of the picture has been customised - a swirl over the Y and the title scratched out.
Y is a Yachtsman, you'll see him at Dover becomes Willie The. Masher. You'll. see. him. at. Boosey.

We'll never know if the rendezvous took place, but an analysis of the postcard as a persuasive document reveals a few fatal mistakes.  It also makes me (laughingly) remember all the poetic but slightly disturbing letters and small gifts I used to send to crushes: dessicated orange peel to a polish musician; boxes of maple leaves to a film maker;  customised fridge magnets to the love of my life. Offerings like that have got me where I am today.

I'm older, wiser and single now. If I could give tips to a fellow fancier, I'd suggest the following:

  1. Keep it neat - scribbling, spiraling, scratching, shrinking and swelling are spooky.
  2. However fondly you mean it, don't insult your hearts desire - back in the day, a "masher" was someone thought to be effete, work shy, idle, and faux-aristocratic. Labeling rarely leads to love. In my unfortunate experience, it leads to bar brawls.
  3. Don't try to hide your name, your age or your gender.  It's all obvious really. Isn't it.
  4. If he wasn't at the dance and you were at the dance, and he knew you were at the dance, odds are he didn't want to see you.
  5. Watch the punctuation.  All those full stops protest a certainty and undercut it at the same time. Too many exclamation marks invoke a sense of panic in any reader!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

The postcard has no stamp, no address and no postmark. Maybe it was hand delivered.  I secretly hope it was scrawled and never sent and that the author, spruced up and gorgeous, just happened to be at the same social occasion as Willy The Masher, and that Willy The Masher stopped mashing for a bit and asked the author to dance.

Me? I'm off on another track, thanks to that fibre optic internet connection. The mention of Boosey School could date the postcard sometime between 1887 and 1918. Unless the school was closed, and derelict, and our author was planning a private rendezvous in a quiet spot.  Oh dear.

1 comment:

  1. 'masher' was also someone who was a bit lecherous- trying to get a
    kiss from the girls.....
    so perhaps he liked to kiss and run.....
    perhaps its. in. code.....