1.5

RECLAIMING THE NOBLE

I'm a big fan of New Yorker cartoons. There's usually at least one in every issue that provokes a wry smile or a wince of self–recognition. While I've never actually participated in the magazine's weekly caption competition, I occasionally gin up a prospective entry. Last week, the contest featured a drawing of a couple lounging in a living room. The husband (perhaps?) was perusing a newspaper on the sofa while his wife lounged in a nearby armchair. She was a mermaid—naked from the waist up, her large flipper tucked demurely beneath her. With her head angled toward her companion and her mouth open in mid–sentence, I imagined her to be saying: “After ten years, I think you could have learned to scuba dive,” or “Hiking ...

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