Found this funny New Yorker piece from 1994 because the guys on NPR’s Car Talk mentioned it today (I love those guys).
English is an odd language if you’re not born or raised with it. This piece reminds me of Jerome K Jerome or, even, P G Wodehouse. And, perhaps, a touch of Mark Twain as well. The writer, Jack Winter, dropped many prefixes from words and used them in the opposite context of how they’re normally used. These are, mostly, the forgotten positives of commonly-used negative words.
You do need a subscription for digital access to their archives, but here are some great bits:
It had been a rough day, so when I walked into the party I was very chalant, despite my efforts to appear gruntled and consolate.
I was furling my wieldy umbrella for the coat check when I saw her standing alone in a corner.
She was a descript person, a woman in a state of total array. Her hair was kempt, her clothing shevelled, and she moved in a gainly way.
I wanted desperately to meet her, but I knew I’d have to make bones about it, since I was travelling cognito. Beknownst to me, the hostess, whom I could see both hide and hair of, was very proper, so it would be skin off my nose if anything bad happened. And even though I had only swerving loyalty to her, my manners couldn’t be peccable. Only toward and heard-of behavior would do.
Fortunately, the embarrassment that my maculate appearance might cause was evitable. There were two ways about it, but the chances that someone as flappable as I would be ept enough to become persona grata or sung hero were slim. I was, after all, something to sneeze at, someone you could easily hold a candle to, someone who usually aroused bridled passion.
So I decided not to rush it. But then, all at once, for some apparent reason, she looked in my direction and smiled in a way that I could make heads or tails of.
So, after a terminable delay, I acted with mitigated gall and made my way through the ruly crowd with strong givings.
Nevertheless, since this was all new hat to me and I had no time to prepare a promptu speech, I was petuous.
She responded well, and I was mayed that she considered me a savory character who was up to some good. She told me who she was. “What a perfect nomer,” I said, advertently. The conversation became more and more choate, and we spoke at length to much avail. But I was defatigable, so I had to leave at a godly hour. I asked if she wanted to come with me. To my delight, she was committal. We left the party together and have been together ever since. I have given her my love, and she has requited it.
Along the same lines, here’s a fun little poem:
A very Descript Man
by J H Parker
I am such a dolent man,
I eptly work each day;
My acts are all becilic,
I’ve just ane things to say.
My nerves are strung, my hair is kempt,
I’m gusting and I’m span:
I look with dain on everyone
And am a pudent man.
I travel cognito and make
A delible impression:
I overcome a slight chalance,
With gruntled self-possession.
My dignation would be great
If I should digent be:
I trust my vagance will bring
An astrous life for me.