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The Magpie Sings the Great Depression:
Selections from DeWitt Clinton High School's Literary Magazine, 1929-1942

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Wolf

By Stanley Mermelstein, '39
The Magpie, June 1938, v. 22, n. 2., p. 24.

Wolf—as a noun, a carnivorous wild animal; a fierce, greedy person; as a verb, colloquially, to bolt food. Still more colloquially, a plain-looking young man, who habitates the city parks and "swing parties." His dull winter coat is readily dropped at the first sign of spring for a riot of color. An apple-green Alpine hat, set well down on his skull, extends its brim far out over his ears. Balanced perilously on his Adam's apple is a thin, purple string, imagined by many to be a bow tie. A grey, checked jacket insufficiently covers his inner "skin," that varies from a pale burgundy to a sunset orange, offset by a white collar. His lower hind legs are encased in midnight-blue trousers whose cuffs either clutch the ankles or are rolled up to dazzle the eye with rainbow-striped socks. His foot pads are atrocities—crepe-soled suede shoes, adorned with multi-colored laces. He is on the hunt most of the year and will always stop any task he may be employed in at the moment to follow with intensified gaze a size fourteen as she flashes by.

Wolf—a young male of the genus home sapiens: of two types. When operating without company, he is known as the Lone Wolf; when in a pack, as the Sharpie. However, this is but an introduction, and since I don't intend to be a lexicographer I'll discontinue this discussion to introduce you to the modus operandi of the LONE WOLF, the more interesting type. He is attractive to the damsels, is a good dresser, and a better dancer. He employs his individual technique mostly at parties where we now find him. It is only natural that he make a dramatic entrance so the time chosen is usually when those present are not well acquainted. In he struts, is introduced by the host or the hostess; in this case by the latter. He is the first to suggest to a girl that they dance. In this way, he can establish his versatility in the art of Terpsichore while the others watch. Once this desired effect is obtained, he withdraws to a corner where he watches the others. However, he makes sure the refreshments are close at hand. Now begins the real work. He seeks out a likely-looking prospect and, on catching her eye, gazes intently at her causing her much discomfort, albeit a pleasing one. This procedure goes on most of the evening with the Wolf's asking many of the girls to dance, but always excepting her. She is hurt. He seemed to like her at first, she thinks, but is purposely avoiding her, and for no evident reason. Since her evening is spoiled, she asks her escort to take her home. Up steps our hero and asks her to dance. Outwardly she is calm; inwardly, excited. They have one dance and compliment each other on their respective agility in the art. After a second and third, she must leave, for now it is a matter of pride since earlier she had informed all that she was leaving. Donning their hats and coats, she and her escort, accompanied by the hostess and the Lone Wolf, make for the door, where, much to the irritation of the silent boy-friend, he asks for her phone number. Acquiring this easily, he also asks if he'll see her again. She hesitates with a glance at the hostess who suddenly awakes to the situation and invites her to pay a visit the following week. The Lone Wolf has reached the end of the trail; from there on the conquest is easy.




The Magpie Sings the Great Depression

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