Monday, March 28, 2011

Dorothy Parker: Oh Dear

During my university days, I saw a lot of drunken asses, from the guy who got tight and ended up naked and tied to the anchor in front of the neighboring fraternity to the guy who got tighter still and ended up talking animatedly to a small pair of pumpkins that ne brought home from the grocery store.

So to read Dorothy Parker’s “You Were perfectly Fine,” in which a drunken soul evidently confesses his undying love for a woman long pining for him held no surprises, not even his bottled chagrin at the end, when he realizes what he’s in for:

“And we’re going to be so happy,” she said. “Oh, I just want to tell everybody! But I don’t know – I think maybe it would be sweeter to keep it all to ourselves.”

“I think it would be,” he said.

“Isn’t it lovely?” she said.

“Yes,’ he said. “Great.”

“Lovely!” she said.

Of course, to cure what ails him, he asks for another drink, fitting in with what Homer Simpson says about beer:

Not that I’m advocating beer, or alcohol, given, during my university days, I also saw (and smelled) enough alcohol puke to firmly cement in my mind the idea that imbibing is not for me.

But enough about beer. How about Dorothy Parker? Wit, bon vivant, hater of all things Calvin Coolidge. In reading quite a bit of her stuff, I get the feeling that today she’s be a fairly successful Internet troll. A droll one, to be sure, but still out there doing what trolls do best.

Obviously, a writer one has to read more of to appreciate. And, I hope, this isn’t her funniest. Because if it is, well, that anchor’s looking pretty good.

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