“Four be the things I’d have been better without: love, curiosity, freckles and doubt.”

Pic from cupcakeblog.com

When a bird is embarking on the last remaining week in which she will ever be able to say truthfully that she is in her 20s, her mood trends toward something other than sunshine, cupcakes and gardenias.* So it was with delight that I opened a birthday present a dear chum surprised me with the other day: The Portable Dorothy Parker, a collection of short stories written by the woman for whose writing ability we would both sell an ovary. When one is in a contemplative and sardonic mood there is no better companion than America’s sharpest writer and the absence of this volume has been notable on the Parker shelf of my library.  

It’s occurred to me over the last few days that Parker need not amuse me only on the run-up to my birthday. She can also add even more sparkle to my big day. How? Well every bridal magazine and web site is insistent that I should be inscribing poignant quotes or poetry on everything wedding-related I put in the mail for the next year. So I’m thinking Mrs. Parker will be perfect. Perhaps:

By the time you swear you’re his,
shivering and sighing
and he vows his passion is
infinite, undying —
Lady, make a note of this:
One of you is lying.

Or perhaps, her “Day Dreams”:

We’d build a little bungalow
If you and I were one,
And carefully we’d plan it so
We’d get the morning sun.
I’d rise each morn at rosy dawn
And bustle gaily down;
In evening’s cool, you’d spray the lawn
When you came back from town.
A little cook-book I should buy,
Your dishes I’d prepare,
And though they came out black and dry,
I know you wouldn’t care.
How valiantly I’d strive to learn,
Assured you’d not complain!
And if my finger I should burn,
You’d kiss away the pain.
I’d buy a little scrubbing-brush
And beautify the floors;
I’d warble gaily as a thrush
About my little chores.
But though I’d cook and sew and scrub,
A higher life I’d find:
I’d join a little women’s club
And cultivate my mind.
If you and I were one, my dear,
A higher life we’d lead;
We’d travel on, from year to year,
At no increase of speed.
Ah, clear to me the vision of
The things that we should do!
And so I think it best, my love,
To string along as two.

Oh, of course I’m not serious. Just being feisty. It’s a privilege of age, my grandmother used to say. My fiancé is counting on my crankiness from having turned 29ish long subsiding by the day of the wedding. In fact I believe that as we’re standing before the altar he’s specifically counting on another Parker assessment: “That woman speaks eight languages and can’t say no in any of them.”

 *My favorite inanimate objects. Besides bourbon, of course.

8 Responses to ““Four be the things I’d have been better without: love, curiosity, freckles and doubt.””

  1. Arjewtino Says:

    My favorite from that collection is Resume.

  2. etcetera Says:

    i’m surprised it doesn’t say something about the little french maid’s costume she’ll be wearing as she scrubs and cleans. which reminds me, you’re being fitted for yours before the wedding, right?

  3. Bridal Bird Says:

    For those unfamiliar with it, and to brighten up your Thursday, here’s Resume, which Arjewtino referenced:

    Razors pain you;
    Rivers are damp;
    Acids stain you;
    And drugs cause cramp;
    Guns aren’t lawful;
    Nooses give;
    Gas smells awful;
    You might as well live.

    Etc.-Any self-respecting lady of the house knows that the French maid outfit belongs on only one person: the French maid.

  4. Johanna Says:

    Awww…love me some Dorothy Parker cynicism!

    I think you and Scott should totes read to each other – and later, to your children – the uplifting short story “Pretty Little Picture” every Christmas eve instead of that stupid “I awoke to such a clatter” bullsh*t.

    Nothing says “let’s celebrate the birth of the baby Jesus!” like a perfectly written reminder of just how mindnumbingly monotonous your life is and will continue to be.

    All in jest, of course. Totally. 100%.

  5. Bridal Bird Says:

    But not.

    No, we’ll be reading them the year-end Oxfam international child poverty rate report before tucking them snug in their beds with visions of birthright entitlements dancing in their heads.

  6. sockrocker Says:

    I don’t know that Gardenias are actually inanimate. We don’t give flowers enough credit these days. Love the blog.

  7. Bridal Bird Says:

    I think “We don’t give flowers enough credit these days,” is my favorite comment thus far. 😉

  8. Johanna Says:

    Both ovaries, babe. I’d give *both* ovaries.

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