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August 22 is Dorothy Parker Day! It’s a holiday that appears in M.A.C. Farrant’s new collection, The Days.
Let yourself be excited and delighted by Farrant’s artfully spare stories. Averaging a couple of paragraphs each, they offer enough food for thought (and mood) to keep you going for months. Dip in occasionally to be reminded of the strangeness of us, or read from beginning to end and immerse yourself in a slightly skewed version of reality – one in which people are frank and the world is unforgiving as it shimmers like light on water, sometimes blinding, always dazzling.
Today on Meta-Talon, we celebrate a new holiday – Dorothy Parker Day – with a short story from page 78 of The Days, our first book of the Fall 2016 season.
Dorothy Parker Day
On August 22 we honour Dorothy Parker for her corrosive wit. Born in Long Beach, New Jersey, on this day in 1893, she came to prominence as a writer, reviewer, and satirist while working for the New Yorker magazine during the twenties and thirties of the last century. “Those were the terrible days of the wisecrack,” she wrote. “There didn’t have to be any truth.”
There still doesn’t have to be any truth, which is why August 22 has been designated as the one day of the year we can say corrosive things and be free from public censure. Dorothy Parker was reputed to have said corrosive things every day of her life, including the fact that she loved dachshunds better than men.
“The first thing I do in the morning is brush my teeth and sharpen my tongue.”
“I require three things in a man: he must be handsome, ruthless, and stupid.”
“Beauty is only skin deep, but ugly goes clean to the bone.”
“Tell him I was too fucking busy – or vice versa.”
On Dorothy Parker Day we wear wool suits and little hats, smoke with cigarette holders, and have a liver-coloured dachshund on a lead. We wander about being bored and sullen and sad and nasty.
“If you can get through the twilight you can live through the night,” she said.
Come evening we toast her with whiskey sours, her favourite drink – bourbon, lemon juice, and sugar over ice. She was drunk most nights. When a reporter asked her if she was going to join Alcoholics Anonymous, she said, “Certainly not. They want me to stop now.”
She died of a heart attack on June 4, 1967, her preferred words for an epitaph being, Excuse My Dust. Her ashes remained unclaimed in a lawyer’s office for seventeen years.