my friend dorothy parker

I want to post on my blog more, but I’ve been reading so much (and finding places to sell my greeting cards).

Tonight, I’ll post about The Collected Dorothy Parker, which I have been reading these last few winter months. Parker was an American author who wrote in 1920/30s New York. We would have had good conversations and been friends. She went home excited to read an etiquette book in the evenings. I did this not too long ago.

The book is worth all of its 603 pages, which you may think a bold claim, but I’m on page 514 and in the section where she reviews books. Not only did she read up on etiquette, but she also read an entire book on appendicitis. (Next time I see an old medical book in a charity shop…).

One of my favourite quotes from today’s reading is a helpful thought for valentine’s day (directly after my birthday, I look forward to valentine’s today simply because it’s the next holiday and I can make heart-shaped cookies). She writes,

“Only once did I sit up sharply, and dash sleep from my lids. That was at the section having to do with the love-life of poisonous bacteria. That, says the author, ‘is very simple and consists merely of the bacterium dividing into two equal parts.’ Think of it–no quarrels, no lies, no importunate telegrams, no unanswered letters. Just peace and sunshine and quiet evenings around the lamp. Probably bacteria sleep like logs. Why shouldn’t they? What is Spring to them?

“And, at the end of twenty-four hours, the happy couple–or the happy halves, if you’d rather–will have 16,772,216 children to comfort them in their old age. Who would not be proud to have 16,772,216 little heads clustered about his knee, who would not be soothed and safe to think of the young people carrying on the business after the old folks have passed on? I wish, I wish I were a poisonous bacterium. Yes, and I know right now where I’d go to bring up my family, too. I’ve got that all picked out. What a time I’d show him!”

She also writes as a final note: “It is true that I never did find out whether I really had appendicitis–which is why I ever started the book, anyway [. . . ] but Appendicitis gave me a few blessed hours of forgetfulness, and for that I am almost cringingly grateful to Thew Wright, A.B., M.D., F.A.C.S., and all-around good fellow.”

Me too. Me too.