Reading: Résumé by Dorothy Parker

Dorothy Parker (1893-1967) has lead a tempestuous life with several marriages, some suicides attempt and employment by Vanity Fair. One of her collections is called ‘enough rope’ and I can’t supress a sinister feeling. However, she stayed alive and became a productive screenwriter and poet. I sample a very short piece here, because short verse sometimes captures an author best:


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.

There is not much to comment here. Rhythm and rhyme work perfectly and the conclusion smacks of the sort of cynicism we like best, having gone full circle. Yeah, you might as well live. It is the Schopenhauerian attitude to suicide, who was critical of the contradictory active stance to one’s demise. He preferred the eastern wisdom of Nirvana, of the overcoming of the will. Mrs. Parker was to my knowledge not a buddhist but a socialist, who bequeathed her literary estate to dr. Martin Luther King, jr. who died a little later than she did. But perhaps a certain lax and melancholic attitude to life, that ‘you might as well live’ is what befits the spirit of socialism better than wild, consuming ideology?

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