Today in 1893, Dorothy Parker was born.
Those who knew her say nobody had a sharper wit – and we have the one-liners to prove it.
And one of those lines showed why her wit worked so well: quote “Wit has truth in it; wise-cracking is simply calisthenics with words.”
It’s sometimes hard to tell fact from legend with Parker’s life.
There was a profile about her once that was titled “Whatever You Think Dorothy Parker Was, She Wasn’t.”
She described herself as a “plain disagreeable child with stringy hair and a yen to write poetry.”
Parker would write plenty of poems, as well as memorable columns and reviews for some big name magazines: Vogue, Vanity Fair, the New Yorker.
Editors recognized her talent right away, but Parker also got in trouble for writing what her bosses thought was the wrong thing about the wrong people, like advertisers, clients or close friends of the publishers.
(Parker was also what you might call deadline-averse; she once famously said “I hate writing, I love having written.”)
Whether or not the editors liked what she wrote, they couldn’t say they hadn’t written it just right.
Once she dismissed a performance in a movie by saying the actor “ran the gamut of emotions from A to B.”
When informed of the death of former president Calvin Coolidge, who had been known as Silent Cal, Parker supposedly asked, “How can they tell?”
But Parker was more than a quote machine.
In addition to her acclaimed poems and short stories, she worked on a number of screenplays, including the original version of “A Star Is Born.”
And she was a dedicated civil rights activist, who left her entire estate to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
Though when she did, she also made sure her wit would continue on to this day.
One of the lines Dorothy Parker suggested for where her ashes would be laid to rest (and the one that would end up at her final resting place): “Excuse my dust.”
For years avid recyclers have loathed styrofoam cause it’s so hard to do anything with the stuff other than throw it out.
A design studio in Tokyo may have a solution: they’re taking waste styrofoam and turning it into stools, benches, tables and more.
10 Things You Might Not Know About Dorothy Parker (Mental Floss)
Photo via Wikicommons