Dorothy Parker (nastily, on writing and action)

I was writing a blog post, prompted by a prodding sense of injustice (and by

Check out the (apocryphal?) story of her being able to crack wise even with a bland word like "horticulture".

Check out the (apocryphal?) story of her being able to crack wise even with a bland word like “horticulture”.

the jabbing forefingers of two friends). It was about the ongoing imprisonment of seven Baha’is in Tehran jails for the most lunatic of perceived crimes. It felt good to do something, but I was plagued by a looming appreciation of the void between the high sincerity of my action and the narrow scope of my influence. I felt a little like the acid-penned lit-wit Dorothy Parker, who wrote this “Song of Perfect Propriety” as a roaring declaration of desire, followed immediately by a meek admission of the narrow confines of female possibility in her time. It’s funny, smart and more than a little laugh-so-you-don’t-cry. This was going to be my readers’ Hey, You Read the Whole Bloody Thing! reward for getting to the end of the piece on the Quietly Magnificent Seven, but it didn’t fit no matter which way I turned it.

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Lightning in My Living Room

This is a metaphor. Isn’t everything?

I was suspicious, right off the hop. My bride is a brightly inviting sort, so it’s not unusual for us to have a houseful. She mentioned that a young woman in our neighbourhood, someone whose good English has made her a go-to person when we can’t figure out how to pick up a parcel or find a decent loaf of bread, wanted to come over and visit. Hmm. Interesting, but we’ve never been exactly chummy before, and she didn’t say why she wanted to come.

“So Cindy wants to come over and won’t say why.”

“Yeah, and she wants to bring a friend, too.”

“Did you ask her? And she won’t tell you? And this doesn’t strike you as weird?”

I instantly smelled vacuum cleaner demonstration, but that’s a memory trace from a long-gone episode of injured pride and free-flowing anger. Chinese apartments are seldom carpeted. Gotta be selling something, though. I was sure of it. I got my back up a little, bluntly reserving my right to disappear into the bedroom at the first sign of a product demonstration. My wife inquired again, and the mystery remained, except that Cindy (an English name, and not her real one) would now have two friends with her. The secrecy irritated me, as did my bride’s apparent lack of curiosity. I even thought, What is this? A swinger’s club?

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