Monday, August 15, 2011

Happy Birthday to Me

By Dorothy Parker

Well, next week is my birthday. It’s always a stinging reminder to me that I’m not a native New Yorker. I was cheated out of that distinction because I had to go and get born while the family was spending summer vacation in New Jersey. But, honestly, we came back into town right after Labor Day, so I nearly made the grade.

As I was saying, the blessed day occurs next week. The 22nd of August to be precise. I shall be… Hold on! According to my figures, I’ll be 118! Yes, time flies—but surely that can’t be right. I must have carried the 1, or the multiplied the denominator, or squared the hypotenuse. (Frankly, I’ve never had much use for the hypotenuse. Pythagoras—why nag at us?)

Honestly, I’m 29, if I’m a day. Scout’s honor.

Now, I’m not one of those women (you know who they are) who takes special pains to let you know that she’s not going to celebrate her birthday. “It’s just another day to me,” she tells you, and in the next breath she moans, “Oh, I’m getting so darned old!”

We all are, honey. Don’t think you’re so special.

I imagine I’ll celebrate my birthday the usual way: champagne, telegrams from famous friends and piles of presents. Well, that’s the way I imagine it… Who am I kidding? I’ll probably lie in bed with Hemingway (one of his books, at any rate) and a cheap bottle of rye.

You see, I have to take it easy now… Now that I’m getting so darned old.

Dorothy Parker wonders how you celebrate your birthday?

Meanwhile, she appears in MURDER YOUR DARLINGS: An Algonquin Round Table Mystery, available now. She and her cohorts return in YOU MIGHT AS WELL DIE, available in December 2011.


  1. If there's a book, it's a party. No?

  2. I agree with Janet. I always celebrate my birthday with a book (either reading one or buying one). Reading Murder Your Darlings for my book club. It's a great read.

  3. Dorothy Parker replies:
    Janet, I usually think, "If there's a bottle, it's a party." But perhaps you're right -- most books don't produce a hangover or cause you much regret (unless it's, say, Ayn Rand -- and that's no party; I've had better visits to the dentist).

  4. Welcome, Dorothy! Glad you are joining us and not just because we could use a bottle of cheap rye, which we could.

    You sure have a way with words and we will try to stay on your good side.

    Happy birthday! There's nothing wrong with twenty nine again.

  5. Hmm. My birthday is coming up. A book in bed sounds pretty good, though I'll be skipping that bottle of rye.

  6. Though I'm still rankled by your vile review of Katharine Hepburn, I will not let it keep me from wishing you a happy birthday, Miss Parker.

  7. Welcome Dorothy! I'm a Dorothy, too. I've given up celebrating my birthday. That way I never get any older. Smart, eh?

  8. Dorothy Parker replies:
    Well, my fellow Dorothy, that is a smart idea. But then again, you miss an opportunity to celebrate, which I hate to do. However, I think I'll adopt your plan at about age 49 -- any birthday after that is more lamentation than celebration.

    Thank you all for welcoming me. And, Heather, if you're going to pass on that bottle of rye, you know who to pass it to, now don't you, sweetie?