Why is it great? Yesterday was Dorothy Parker’s birthday. (She would have been 124, reminding me of her classic line, “Time may be a great healer, but it’s a lousy beautician.”) The line above is one of my favorites, because it has both her famous, often-racy wit and also her underlying sorrow. In honor of her birthday, I thought I’d do a list of 10 one-liners by the master of One Great Sentences. OK, some of them are two sentences. In no particular order (except for the last two):


“I’m not a writer with a drinking problem, I’m a drinker with a writing problem.”


“If you have any young friends who aspire to become writers, the second greatest favor you can do them is to present them with copies of The Elements of Style. The first greatest, of course, is to shoot them now, while they’re happy.”


“I hate writing, I love having written.”


“Of course I talk to myself. I like a good speaker, and I appreciate an intelligent audience.”


“There’s a hell of a distance between wise-cracking and wit. Wit has truth in it; wise-cracking is simply calisthenics with words.”


“If you want to know what God thinks of money, just look at the people he gave it to.”


“Beauty is only skin deep, but ugly goes clean to the bone.”


“The first thing I do in the morning is brush my teeth and sharpen my tongue.”


“That would be a good thing for them to cut on my tombstone: Wherever she went, including here, it was against her better judgment.”


“Excuse my dust.” (Her epitaph.)

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