Life Without Baby

Filling the silence in the motherhood discussion

It Got Me Thinking…About Wit September 27, 2011

By Kathleen Guthrie

This morning, still brooding over yesterday’s failings and anticipating today’s regrets, I felt the need for something stronger than my book of affirmations to get me going. So, as I lingered in bed, I reached under my nightstand and pulled out The Portable Dorothy Parker.

It’s been several years since I’ve shared the company of the legendary wit who gave us “Brevity is the soul of lingerie” and “Men seldom make passes/At girls who wear glasses”…and I’ve missed her. As I skimmed some of her poems, I started to smile. Soon I was giggling. I laughed out loud when I landed on the quip that reminded me, “You can lead a horticulture, but you can’t make her think.”

So often I wake up steeled to take life so very seriously. I have roles and responsibilities that need to be fulfilled. I have bills to pay, decisions to make, dogs to feed, and schedules to plan. Sometimes the way I cheat and deprive myself in the daily quest to respond to all the “shoulds” gets so overwhelmingly depressing that I end up doing next to nothing and feeling like a worthless slug.

Ms. Parker had a few thoughts about this in her poem “Observation:”

If I don’t drive around the park,

I’m pretty sure to make my mark.

If I’m in bed each night by ten,

I may get back my looks again.

If I sustain from fun and such,

I’ll probably amount to much;

But I shall stay the way I am,

Because I do not give a damn.

That was just the inspiration I needed. I threw off the bed covers and marched purposely toward a refreshingly hot shower, vowing to ditch some of the day’s shoulds and go in search of more giggles. I hope to end the day with a better awareness of the absurdities of life, with a new perspective that will help me reorder the priorities on my to do list. It’s likely I won’t get everything done that needs to be done, but just for today, I choose to not give a damn.

Like Ms. Parker, Kathleen Guthrie is a childfree freelance writer. 

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6 Responses to “It Got Me Thinking…About Wit”

  1. Angela Says:

    I LOVE the poem! Sounds like a good philosophy to me. I realized awhile back that your relationships with family and friends, your experiences, the good that you do to make your life richer and help others, are what is really important. Your job (well, MY job..) won’t fulfill you, it’s a means to a paycheck. Keeping my house spotless clean at all times won’t make my life richer. Making sure all the laundry is done as soon as a dirty shirt hits the floor won’t make you happy. I have people over even if my house isn’t clean, and forgo the dishes so I can visit with my friends. Occasionally I’ll have a little worry, what do they think about my dirty house and messy kitchen?? But then I shrug, and don’t give a damn! Ha!

  2. Rerah Says:

    Thanks for the book recommendation, and what a fantastic poem! We didn’t entertain for a long time because I thought our house wasn’t clean enough. Now I make sure the kitchen, living room, and the guest bathroom are presentable and we close off the other rooms–who really cares, anyway? Especially when you have great wine and food!

    • lmanterfield Says:

      We used to live in a tiny one-bedroom beach house, where we threw great parties. ONe time, five minutes before the guests arrived, we put all the dirty dishes in a laundry basket and shoved them outside in the shed! far from perfect, but the party was great, which is all our guests really cared about.

  3. I have never heard of her but will write her name down and search for her book of poems at Indigo. You know what, we ALL need something like this. Too often, we live life in Turbo mode running for coffees, work commutes and settling home to just do it all again the next day. It’s nice to see life from a new perspective…and laugh. 🙂

  4. Dorothy Says:

    Thanks for the smiles!

  5. […] This post was originally published on September 27, 2011. […]


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