Tuesday, August 19, 2008

excerpt du jour

from Dorothy Parker's 
The Waltz

"Why, thank you so much.  I'd adore to.

I don't want to dance with him.  
I don't want to dance with anybody.  
And even if I did, it wouldn't be him.  He'd be well
down among the last ten.  I've seen the way he dances;
it looks like something you do on Saint Walpurgis Night.
Just think, not a quarter of an hour ago,
here I was sitting, feeling so sorry for the poor girl
he was dancing with.  And now I'm going to be the poor girl.
Well, well.  Isn't it a small world?

And a peach of a world, too.  A true little corker.  
It's events are so fascinatingly unpredictable,
are not they?  Here I was, minding my own business,
not doing a stitch of harm to any living soul.
And then he comes into my life, all smiles
and city manners, to sue me for the favor
of one memorable mazurka.  
Why, he scarcely knows my name, let alone
what it stands for.  It stands for
Despair, Bewilderment, Futility, Degradation,
and Premeditated Murder, but little does he wot.
I don't wot his name, either; I haven't any idea what it is.
Jukes, would be my guess from the look in his eyes.
How do you do, Mr. Jukes?  And how is that dear
brother of yours, with the two heads?

Ah, now why did he have to come around me,
with his low requests?  Why can't he let me lead my 
own life?  I ask so little--just to be left alone
in my quiet corner of the table, to do my
evening brooding over all my sorrows.
And he must come, with his bows and his scrapes and his 
may-I-have-this-ones.  And I had to go and tell him
that I'd adore to dance with him.
I cannot understand why I wasn't struck right down dead.
Yes, and being struck dead would look like a day
in the country, compared to struggling out a dance
with this boy.  But what could I do?  
Everyone else at the table had got up to dance,
except him and me.  There I was, trapped.
Trapped like a trap in a trap.

What can you say, when a man asks you to dance 
with him?  I most certainly will not dance
with you, I'll see you in hell first.
Why, thank you, I'd like to awfully,
but I'm having labor pains.  Oh, yes,
do let's dance together--it's to nice
to meet a man who isn't a scaredy-cat
about catching my beri-beri.
No.  There was nothing for me to do, but say
I'd adore to.  Well, we might as well get it
over with.  All right, Cannonball, let's 
run out on the field.  You won the toss;
you can lead.

Why, I think it's more of a waltz, really.
Isn't it?  We might just listen
to the music a second.  Shall we?
Oh, yes, it's a waltz.  Mind?  Why, I'm 
simply thrilled.  I'd love to waltz with you.

I'd love to waltz with you.  I'd love to 
waltz with you.  I'd love to have my tonsils out,
I'd love to be in a midnight fire at sea.
Well, it's too late now.  We're getting under way.
Oh.  Oh, dear.  Oh, dear, dear, dear.
Oh, this is even worse than I thought
it would be.  I suppose that's the
one dependable law of life--
everything is always worse than you
thought it was going to be.  

2 comments:

d/b/c/m said...

dorothy should have smoked a joint before she went to the dance. (heh heh).

Jus said...

that poor boy should have used my most famous line when rejected,

"Don't be picky...I wasn't!'