Suggestive Names

Tue Jun 13 15:31:02 UTC 2006

        Thomas Kunkel, in Genius in Disguise:  Harold Ross of the New
Yorker, attributes the witticism to Dorothy Parker:

<<He [sc. Harold Ross] emerged from his office one day with a big grin,
reporting that he had just telephoned Parker to inquire about the
whereabouts of her overdue column.  "Aw, Harold," she replied, "I've
been too fucking busy.  Or vice versa, if you prefer.">>

        While the story in this version seems plausible (it's often
presented as a telegram Parker sent on her honeymoon, although Western
Union likely would not have accepted such a message), I haven't checked
Kunkel's source.   He cites Roy Hoopes, Cain:  The Biography of James M.
Cain 205 (1982).

John Baker

-----Original Message-----
From: American Dialect Society [mailto:ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU] On Behalf
Of Laurence Horn
Sent: Tuesday, June 13, 2006 9:50 AM
Subject: Re: Suggestive Names

At 9:27 AM -0400 6/13/06, Laurence Horn wrote:
>>     I'm too fucking busy, and vice versa.
>Actually, we've discussed this on the list; it's a mot attributed to
>Dorothy Parker ("Tell him I'm too fucking busy, and vice versa").  As I

>recall, there was the usual debate over whether this was an actual or
>apocryphal witticism--in either case, it is at least the classic "mot
Actually, I can't find it on the archive--"You can lead a horticulture
but you can't make her think", "You're the young man who doesn't know
how to spell 'fuck'", and so on, but not the above.  But it does seem to
be standardly attributed to her, in particular as a response to an
editor who was dunning her about a deadline.  Fred, do you have this one
in YDOQ?

The American Dialect Society -

More information about the Ads-l mailing list