As witty as Oscar Wilde?

oscar_wildeUpdate! I won the witticism contest, and I’m featured in the Lady Windermere’s Fan program, here.

Cal Shakes (@calshakes) is having a Twitter contest for newly-minted aphorisms. Billed as “Are you as witty as Oscar Wilde?” the contest invites the public to be as witty as possible in the manner of the famous Irish playwright . . . who was pretty damn witty.

Cal Shakes also is giving extra points if the quote is attributed to a character or mentions the theatre or a play in their 2013 season.

Here are a few I whipped up. Although I do not claim to be as witty as Oscar Wilde on my very best day, I think I do have a gift for the witticism, which I attribute to my dad.

  1. To be married “till death do you part” seems an alarming encouragement of future criminal activity.
  2. Cynicism without wit is peevishness. Wit without cynicism is impossible.
  3. My fondest hope is that I will live down to my reputation.
  4. A lack of respectability is attractive in a man but irresistible in a woman.
  5. Happiness is often a matter of proper elimination.
  6. Death is frightfully inconvenient, but it does make it much easier to manage one’s social schedule.
  7. “Oh, no, why didn’t I don a more fashionable dress? Now I can only be worshipped from afar.” ~Gwendolyn Fairfax
  8. When you sin, be like Eve: make it original.
  9. The road to divorce is paved with inattentions.
  10. “What If?” is the disease for which reckless action is the cure.
  11. A reputation is like an appendix. You’re uncertain what it’s good for, and when it’s gone, you don’t miss it.
  12. In my youth, I took a stab at marriage. It bled to death. I haven’t stabbed it since.
  13. The only thing more tragic than an unkempt woman is an unkept one.
  14. “I may lose my bags, my footing, even my husband. . . but never my composure.” ~The Duchess of Berwick
  15. Humility is the means by which a successful man becomes an bearable one.
  16. Never put a woman on a pedestal; she will only look down on you.
  17. Honesty is the best anomaly.
  18. The road to high society is paved with good pretensions.
  19. Integrity and morals are all well and good, but in Orinda, a well-fitted waistcoat will command more respect.
  20. When a married woman yields her reputation, that’s a sacrifice. When a single one does, that’s marketing.
  21. “Never speak off the cuff…it leads to an alarming fraying of the shirt sleeves.” ~Algernon Montcrieff
  22. “Two wrongs don’t make a right, but they do make for delicious dinner conversation.” ~Duchess of Berwick
  23. I vaguely remember being respectable— it was a full-time job, and the salary was negligible.
  24. One deceives more often out of kindness than malice.
  25. People tend to drift downward: it’s called Newton’s Law of Depravity.
  26. “When gossip dines out, reputation pays the bill.” ~Mrs. Cowper-Cowper
  27. Licentiousness is the means by which a man mocks society and a woman ascends in it.
  28. Honesty is the first step to divorce, the poorhouse, and gaol.
  29. “We unconsciously adopt the vices of our friends. That’s what friends are for.” ~Duchess of Berwick
  30. A lack of moral principles is not nearly so frightful as a lack of dinner invitations.
  31. Marriage makes estranged bedfellows.
  32. A man is known by the liquor cabinet he keeps.
  33. “It’s quite exhausting to be honest. I know; I tried it once.” ~Lord Darlington
  34. How shall I describe Orinda? BART stops there, and it is a reliable source of lower companions.
  35. “Never be afraid to take a position, especially a compromising one.” ~ Lord Darlington
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