Brevity may indeed be the soul of wit, but don't tell that to a reporter. Working from the inflated notion that our words are sacrosanct, we're constantly battling editors demanding that we cut, cut, cut, even when we're compressing someone's life story into 20 inches or less. Although Post obits editor Yvonne Lamb is a gentle surgeon, she too feels an obligation to cut first and ask questions later. (As much as we reporters hate to admit it, a trimmed-down story is usually a better story.)
Now comes The Daily Telegraph of London, whose obits editor recently challenged readers to sum up their lives in the brevity of a heartbeat -- six words. The newspaper borrowed the idea from the online literary magazine Smith, which invited its readers to submit their own mini-memoirs. More than 10,000 responded.
Here's a Smith sampling:
"Navy brat still looking for a home."
"Living in the perpetual, almost there."
"Started off kosher, then discovered bacon."
"Wasted many days worrying about tomorrow."
"She smiled. I laughed. We danced."
"Should have eaten more Hostess cupcakes."
Here's my favorite, from the comedienne Joan Rivers: "I am trying, in every regard."
According to The Telegraph, Muhammad Ali once gave it a try. Here's his one-two punch: "Me? Wheeee!"
How about you, dear reader? Six words for a life?
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