Your whole life, in six words

One of my assignments at work today was to write some funny fortune cookie “fortunes.” Here’s my favorite, brought to life with a little Photoshop.

While trying to come up with little narrative arcs — and unexpected endings — I remembered Ernest Hemingway’s six-word story, “For sale: baby shoes, never worn.”

And that, in turn, reminded me of a long list of six-word stories I’d written on a less-busy day at the office. (Sorry in advance for all the mime jokes. I blame my friend and colleague Craig for egging me on.)

In any case, I’ll leave it up to you to guess which one is autobiographical.

True believer; then I lost faith.

Lived on six contents. Died alone.

Whoa! My toes! Damn you, chainsaw.

I truly loved him, in hindsight.

He never loved me. My mistake.

Don’t worry. Maybe it’ll grow back.

Drank beer … lost a few years.

“Potentially lethal”? Make that just “lethal.”

I swerved; tree hit me anyway.

Brilliant magician! She makes money disappear.

Missing one leg; eight lives left.

Paris: lifelong dream! Forgot my camera.

The voices made me do it.

He said he’d delete the photos.

Groom missing. The bride eloped anyway.

That? Oh, it’s just a zit.

Found: Bikini top. Looking for bottom.

“What’s this?”
“Porcupine. Put it down.”

I never said I was sorry.

An apology would have been grand.

Former mime. Now I’m a ventriloquist.

A ventriloquist, I make mimes talk.

Shot a mime. Didn’t need silencer.

Former mime seeks friend for conversation.

Laughter. Love. Loss. Lawyers. Liquor. Limbo.


  1. one of my favorites by richard brautigan, though it has more than six words.
    “It’s tough living in San Jose with a man learning to play the violin,” said the woman as she handed the gun to the police officer.

    • Gaaa! As someone who grew up with a student of the violin, I can totally understand the woman’s sentiment. Although if I lived in San Jose, I’d probably shoot *myself.*

  2. I think the one about the silencer is hilarious! I’m hoping that the autobiog. one isn’t about being in Paris with no camera, and I’m *really* hoping that you don’t think it’s the one about living all over and dying alone…really H, your black humour worries me sometimes…. 🙂

    But talking of cardiologists, as we weren’t, doesn’t that Hemingway story squeeze the heart. I’ve always thought it’s brilliant.

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