Go to What I SHOULD Have Said... main page
Here is one story retold, albeit with a pithier ending:
Oh yes I can...
What happened: It was the first day of a new academic year, new school, new faces, new corridors to memorise. I was wandering around hopelessly looking for the language block, when I rounded a corner and bumped awkwardly into a hulking neanderthal (year above). He slowly realised that he was, in fact, angry, and said 'you (rhymes with 'punt')!'.
What I said: 'Oh... er... sorry' followed by a hasty escape.
What I SHOULD have said: 'I can!'
The French call it l'esprit d'escalier, "the wit of the staircase," those biting ripostes that are thought of just seconds too late, on the way out of the room-or even, to tell the truth, days later. It's happened to you: you've suddenly thought of just what would put your foe in his or her place, but past the time when the arrow could sting its victim. You've stewed in your own juice ever since, and the chance for singeing repartee is gone forever.
Or is it?
Dorothy Parker or Oscar Wilde may have had the rapier wit to tweak their tormentors on the spot, but for the rest of us, we offer the Internet's only L'esprit d'escalier web site!