Go to What I SHOULD Have Said... main page
Here is one story retold, albeit with a pithier ending:
What happened: I was standing in the "cash only" line at a small grocery store when the person in front of me discovered she didn't have quite enough change, and asked to write a check (permission granted by the clerk). The man behind me started cursing through my ear at the miscreant, using more obscenities than I care to hear all at once. I turned to him and said, "We don't need to hear that kind of language," whereupon he turned his venom, and his cursing, on me, for longer than I wished to listen.
What I said: Nothing. And I didn't even ask the clerk to call the manager. And nobody else said anything, either.
What I SHOULD have said: "It's a scientifically proven fact that the number of obscenities a man uses in a sentence is in inverse proportion to the length of his ****."
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!