Go to What I SHOULD Have Said... main page
Here is one story retold, albeit with a pithier ending:
What happened: I work as a secretary at a design firm. One day after work, I headed to the local mall to shop for a gift for my sister-in-law's birthday. It had been a long day, and I'm sure I didn't look my best in my wrinkled work clothes and flat hair. As I passed one of those cell phone kiosks, the typical cell phone salesman--you know the type, still wishes he were in high school--makes eye contact with me and says in a very matter-of-fact way, "Hey, there's this new invention out called make-up. Ever heard of it? You should try it sometime."
What I said: Nothing, unfortunately. I just ignored him and kept walking.
What I SHOULD have said: "Ever heard of common decency? You should give it a try. Anyway, I'm at the mall. Who am I trying to impress?"
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!