Go to What I SHOULD Have Said... main page
Here is one story retold, albeit with a pithier ending:
A Counting French Teacher
What happened: At lunch, there's a really obnoxious girl who sits at our table. She always insists on flirting with the teachers who are in charge of watching the lunchroom. Anyway, one day she's across the lunchroom, flirting with the teachers again. Meanwhile, my three other friends at the table and I see my incredibly mean French teacher walking up to us. When he finally reaches our table, he says "One. Two. Three. Four. You're all written up because you can't keep *her* under control.
What I said: Just sat there silently.
What I SHOULD have said: Well I'm glad you can count, Mr. G.
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!