Go to What I SHOULD Have Said... main page
Here is one story retold, albeit with a pithier ending:
A student walks into a bar...
What happened: After a particularly close-fought set of student elections in which my favoured candidates all lost, I bumped into the President-elect (a student colleague) and Rector-elect (a well-known Scottish journalist and broadcaster) having a celebratory drink.
"Ah, [Icarus]," said the President, and turned to the Rector. "[Icarus] didn't vote for me, did you?"
"No, [President], I know you." Pretty good off-the-cuff riposte. However, I missed the follow-up when the President said:
"[Icarus], this is [Rector]."
What I said: "Pleased to meet you [Rector]."
What I SHOULD have said: "Ah, yes. I didn't vote for you, either."
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!