Go to What I SHOULD Have Said... main page
Here is one story retold, albeit with a pithier ending:
How 'bout that stick in YOUR eye?
What happened: I was stranded 200 miles away from home with a blown engine and minimal money. My friends of ten years - were helping me to sort out what to do about my car, loaning me a temporary car so I could continue working, and also helping me with relocation (since the house I am renting is in foreclosure) back "home". Best friends on the Planet... right??
I mentioned "minimal money". Under normal circumstances, I'd have given $200.00 plus for expenses, under such dire circumstances. Since this wasn't possible, and rather than insult them with a chump-change, I used my food stamps (yes, I was so desperate for the first time in 40 years, that I had food stamps!) to put together a nice dinner, and spent twenty bucks on two bottles of wine and a six pack of beer (to make sure everyone could enjoy a drink). Talk about "extravagant".
My friends - both female - both in their forties (we're not talking college hormones here) were very cold at dinner. The following day, the chilliness was palpable, and I finally said, "Okay, what gives?"
The yelling match ensued.
"You're so broke, yet you bought booze!"
"You spent all that money on that special pasta salad! I KNOW how much that costs!" (Yes... three dollars).
What I said: *Dumbfounded mumbles*
What I SHOULD have said: Well, the pasta salad cost the state three bucks, and the booze you shared took nineteen dollars and change of my life-savings that amounts to two hundred bucks - which is still *far less* than that bag of POT you had [another friend] drive 400 miles for!
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!