Go to What I SHOULD Have Said... main page
Here is one story retold, albeit with a pithier ending:
What happened: In order to get my license, I had to take 30 hours of driver's ed in a windowless classroom. The teacher was a misogynistic older guy who loved listening to himself. Instead of just showing us the 'instructional' videos, he would go over things himself, to drive the point home. He was explaining to us how when you're pulling left out of a side street, and the far side is clear, even if the guy coming towards you from the left has signaled to turn right onto the street you're turning out of, you should not pull in front of them for several reasons. "It could be that they're going straight: maybe they're old and can't hear that their turn signal is still on, or they're from out of town, lost, and don't know where to turn. Or it might be a woman and she can't make up her mind!" My guy friend next to me chuckled along with all the other guys in the class, while the maybe five or six girls sat fuming.
What I said: Nothing, I was speechless.
What I SHOULD have said: "Well maybe we can't make up our minds but at least we're not too SCARED to ask for directions!"
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!