Monday, July 7, 2008

Episode 31: How to Be Mean

So last Thursday, I was sitting in my Obama-stickered Honda Element in a fancy super-white part of town and a car pulled up next to me. The passenger window rolled down and suddenly there were some sportswear-clad arms waving at me, all bony pink elbows and underarm chicken fat. I could only assume that either my car was on fire or this particular woman wanted to tell me some Very Important News about a sale at Talbot's, so I rolled my window down as quickly as possible, just in time for her to scream "Obama's going to ruin America! OBAMA'S GOING TO RUIN AMERICA!" Now I like intelligent political discourse as much as the next person - especially at a stop-light in the middle of the day - but even I knew this was a lost cause. You can't argue sense into a woman wearing that much costume jewelry from Chico's, that's all I'm saying. So I sighed, smiled, and then very calmly said "oh, why don't you go fuck yourself?"

As I drove away, I thought of a handful of other things to say: "no, dear, that bad haircut you're sporting is what's ruining America!" or "that's perhaps true, but you should really work on those arms." This is called l'esprit d'escalier ("stairway wit")...the perfect riposte thought of a hair too late, on the stairway after a dramatic exit. But no, I had already left the scene, so "why don't you go fuck yourself?" had to stand.

One of these illustrative examples was stolen from the movie Broadcast News. Another is from my old friend Bob Andrews. So just shut up about that already.

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