Archive for November 22nd, 2010


After all my hard work, you’d think that by now I’d have developed SOME skills that set action heroes (like wannabe me) apart from mere measly mortals.

You know what I mean.  Like how Jennifer Garner in Alias can go undercover in fabulous disguises, climb buildings with her bare fingers, and has a martial arts-honed body.  Ditto for Lara Croft, who also races a motorcycle across China.  And Nikita in the new TV series (which reader Ben and I wisely watch) can do it all PLUS is a hacking and tech whiz.

I, on the other hand, have only one innate action hero skill:

I am superb at the quick comeback.

Yes, you heard me right.  I am one of those rare people who, if someone dares to utter a nasty or vaguely insulting remark to me, can swiftly inflict on said offender a quick-witted, cleverly humorous verbal retort.  I can render my opponent undone with a deft parry-riposte, as we say in fencing.  One that sparkles with a brilliant turn of phrase while leaving the offender momentarily stunned.  One that destroys any chance at a counter-thrust because I skewered him or her with such a perfectly-placed joke or innocent-seeming remark that saying anything in return will only come across as snarky or dumb.

But say that he or she dares, merely DARES to attempt a counter-attack – that’s when I don’t hesitate to go in for the verbal kill.  Usually I rely on my own wit (and I don’t have half of one); still I’ve been known to pull out the big guns by quoting Mark Twain, Oscar Wilde, half a dozen comedians, or – at my classiest – Shakespeare.   I also speak my mind with just enough of a smile to make my opponents think they’re in on my joke, when they’re really not, which disarms them yet more.

So there you have it.  I, the action hero of the quick comeback, have seldom thought, “I wish I’d said…(fill in the blank)” after being verbally whacked by someone.  Pretty much 95% of the time, I fill in the blank.  No, I couldn’t computer-hack or karate chop or climb/leap/dive my way out of a dangerous situation.  Afterwards, however, I can give the best possible follow-up line.