My Action Hero Power

on November 22, 2010 in Misc

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.

4 Responses to “My Action Hero Power”

  1. Hart says:

    Oh, that is an EXCELLENT superpower! My brain isn’t quite that quick. I always think of them later. I am though, quite skilled at misattributing… (twisting what I heard into something funny) so I’ve got THAT going for me.

    I need to rewatch Alias. Man, I loved that show.

  2. Helena says:

    Hart — I picked up for cheap the first season of Alias and have gotten hooked all over again.

  3. Ben says:

    Hahaha, that is a great superpower to have! I swear that most people are envious of that superpower! The quick retort is a rare thing.
    And don’t belittle your martial art experience and parkour and lock-picking skills. Honestly, if you’re constantly comparing yourself to fictional super-spies, then you’ll always fall short. But, if you compare yourself to who you were before you started training, or if you compared yourself to the average mortal, then you are kind of like a spy. I don’t know how to pick locks at all, and you were setting records on locks in your house. If you change your perpsective a bit, you may find yourself to be more of a spy than you’ve realized; you’re just comparing yourself to impossibly high (and fictional) goals. (as a side-note, I do the exact same thing, so this is basically a reply to myself as well).

  4. Helena says:

    Ben — It sounds like you lecture yourself as much as I do! Trouble is, I don’t often listen to myself. But you’re right that once we start trying to be super in any way, we stop being average.