Staircase wit

Here's your one last chance to get your licks in! Send us your story, tell us what happened, let us commiserate with you over your lame response... and then you can stun us with the clever, biting response you would have most certainly made had you had just a little more time to think!

Read these stories and their accompanying after-the-fact rejoinders, and then submit your own! Maybe you didn't think to say it then, but you can say it now — share with us the kind of wit you can exhibit if only you have a moment to compose your thoughts.

UPDATE: We are not currently accepting new submissions. Dealing with all this inflow of magnificent wit has been overwhelming. If you have a pithy comeback, hold that thought!

Here are our stories retold, albeit with pithier endings:

From Carlita:

The Hills Are Alive

What happened: One day while I was in tenth grade, I went up to the history teacher's desk to ask a question about some stuff we were studying. Well, when I was bending over to point to something in the book, I started hearing these sniggers from my classmates, and realized that a button on my blouse had come undone, giving the male teacher a full view of my department-store bra and tiny high-school breasts. The teacher was real shy and bookish, maybe even gay, but that didn't stop the catcalls, "Show them things, baby!" "Show-off slut!" etc., etc.

What I said: You don't really think I could speak? I turned super red and walked back to my desk. If I would have had a self-destruct button, I would have pushed it, I would have disappeared myself. It was awful. I was mortified.

What I SHOULD have said: "Oh, shut up already and grow up, everybody. You're making a mountain out of a mole hill!"

From Angela:

The Witch and the Wardrobe

What happened: I have to go this wedding in a couple of months, and I've been stumped for a dress, because it's going to be outside in what promises to be gorgeous spring weather. My not-rich-enough but certainly thin enough coworker, I'll call her Esmerelda, has seized on this. Even though she is a size 4 and I'm a 10 (please believe that I am a 10), she had the nerve the other day to tell me about this dress she has that would be just perfect, and just bubbled all over herself, offering to lend it to me, and saying that the size difference was no big deal, lie, lie, lie, and in the end, insisting, "Listen, I really, really want you to come over to my house right after work and try on this dress."

What I said: I stammered something about really thinking that it just wouldn't fit, really, really, but thanks, I'm sure it's perfect for her but I really couldn't, besides I was too busy, etc.

What I SHOULD have said: "Why?"

From Always Polite and Helpful:

Sales Rep's Lament

What happened: Client has messed about for 4 months and still the sale is not closed.

What I said: It is difficult to hold dates and we will need to have your acceptance in two weeks to hold the dates.

What I SHOULD have said: I would like to know if you have any additional stupid questions about the proposal that we have altered three times to suit your whims. I have to submit sales forecasts tomorrow and you have been leading me on a delightful merry dance since last April. With every turn your neurotic assistant has come up with a series of piccune questions and stumbling blocks. You have met us, received glowing references and told us you would like to go ahead. I would like to remind you that you have whittled this program down to a paltry $10,000. Is this too much to invest in the team of hapless clowns that you call your senior leaders? Would paying $10,000 dollars be to big a price to pay to stop these moron's from plaguing your day with questions and complaints that any junior manager worth his salt could deal with on his own? Is your company going broke? My capacity for patience is wearing prettty thin. May I invite you to shit or get off the pot.

From Allen:

Talkin bout practice

What happened: In the corner of my teachers classroom, was one of those large fisher price basketball hoops. I was sitting right in front of it one class. Just as class quieted down, I shot the ball over my head, but missed. Everyone is looking, and a girl on the other side of the room says "Nice shot, Iverson."

What I said: I blushed, said nothing, and smiled.

What I SHOULD have said: "Thanks, Mutombo"

From Sarah:

No, Crystal

What happened: So there has been stupid drama between me and one of my housemates, named "Crystal". This girl is such a drama queen, and loves to confront me about the situation and "talk" about it and "fix" the problem, etc., but only in the end to backstab me once again a few days later. Of course, she has done this several times, but the drama still continues on perpetual replay. By this time, I'm sick and tired of her pretending to be a mediator and fixing the unnecessary drama that she has always created. The other day, she made me angry for the same reason, so yesterday, she knocked on my door and asked in her fake, sincere look, "Sarah, can I talk to you?"

What I said: I politely smiled and said, "sorry I'm studying... maybe later?"

What I SHOULD have said: "No, Crystal. I'm sick and tired of talking about this. I don't want to talk about it. Take responsibility for your own actions." And slam the door.

More stories (click title for full story):

What Goes Around
The Children were more mature than him...
Consider the source...
Window Shopping
Great Power, No Responsibility?
Get your facts straight
Oops, worng section.
Tooth and Male
A Right Pair
I know...
No, I'm just fat
I AM... not your father.
YES, my face hurts!
Four Hands
How badly did I want him?
Life in the Fast lane
Yo momma redux
Wasting Steps
Center Part
Meeting Lady Di
Evil costume
Swing first, talk later
So is your mum
A student walks into a bar...
Don't mind if I do
Birds, birds, birds.
Born ultimatum
Sorry, Wrong Number!
6 Feet Under
Trouble with numbers
Dead-beat Dad Can Afford Wii
Target of gossip at Target
Bad-Taste Beau
Mrs. Edwards
Cleaner Floors.
"Drugs and prostitution."
A Counting French Teacher
Cherries On Top
The So-Called Friend
im not gay!
It's for you
Cafe Rage
Oh debatable.
Inspection day
Folger?! I hardly know her!
You're following one
How 'bout that stick in YOUR eye?
Out Of Focus

So THAT'S why the grass looks greener...
What I SHOULD have said for the "What I should have said..."
Super Happy Kitten Fun Time
The Booty Call
You are as good as paper
The Twisted Sex Talk
The customer thinks they are always right ya know.
working birthday
a racist retort
Man Boobs
An Announcement at School
Hey dad!
Blow is just an expression
Cheap Thrills
to boobear
Who's Looking?
A Googol of Hatred
Scientific truth
Here have some pizza
Give credit where it is due
Fairy Tale Ending...
Wrap Twice, Walk Once
Gas station bastard
Luke I am original
High School is a bitch.
Whats it to you?!
GHD = Good Hair Day?
Little White Lies
I'm Fogcutter Guy
unlikely peare
Stop Shoulding On Yourself (props to Albert Ellis)
Young enough to know enough
Kiosk Kaos
Checkout blues
Learned my lesson
Too Many Girlfriends
Gosh, no thanks
"Sorry, I thought you were 8"
Straight A's cuz I do Drugs...
Horns, Halos, and wives....... oh my!
Unanswerable questions
Foreign relations
Kung Fu fighting
at the coatroom
I'm pretty sure..
Causes Of Depression
If I was five...
Facial Hair
psh..i'm not a bear
Short Changed
Are you yelling at me?
wigger hitting on me!
Happy to get out of there
Jealous of you?
size matters
what would happen if i did some stuff
Stupid Phone People..
Short boys give bad excuses
Stupid people..
Dinner at the Dumpster
Small town= stuck up people
Comparing Records
Taking a stand
Your boyfriend doesn't think so....
Hannibal and the...Girl Scout
hitler re-incarnate
Broken Window
damn you chavs!
Crazy woman at a gas station
Retards 'R' Us
Here's Your Sign
A strange trip to Amsterdam
Jerk Store
I wish I was Brazilian!!
The Venician Deaf
You can fix it.....
Cinema Crazy!!
10-4 Good Buddy
Average Idiot.
Bathroom etiquette
Oh yes I can...
wow im a freshmen
One chance to use my high school learning...
Damn cops
You Gay?
Dumb Fat Girl
Police come back.
Freudian Quip
on holding the punk right.
Marine Recruiter
Staples oh Snap!
What did YOU get?
Oh, drivers ed
Car trouble
If you do this, I will kill you
Return trip
Angel conquered
Jockeying for Position
Missed opportunities
Say what?
I bet you do...
fun with fruit
you don't look 18 to me
Racist? Of course...
Style Denial
For $50, I can't get any condiments?
The little train that DID!
Save our children
Spousal Abuse
Welcome to Europe.....
Its not you...its your mom
Drugs? Yes please!
By myself?
Crack is Whack
No, you're talking about yourself...
Don't break the camera! D:
They're prescription
Ding-dong...."No, god here"
want a lick?
your mother...
Evil supermarket customers
Go On My Son
The Brandy Blues
Which side of the road?
The stomach is mightier than the...
How To Be Smooth Like Sandpaper
Dumb and Dumber called, they want their ending back.
It was your mom?

on the stairs

L'esprit d'escalier

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!