Go to What I SHOULD Have Said... main page
Here is one story retold, albeit with a pithier ending:
Swing first, talk later
What happened: A man of very short stature and sporting a very large hat backed his car into mine, taking out the left tail light. He stepped out looking agitated. When I approached him he turned quite angry and when I explained that it was my car, he simply stormed away and tried to get back into his car to leave. I pulled him away from his vehicle and tried to explain the situation when he shoved me away and tried to leave again.
What I said: I smashed his head through his own drivers side window, shouting how that was a very bad idea on his part.
What I SHOULD have said: Not so much what I should have said but rather looked for, such as the police cruiser behind me with an officer writing a citation for the man who hit me.
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!