If you could have one superpower, what would it be?
Flying? Please. Invisibility? No thank you. If I could have any superpower, it would be the ability to come up with an instant comeback. I'm good with words only when they’re written. That’s because the written word is more forgiving; if I don’t get it right the first time, I can go back and edit. There’s a built in think time when you’re writing the words, but for the person reading, the words are instantaneous.
I’ve always envied those who are quick enough to process what they’ve heard and reply with something equally (or even more) sharp. I admire that in others because it’s a gift I just don’t have. Most of the time I stand there, thinking, and if five seconds go by, the moment is lost. Five minutes—forget it, everyone’s moved on. And the reality is more like five hours, well past anyone else’s recollection, but if it’s something that zinged you pretty hard, you’re the one burdened with carrying it around. You’re the one whose day has been ruined (okay, sometimes it’s not *that* bad but for the purpose of this entry, let’s assume it is). You’re the one who didn’t get to hit back.
I have a co-worker who loves to run his mouth. If he finds a target, he seems to gain momentum. For the past few months the target has been Barack Obama. Now he may or may not know that I voted for the guy, but he makes it plain that he had no part in getting the man elected. His comments border on contempt. This is something I can not understand at all. If you voted for someone who has repeatedly been called “the worst president ever” you’re going to have the cajones to knock the guy who isn’t even in office yet? Am I the one on crazy pills here?
Bigmouth's comments come up unprovoked. Any time there’s an opening for a zinger, he slips it in with the grace of a bulldozer. For example:
“Oh we’re going to have a problem integrating the database, but we should find the solution.”
Bigmouth: “That’s okay, Barack Obama’s gonna fix all of that!”
That didn’t actually happen, but “Barack Obama’s gonna fix all that!” gets plugged into conversation wherever he believes it fits. Sometimes it’s akin to forcing in a puzzle piece that isn’t cut to fit. Then what inevitably follows the “joke” is the sweet, sweet sound of silence and me sitting there, seething inside. Once one of my co-workers tried to reason that voters needed something to look forward too, but that was as useful as a BB gun aimed at Godzilla.
Eventually he came up with another approach.
My boss brought up a threat briefing in a meeting. “This covers any kind of enemy or criminal that might break into our system.” He explained.
“Like Barack Obama and his administration!” chimed in you-know-who. This solicited a few chuckles and a few looks of “WTF” around the room, which is, I suppose, success when compared to the previous un-reaction. This also marked the closest I got to standing up and saying “Shut the Fuck Up,” which really, I’m glad I didn’t. That would mean he got the upper hand. Besides, it’s not very original and it just shows a loss of temper paired with a lack of creativity in coming up with something truly clever. Standing up and shouting “Shut the Fuck Up” would mean I’m channeling Dick Cheney, and that’s never good (even if he is Obama’s 8th cousin).
As often as this happens, it always catches me off guard because the joke has little to do with the topic that triggers it. Today someone was reimbursing Bigmouth from a lunch back in November. So he jokes:
"Oh, I need to add compound interest to this. I need to add cost of living increase. Oh and we need to account for the Obama-sizing; spreading the wealth."
See? Blam. Out of nowhere. I didn’t even see it coming. Seething on the inside, I muttered “you’re an ass” more to myself than anyone else and quickly made my exit. But if I had the gift of the comeback, it would have gone like this.
Bigmouth: “…Oh and we need to account for the Obama-sizing; spreading the wealth."
Me: “Hey, B.M., do like this.” (brushes off shoulder)
B.M. (looks down at shoulder, looks back at me) Huh?
Me: You need to get rid of that ENORMOUS chip on your shoulder. *
B.M. (frowns, is totally speechless).
That’s it. That's all I ask. I don’t need an orchestrated diatribe, just a well-timed one liner that pops into my head while simultaneously Shutting the other person the Fuck Up without actually telling them to “Shut the Fuck Up.”
*It took me 1 ½ hours to think this up.
P.S. The up side is that I know this "joke" will be repeated by him sometime in the future. One of my ongoing resolutions is to be more assertive. Too often I back down from speaking my mind (don't tell my husband that). So not only do I need my handy comeback, I need to have enough courage to say it out loud.
P.P.S. I try to avoid posting political things here, and I can understand why someone wouldn't vote for Obama. What I don't understand is how some of those people seem to WANT him to do badly. While I never voted for "dubya" I didn't badmouth him before an audience of unsuspecting coworkers and I never got a charge off of his mistakes, either.