I have almost no sense of smell. No, I don’t have a cold, I just have a big mouth, and it has cost me a broken nose not once, but twice. Part of that was because when you own a small town newspaper, and you step on the wrong toes, there is a price to pay. And part of it is because sometimes I just can’t resist zinging some idiot with a snappy comeback when they say the wrong thing. Apparently not all people find me nearly as charming as I think I am!
I love comedian Bill Engvall’s Here’s Your Sign routines, because I can relate to a lot of what he talks about. But while Engvall has reaped fame and fortune for his work, all I got was a deviated septum. Go figure.
I don’t have much talent in life; I can’t play a musical instrument, paint a picture, or build anything. But I can usually come up with some smart aleck reply at just the right time, and in just the right situation. We have to use the gifts we’re given, even if we have to pay a price once in a while. Besides, if nobody hits you, it can be a lot of fun!
For example, we were at an a major RV show a while back, and some sharp talking salesman waylaid me and went into his spiel, even though I told him I didn’t have any interest in what he was pushing. But this guy wouldn’t take no for an answer, and when I tried to walk away, he stepped in front of me and just kept right on talking.
Finally I said, “Look, I’m not interested. Thanks anyway.” and started to walk around him, but he blocked my path again. “And just why aren’t you interested?” he demanded to know. “Because it’s a piece of crap, and I don’t want it or need it, and I wouldn’t take it if you gave it to me,” I told him. By now several people were listening to our conversation, and he was getting red in the face. “You’re a real smart ass, aren’t you?” he said. Well, how could I pass up an opportunity like that? “No, it’s just that you’re such a dumb ass that I seem really smart to you,” I told him. While he was trying to figure that one out, I beat a hasty retreat.
Now, there’s nothing wrong with trying to sell your product, just don’t be pushy about it. After all, we were at the same show, trying to drum up business for our RV travel newspaper. On the other hand, sometimes people in the crowd can be really rude at these types of events. It’s like they get their jollies treating the vendors like crap. I offered one fellow a sample copy of our publication and instead of just saying “no thanks” he threw it down and said said “I don’t read anything!” I really was trying to help the poor fellow out when I said “Oh, don’t worry, they have special classes for people like you, that will teach you how.”
A favorite sneer for a lot of people, when you make them mad is “bite me!” They don’t seem to appreciate it when I reply “I would, but I’m on a low fat diet.” Why is that?
My parents raised me to be a gentleman, and all of my life I have held doors open for both men and women, no matter what their ages are. Surprisingly, there are some women who take offense to what I consider a simple courtesy. Just a week or so ago, I held the door for a woman. Instead of a simple “thank you” she glared at me and asked “Do I look handicapped to you?” Yeah, I know it’s the Christmas season and the time for brotherly love and all of that, so I probably shouldn’t have said “My mistake. I thought you were a lady.”
Of course, not all of my snappy comebacks are meant to be rude, sometimes I just have to blurt out whatever comes to mind. A few years ago, when we were teaching at the Life on Wheels RV conferences, one couple in my class was in their 70s, and a lot of fun to talk to, with great senses of humor. During a question and answer session, the wife asked if a personal question was allowed, and I told her sure. “In those RV parks, it looks like people are parked really close together sometimes. If you’re making love, does it make the RV shake, and can people hear you outside?”
Well, bless her heart! Folks, I looked that sweet old lady right in the eye and told her, “It does if you’re doing it right!”