Drawing a blank
When was the last time your walked away from a discus- sion, only to think of The Perfect Comeback hours later? Recreate the scene for us, and use your winning line.
Ah, yes. The perfect comeback. My mind jumps to Seinfeld and the Jerk Store. Look it up on Youtube if you don’t remember or haven’t seen it. George thinks he has the perfect comeback, but he is routed when he tries to deliver. I often think of things at night in the shower that seem awesome and devastating to say, but when I wake up and go about my day those same lines and approaches seem ridiculous, mean, and generally untenable. When you are bipolar, you have to be careful about your reasoning. As the saying goes: evaluate twice, speak once.
However, I do remember one comeback that has tickled me for over a decade. The scene was a church summer trip. I was a leader and we were having a brief leaders meeting. We were all sitting in a circle and a troubling social situation was being discussed. (We are talking about middle school kids.) Apparently, some girls had wanted to change sleeping rooms and this seemingly innocuous arrangement was permitted. But Unapparently to the leaders at the time, a new order was emerging. The popular girls boxed out the others, creating a power room. This entire process was explained by our leader who was a woman. When she finished, I shook my head and said, “Women”. (I was sitting right next to her.) It got real quiet. She said with emphasis, “That was not a helpful comment.” It got even quieter, somehow. All eyes swiveled to me. A few thoughts rolled around in my head. I knew that this person had a bit of a reputation for abrasiveness in the face of conflict. I also knew that when stood up to she would often pretend she had been joking. Limbo was the state of our current interaction, and so many possible directions could be teased out. So, I allowed myself to once more hear the “That was not a helpful comment” in my head and heart. I sort of looked gently down at the floor and replied:
“It wasn’t intended to be a helpful comment.”
Balloons appeared from nowhere; confetti rained down from the ceiling; Tom Jones began to croon, and everybody was laughing including her. The last part is true.
Defuse. Seems to be a lost art in our world today. I wasn’t trying to make her look bad or defend myself or act in any way that asserted my dominance, supremacy, or invincibility. It was just a good old fashioned defuse. I thought my original comment was an apt exploration of age typical gender interaction that revealed both my heartfelt empathy and ironic condemnation of chauvinism. I stand by my record. Interview those who know me and we’ll see what they think. This I do know: funny is funny. God bless and have a great day guys. Feel free to leave any of your own “comebacks.”