Last Saturday, I was walking down the street, MY street, with the five-year-old daughter. We walk past a house where I don’t know the residents, unfortunately a too common occurrence.

In any case, there are about a dozen tween or young teen boys gathered along a stairway near the side of the house, with at least one adult male, when one of the boys yells out “faggot!”

I take a couple steps before I start looking around to see who he’s yelling at.

“Yeah, I’m talking to you!”

At first, I think to to say nothing, but then wheel around and say, “Do you really think that’s appropriate,” and walk away.

LAME response!

Afterwords, I pondered. What was I doing that would make someone that I heretofore had not even noticed refer to me as a bundle of sticks? It probably was my long-sleeve jacket, which I wear even on hot, sunny days like that one lest I get sunburn on my arms. Since the vitiigo, this is a real concern.

I came up with my treppenwitz response: “You are a castrato!” He probably wouldn’t have known what that meant, but to my mind, it was satisfying, in the moment at least, for it would have addressed the fact that he could be “brave” and yell out 30 feet from the street while he was with his pack, knowing my response would be limited while I was with my child. Pretty damn clever of him, too.

So, what would YOU have done? I know it’s a moot point. With the prescription sunglasses I was wearing – good for reading, not distance – I wouldn’t even necessarily recognize him.

If my child weren’t there, maybe my response would have been different.

Or maybe my initial response, to do nothing, was the best?

And I’m peeved more with the adult, who said and did nothing, at least during this brief exchange.

Treppenwitz: I Should Have Thought of That Sooner

I learned a new word last year, treppenwitz. OK, “learned” might be overstating it, because it subsequently slipped my mind.

It’s of German origin, as you might surmise. It’s that phenomenon that takes place when someone angers or frustrates you; the moment passes, and then 15 minutes later, you come up with that perfect rejoinder that would have turned your antagonist into a puddle of despair. Or so you would believe.

That smackdown to the rude driver you eviscerate, instead of saying, “You…you…”
Putting racist/sexist/homophobic commenters in their place with a such rapier-like wit that they are slackjawed.

I listen to the political talk shows or the Jerry Springer-type shows – in some ways, they’re pretty much the same – and I know that if I were on one of them, I would suffer mightily, not because I don’t have my facts or a sense of my own convictions, but because I’d likely get caught up trying to match snark with snark.

Ultimately, I think I’ll stick with the written word thing. This is not to say that, someday, I wouldn’t want to do a podcast. But it’d be MY podcast, or on a civil and friendly podcast of someone else’s.
Speaking of words, I seriously had no idea of the primary meaning of the word ‘teabagging’ until this week, though someone said it was mentioned by a character in The 40-Year Old Virgin, which I saw. I think the tea party notion is silly; it may have been Arthur of AmeriNZ who said, “Taxation without reprsentation? I thought they were from the District of Columbia!” which DOES suffer from that political malady.
Because I like it: Susan Boyle.


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