Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Comeback Queen

Don't let the title fool you. This isn't going to be a post full of inspiration and triumph. Nope, I'm going a little baser today. This post is all about the snark.

I wish I was the girl with the snappy comeback. The one who can fire off snark at the speed of light. But alas, I think of really GREAT things to say a few hours (or days) too late.

Case in point: Most of you know I used to coach high school volleyball. Well for anyone out there who's never coached, I can tell you, I'd rather muck out porta-potties than deal with angry parents. Don't get me wrong, most of the parents are great. But there's always one or two who make it their life's ambition to make your life a living hell. Last fall, I had a monster team. Almost six players too many. You see, our school district's policy is NOT to cut athletes. If a student wants to play, they get to join the team. But it's not so easy. I had 16 players last year. That's almost 3 full teams. There's no way I could play all the girls all the time. And it was strongly suggested to me by my superiors that I focus on playing the girls who were capable of winning games. I mean, it is a Varsity sport after all, we're not out there for any other reason than to win.

Anyway, one parent was particularly miffed that I didn't play his daughter. It wasn't like she didn't get to play at all. I made sure she was on the court at least once. But that wasn't good enough for this particular dad. I happened to make eye contact with him at one point in the match and he stood up in the bleachers and proceeded to make some very inappropriate gestures at me. I hate confrontation. Like, HATE it, hate it. And my stomach instantly rebelled, threatening to send my lunch back the way it came. Dear old dad waited until the gym was almost completely cleared at the end of the night, made a B-line for me and proceeded to rip me up one side and down the other. Lovely.

I stood there and took it. I tried to be understanding, accommodating. I tried to explain my position. But all in all, I didn't stand up for myself. I didn't tell him that HIS behavior had been inappropriate and that HE (not me) was being a poor role model for his child. Eventually, my Athletic Director took over, and we dealt with him more than once over the course of the season and I let it slide.

But yesterday, I saw him in town and started thinking about our first encounter. And wouldn't you know it, every single snarky, awesome comeback in the world snapped into my brain. All of the uber cool "take that, asshole" things I would have liked to say waited at the tip of my tongue. And damn it, I'll never get the opportunity to put that jack-ass in his place.

Luckily, I get to use those snappy come-backs and snark in my writing. They might not pop into my head at the moment I need them, but it doesn't matter. I put them to good use, eventually.


Colene Murphy said...

Oh yea, I'm the same way most of the time. LOTS of good stuff comes after I can't stick it in someones face! But, you're right, that is where writing can help! You get to put all those wonderful comebacks in and feel so much better! (that guy sounds like a TOOL too, btw. Wow.)

Indigo said...

This brings to mind one of those t-shirts that say: 'Careful, or you'll end up in my novel.'

Whenever I get pissed off at someone, my husband chimes, "Ooh, they're going to show up in a story one of these days."

The thing is we get to pull the mask off these people, and expose them for what they are - the creep behind closed doors. (Hugs)Indigo

Tere Kirkland said...

Yup. My best comebacks are always too late. But that's the beauty part of being a writer. You save 'em for later!

Great post!

Elana Johnson said...

And this is why you are awesome. So did you quit coaching? I don't think I knew that.

Shannon O'Donnell said...

Ha ha! Isn't that the way it always seems to go? I'm the same way. It's good to know it's not a total loss, though. He he.

Jennifer Shirk said...

Oh wow. That angry parent was completely nuts. What kind of example is he setting for his child by doing that? Makes me sick.
YOu did the right thing not lowering yourself to that. Put him in your manuscript and torture him there. LOL

~Nicole Ducleroir~ said...

I'm not snark-on-the-spot either -- not when it counts at least. I agree: that's one of the greatest characteristics of writing; you can weave all the clever in, at whatever pace it occurs to you!

Sarah Bromley said...

Oh, yeah, in a confrontation, my wits either totally fail me or what I do come up with isn't safe for general consumption. And thank God for writing, otherwise all those witty comebacks I do eventually come up with would go to waste.

Abby Annis said...

I know exactly how you feel. At least we have a way to use those awesome comebacks, even if it is a little late. Great post! :)

Stina Lindenblatt said...

I'm the same way. Those witty comebacks never come when I need them. Fortunately they flow when I'm writing. ;)

ali said...

Ha! I love this! It is so, so me. Writing gives me the time to THINK up that snappy comeback and it SOUNDS snappy in my book, but really, it's been brewing for a long, long time.

Give your story a character a guy like the one in real life and then really let him have it. :D