Tuesday, March 15, 2016

The Perfect Response

I never have as much to say in the morning before I've done anything and at night, when I'm full of stories like when the man near the top of the mountain on the blustery day told me I was having a bad hair day, I'm too tired to write about it.

Well then, I just did write about it, didn't I? The bastard. I looked at his balding head. I couldn't think of anything to say about his hair, or lack of it.

Sometimes you want to go back up the trail to that same situation, to that same grouping of people who snickered when he said what he said and you want to redo the conversation. You think you might come up with that perfect reply.

Say, I was coming down from the top of Rattlesnake Ledge. Let's say I was elated because I was past four miles and would hit 6.4 on Runkeeper by the time I got back to my car. Let us also say that I had an adrenaline rush from having a slight case of dizziness combined with the gusting wind at the top. And suppose that a group of us were on our knees or sitting up there because of the howling wind that pushed through that crevice in the ledge that always seems to threaten to succumb to gravity and fall onto the trail below. We looked to the West to see another ugly front on it's way toward us. So, I had spent less time than I would have liked at the panoramic view of mountains and valley and nasty weather headed in our direction and I had traipsed happily back down the trail.

"Hello," he would say the way he did yesterday and he would have stopped to chat the way he had then too.

"Nice weather up at the ledge," I said. "You're almost there. When you get there, you can see the next front coming in from the West." I would have replied just the way I did. I had pointed though trees and steep hillside that blocked our view and shielded us from the wind. More weather was coming.

"I can see that. It's bad enough to cause you a three-alarm bad hair day, huh?" he said. That was when the boys behind him snickered.

"I hadn't thought about the way I looked," I actually said before I added, "Have a nice hike." Then, I walked on down the hill, stewing the way a person does when they miss an opportunity to parry after having been wounded by someone's words.

In a perfect world, I would have found other lines, trying out one after another in a forgiving space-time continuum until I got it right. Have you ever seen the outtakes of a Jonah Hill movie where they let him riff until he nails it? So, in my imagination on the way down the ridge, I tried out other responses to my fellow hiker.

"Why would I give a crap about your opinion of my looks? I don't recall asking for any opinions that came from that radiant head of yours." Lame.


"I'd rather be an ugly woman than a short, chubby dick-wad with snot-squad spawn like yours." I don't like insulting anyone's children.


"Are you training these two sperm-stripes how to treat your momma?" I couldn't insult his momma.


"Did you know that you're standing here out of the wind and it already took off the whole top of your head. You'd better put on a hat before you get to the ledge or you'll be completely bald coming back down."

I'm not ready for a blockbuster movie. I could never say any of those things to an actual human being no matter what they said to me. That's why those movies are so great. Sometimes I wish I could.

Thank you for listening, jules

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