I dunno about you, but I'd like to think I'm quite witty and sharp.
I'm probably not, but I'd like to think I am.
But when the time comes when I really need a witty put-down, I just always seem to get tongue-tied. It never comes out right.
Like the other day - I was up the shops, right, and this fat kid goes:
"Whoo! Look at you with your big hair and your gay moustache!"
I was just shocked. Too shocked to respond - so I just kept on walking and ignored the fat little fucker, but inside it was burning me up.
I thought of loads of answers, but by then it was too late.
I hate lippy kids. Gobshites.
Then one day at work, this big bastard says to me - "Jesus, you're an ugly bastard," and before I could respond he'd gone. Moved on. And all me mates were, like, sniggering and shit.
So I thought: I've had enough of this. I'm not ever going to let another moron - ever - get the better of me. In a verbal exchange like.
So what I did was, I looked on the internet, and they had this book for sale called '1000,001 Witty Ripostes For Every Occasion.'
Right, I thought. I'm having some of that. I'll never be short of a witty riposte ever again.
So I sent off me £9.99 and three days later the postman delivered a registered package.
It was the book. The book of miracles. No longer need I be a victim.
As I signed for the package, on me doorstep, the postman says to me:
"Don't they sell razors round here then?" - a feeble joke referencing my unshaven appearance.
But I let it go. Resolving that it would be the last put-down I ever endured without a withering riposte. Smiled to meself I did, and I knew that those days were now firmly in the past.
The book was brilliant.
Packed with one-liners from the likes of Groucho Marx, Noel Coward, Oscar Wilde, Quentin Crisp, Bernard Manning and Richard Pryor. Billy Connolly and Jack Dee. Stephen Fry and Mel Brooks.
I studied that book. Fantastic it was. Learned the million and one witty ripostes for every occasion.
I was locked and loaded. Ready to come out swinging.
And guess what?
No fucker insulted me.
It was as if they knew! The bastards. It was like they were scared.
So anyway, where was I? Oh yeah. I took me niece to the circus for a birthday treat. No messing about. Front row seats, 99s with two proper Cadbury's flakes and raspberry sauce - the full monty.
For a circus trip.
I suppose I'd let me guard down a bit - I mean, a 22 year old Ukrainean blonde chick in a skimpy outfit straddling a Palomino pony, legs akimbo, in the air, tends to have that effect on a man.
But I was all right.
Then the clowns came on.
Now, don't get me wrong on this - as a kid, I loved the clowns. Maybe that's why I married a woman with big feet and a shit car.
But they seem a bit sinister these days - the clowns.
Ronald Mac, Stephen King and all that. They just seem kind of sinister now. Anyway, they're doing their act, and this clown with a microphone singles me out. Spotlight, drum roll, the works. It went like this:
CLOWN: Good evening sir. And what's your name?
ME: People just call me Skoob.
CLOWN: And where are you from Skoob?
ME: Somewhere in that direction. I think. (Pointing)
CLOWN: You're in showbiz, am I right?
ME: No. Never done showbiz.
CLOWN: Didn't you once play the front end of the donkey in a school pantomime?
ME: Don't remember that...
CLOWN: Or was it the rear end of the donkey?
ME: Nah. (Embarrassed.) Don't remember that either.
CLOWN: So - you've never played the front end of a donkey, or the back end of a donkey?
CLOWN: So basically you're no end of an ass!
Me world collapsed. The audience cracked up. And there I was with the spotlight on me, humiliated again. Belittled. Dehumanised. Totally humiliated by this circus clown...
Then I remembered the book. The adrenalin surged.
The clown put the microphone close to my lips.
And I uttered the immortal words:
"Fuck off you red nosed cunt!"