Sunday, June 11, 2006

Smart Ass

You know the scenes: the situation is critical, fates and futures hang by a thread - and the Good Guys toss off some smart remark.
I seriously love it.
Not everyone does. They may consider that response/attitude unrealistic, light-minded and casual.
Those critics remind me of the wife of a friend visiting my husband in hospital.
She brought a pot of sober chrysanthemums in funereal shade and examined my Hong Kong whore outfit with a disapproving eye.
I should have been wearing about-to-be-widowed weeds and a dolorous countenance, you see.
The effect that pessimistic dress might have had on a high-risk patient about to go for a quadruple by-pass was immaterial.
When stress and tension become too acute, I get giddy and mouthy.
So I can relate - in a paltry, picaune way - to those smart-assed remarks, you see.
To me, they read realism.
You may know what the security surrounding a hospital's intensive care unit is like, even for families.
Something similar to a correction facility.
On another occasion, I was standing by my husband's bed, holding his almost-blue fingers, eyeing the tubes and the monitors, when in walks yet-another-doctor.
A new one.
Not the one who told me my husband might not last the night.
He paused and took in my son-in-law holding up the wall in his bodyguard pose.
He looked me over and said, "Are you Family?"
Something snapped.
"Why no," I said.
"We just walked in off the street. Visit room by room. Munchausen-by-proxy-by-proxy, you know."
Months later at a check-up, he remembered me.
Maybe it was the teeth.


Dennie McDonald said...

Smart Asses Unite!

My first thought - no matter the situation - is flippant/sarcastic. I cannot help it. The DH has on many occasion told me to keep my mouth shut (in a nice way) as lawyers, realtors, doctors (you know the ones who may control our happiness at that moment) don't often appreciate the abundance of my whit and charm!

Jaye Wells said...


Love it!

I like a good tension-relieving comment too, and am usually the one making one. It can backfire though. Note to self, some people don't appreciate humor at a funeral.

Erik Ivan James said...

People more often refer to me as "asshole" than "smart ass". Sometimes, though, they call me both in the same sentence.

Dennie McDonald said...

Erik - I think if I wasn't a girl the same would be said about me... at least by two people I know - LOL

Bernita said...

Eh, Dennie, relatives are excluded.Especially those ones.
The pained and puzzled looks, I'm-not-on-this-train, are a hoot though.

If they call you that, Erik, then what are they?

The trick is to make them absolutely dead-pan, Jaye. And admire that halt-step after they've turned away and it hits them.

Usually I'm very convenable and decorous, but there are moments when I cannot help it and the little demon erupts.
So, I enjoy that in fiction.

S. W. Vaughn said...


Oh, Bernita, I'm so jealous! I also love the smart-assed hero moments in fiction, mostly because I wish I could come up with something like that at just the right time. I always think of it afterwards, of course, when it's too late.

But daaaamn! That was a GOOD one! Of course that doctor would remember you. :-)

Bernita said...

Hee, Dear Girl, I have to confess these moments are rare.
Wisdoms usually grind wisdoms.
But the older I get the better - now it usually takes me only three days to think of a retort rather than the three weeks it did previously.
But ever now and then, it's "damn your eyes."

Flood said...

I know what you mean by this, completely. When we went through the adoption process, 100 social workers asked us the same questions over a year. I started getting bored by my response and wanted to add a little personality to the interviews. It was stressful time, being interrogated so much.

One time, when asked why I felt I was fit to adopt I said, "Well I haven't killed the three I have yet, that should count for something."

I also plan for retorts when I know ridiculous statements are coming. When someone decides I look too young to have a 15 year old, I inform them that I am expecting my first grandchild next week.

Sadly, wry humour is not apprecuated by everyone.

kmfrontain said...

Sadly, in real life, I'm one of those slow people that don't react in time to the blind rudeness of people that "know what's best". I've gotten better over the years, but sometimes I'm still struggling with being polite rather than pulling off the blinkers on the "know best" set.

I love that you wore a bright dress at the hospital, Bernita. Were I a patient, I would hate to have funereal anything with me, friends or flowers or dress, even if I was waiting for my last breath.

And that husband of yours got better, didn't he?

Bernita said...

One can hardly blame you, Flood. The endless interrogation must have made you feel like a defecting spy.

Yes, he did, KM. Thank you.
He said it helped.

Our mothers have something to answer for, I think at times.
They dinned and drummed politeness and a peculiar form of noblesse oblige into our heads and neglected to consider other proprietary values.

kmfrontain said...

That's exactly it. When not balanced with a growth of self-worth, you end up with unintended self-efacement or timidity. Too many girls are taught absolute politeness rather than self-affirmative politeness. There's a difference.

Bernita said...

So we had instances where some female was felt up on a streetcar because she couldn't get "don't make a scene" out of her head.

Gabriele C. said...

Oh, I can get very nasty about gropers in busses.

"Driver, can you please, take an extra round through the Bahnhofstrasse? There's a guy here who needs a whore. Very urgently." Loud enough for everyone to hear.

The guy bolted the next station - which was not Bahnhofstrasse.

Or that one. "Stop staring. You can't afford my prices anyway."

The guy who tried to impress me with Lacoste, Rolex and other attributes. "Who embroidered that cute lite crocodile on you short? You mother?" - "You don't expect me to creep inside a Porsche? I'm use to a Maibach." He gave up at that point.

Bernita said...

It SATISFIES just reading retorts like these, Gabriele.
A cut above "Get your hand off my behind! You pervert!"

Gabriele C. said...

My father taught me there are situation where Nice just doesn't work.

My tracher was shocked when I swept the floor with the class bully, but he never again bullied me. And my father just laughed when she visited him a-complaining about my un-girly behaviour.

Candice Gilmer said...

i like smart assed characters as well, myself, being a wannabe smartass, I don't always give over to the urge to do it.

I can...

Course, nothing comes to mind....

I usually need a good glass of wine. :)

But in reading, I get the biggest kick out of reading those humorous remarks -- in a book, "In Enemy Hands" by Michelle Perry, I just about lost it when one of the characters teases the heroine as she sets up for a birthday party for the hero. The smart alec says "You got everything here, except a pony ride!"
Heroine's retort: "Just a jackass for this party-- go get your saddle, it's over there." (This is of course from memory, and probably not perfectly accurate, but I loved it.)

Bernita said...

Your father showed excellent good sense, Gabrielle.

Delightful, Candice.
Constant smart-mouth can be tiresome to read, but judicious use...oh yes.

Bonnie Calhoun said...

Oh...oh...I'm sorry I'm late to the's been a hectic day!

This post is right up my, my alley! LOL..

Oh, oh...*she waves her hand wildly* You're talking about me...ROFLOL...I'm always in trouble for that smart-assed comment....LOL...especially in church.

When Pastor lowers his head and talks through the top of his eyes...LOL...I know i said something good to someone.

And I'm an equal opportunity basher...even did the deadpan to a visiting evangelist once...LOL my act stupid, you get stupid! And that'll hold 'em! LOL

Bernita said...

Bonnie, I do believe we were separated at birth.

Bonnie Calhoun said...

Sister!!!! said...

ha, I love smartass comments, but I have five siblings, so it came natural. said...

oops I think I sent that too early, but I wanted to thank you for your comment about my book