Ever have one of those experiences where you’ve just thought of a line so unbelievably clever and pithy that you can hardly wait get to the words out of your mouth? The kind of line that you just know will be one for the ages? Or at least for the next 5 minutes?
I came up with a line like that many years ago. It sounded fantastic in my head. Epic. But when I delivered it, it went over like the proverbial lead balloon.
It happened at work. A bunch of us were shooting the breeze. We were discussing a female coworker who was dating a few different guys, all of whom were handsome and successful and nice and funny. I was single at the time and more than a little envious of her bevy of beaus. She had a bunch of suitors and I had none?!?! Pffffft. I said something snarky, I don’t remember what. One of the guys started ribbing me. “What, are you bitter??” And I said—wait for it……
“No, I’m not bitter, I’m just a little tart!”
Now, again, in my head, this was a line so magnificent that it could have been written by the love child of Noel Coward, Dorothy Parker, and Mae West. But out loud, not so much. I got nothing. Crickets. Bupkes. They just looked at me.
And what did I do? I made it worse by trying to explain it. “You know, because tart is kind of like bitter but it can also mean a woman who’s . . . “
I just trailed off after that because I knew I had lost them. I stood there awkwardly for a few seconds before suddenly remembering that I had to be elsewhere immediately.
But I like to think my line would have been a big hit at the Algonquin Round Table.