With so many living lessons from the Banter Jedi Masters (hello, Deb!), you’d think I could rock this whole arena of life, but I confess I am a Quipster wannabe. I routinely hear myself coming up with banter that verges on the inanely incomprehensible. Before I’ve even formed the thought behind the things I want to say, strange words or variations thereof stumble from my mouth.
Passing the same British couple every morning on the beach in Antigua, already having exchanged a few pleasantries over the days, now arriving at the Quipping Point:
Them: You were the dancing queen on the dance floor last night.
Me: Hey, mock me if you want, but I didn’t see you two out there lumming it up.
We share polite laughter as I walk on (shaking my head to myself: “Lumming it up???”)
At a party where, for a moment, a young child becomes the focus of attention amid general party banter.
Me: Are you going to play a song for us on your guitar?
Him: Yes. I’ve been practicing.
Me: You’re going to be like the next (everyone waits, including kid, this is gonna be good)… awesome …(what’s she gonna say?) like, jam … rocker … dude.
A quiet second of WTF before the kid grins and nods (even at 8 he understands he must rescue me from my social mire), while the adults around us politely chuckle.
Or there is the real conversational gaffe. Saying real words in a sensible order but making no intelligent sense. Chatting with a film director with whom I’ve just finished shooting, me so respectful of her work.
She: (in answer to my question) Yeah, I just finished working on a novel.
Me: That’s wonderful. Fiction or non-fiction?
She: Um, isn’t a novel always fiction?
Me: Mmfle-murf. (as I run off to quaff a glass of wine, never to idle banter with her again)
The truth is, here’s the good news: people don’t care! They smile and nod their heads in agreement, sometimes even laugh at the supposed punchline of my “joke”. If not for the lingering sound of my own words echoing in my ear I would possibly remain forever ignorant of my quip ineptitudes.
Sadly, I hear the echo. (“The horror, the horror.”)
Deb: It’s funny because we were joking that this weekend I was Shecky McGrath. Everything was a quip and that sort of became a joke in itself. I love the quip, I love wit and I am sure Barb that you do yourself a great disservice. But next time you throw out a lame one, just in case ... pretend you’re drunk.