Timely comebacks are slow to arrive

I have to admit, I was very disappointed with George ?Walker Texas President? Bush a few weeks ago when he got a shoe thrown at him by an Iraqi reporter.

After the attack all he did was motion for people to relax and sit down.

I think Bush could have done better. You know, he could have said something to break the tension or belittle the offending journalist or even express a more serious reaction to the American public.

I can think of a few punny responses off the top of my head.

?Sir, you definitely did not put your best foot forward,? comes to mind.

Another possibility is, ?I?m a sole man.?

Even, ?Oh my, a shoe-icide bomber? would have been decent.

And if nothing else, Bush could have at least stated, ?I don?t know what to say; I?m tongue-tied.?

This just goes to show that it is nearly impossible to come up with a witty comeback when the best opportunities arise for one.

I am particularly afflicted by this. Even when just a normal response is appropriate, I tend to say something dumb.

Case in point, at least one out of 10 times after being complimented for some sort of performance I will invariably respond to the ?Good job? with a ?You too.?

I will admit, however, that a few years ago I did manage to say something a teensy bit funny.

My mom took me to a garage sale and I was in one of those don?t-talk-to-me-or-look-at-me-or-get-close-to-me-because-I?m-a-teenager-and-cranky-for-no-apparent-reason moods.

Mom had given me a couple dollars to make a purchase. I bought whatever it was I wanted, got my change and shuffled back to my mom to return the change. I did almost all of this looking at my shoes.

I went to where I had left her and held out my hand with the coins in it.


Then she said, ?That?s not mine.?

I looked up to see a woman, who had definitely not given birth to me, standing in front of me.

It was then that I had a maximum of two seconds to come up with something to say.

In that amount of time, I distinctly remember thinking, ?Oh, wow, this is embarrassing. There?s no way to fix this. You?re stuck. You may as well just say something dumb.?

Staring the woman straight in the eyes, I said ?You?re not my mommy? and walked away.

Looking back at the situation now, I realize that I probably could have recovered more maturely. Please bear in mind that this is actually my better comeback, though.

Correct me if I?m wrong, but if you were to see a shopping cart with only one or two small items sitting by itself near the front of the store, wouldn?t you just assume that it had been rudely abandoned?

My girlfriend Shelby and I made that fatal assumption during a trip to a Wal-Mart.

We ended up picking up more than what we had planned on, so we were looking for a deserted cart to dump our stuff in so we could continue shopping.

As if on cue, we walked by a shopping cart standing all alone with a single package of Oreo cookies in it. We set the Oreos aside, put our stuff in and began walking away.

Then an angry voice: ?Sir! Sir!?

Shelby and I turned around to see a tall and?I use this term to be polite?portly man running at us with the package of Oreos in one hand and a Diet Coke in the other.

He caught up to us and said, ?Where do you get off just taking stuff out of a person?s cart and walking away with it??

The man proceeded to inform me that I was rude, a jerk, stupid, inconsiderate, a moron and selfish.

When he was finished, I drew on all my communication skill and wit as a columnist of six and a half years and said, ?Grbh.?

Or at least something like that came out of my throat.

We did offer to give his cart back, but he told us to forget it and stormed off, cookies and pop in hand. I didn?t know what else to do.

But now I?ve had a few months to think about the situation, so sir, if you happen to be reading this: Why do you need a shopping cart for a package of Oreo cookies and a Diet Coke anyway? And how hard is it to take your cart with you to get a soda? No matter what, you were over 20 feet away from the cart and it did not have your name written on it, so I in no way violated any Wal-Mart Shopping Cart Code of Conduct Rules. So there. Stick that in your Diet Coke and smoke it.

* * *

UFO: The Golden Gate Bridge (4,200 feet) is 28,800 Oreo cookies long, and the St. Louis Arch (630 feet) is 15,120 Oreo cookies high.

Don?t ask why.

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