by Nancy Scott
Stealing clever phrases and writing ideas is something I do all the time.
I told my friend David that I’d used his getting lost while we were going to a writers’ meeting, in an essay. And I correctly wrote that he didn’t confess lostness right away. “I have news for you,” he immediately informed me. “Sometimes it takes me awhile to figure out that I’m lost.” Now that was something I’d never considered. I basically expect to get lost. It would never be something I’d have to figure out.
Vicky, during lunch at the Hoagie place said, “You like people who talk and people who are characters.”
“Do you mean I encourage people to be characters?” (Could that be true?)
“Of course,” Vicky answered, as if this were obvious.
Melanie, after only three weeks working with me, was trying to reorganize my mailing-label mess. She still preferred understatement, saying “It’s amazing what you can find in here.”
When I asked my elderly neighbor how he was feeling and he said, “I’m complaining much better now,” I knew I’d use that somewhere. I think you could use it too, if it gives you a good comeback.
Sometimes good comebacks are hard to come by. Like when Dr. M., who knew I was blind, yelled up to me one morning as I walked on my balcony, “I know what you’re doing up there. You’re birdwatching.”
The only comeback I could think of was, “They’d have to be very big, noisy birds.”
And Terry’s only attempt at anything approaching humor happened the day she couldn’t reach to dust a cabinet top. She proclaimed, “The stepladder is shrinking.” Being over 50, I understood that phenomenon.
Recently, though, we finished cleaning my large bedroom closet in record time. I complimented her, saying, “You’re so fast.”
“Well, you don’t have as much crap as you used to,” she said, straight-faced. I laughed and told her she was becoming a smart-ass. “I’ve been hanging out with you for over 20 years,” she stated. “What do you expect?”
This time my comeback was better. “Keep that up,” I warned, “and you’ll have an entire essay of your own.”
Nancy Scott, Easton, PA, is a blind essayist and poet. Her over 600 bylines have appeared in magazines, literary journals, anthologies and newspapers, and as audio commentaries. An essayist and poet, she has published three chapbooks. She won First Prize in the 2009 International Onkyo Braille Essay Contest. Recent work appears in Breath and Shadow, Contemporary Haibun Online, and Stone Voices.