Looking for a quick retort

I have the best of intentions.

It could be someone you run into in the convenience store or someone you see on the street, it doesn’t really matter. They say or do something rude and demeaning. I want to comeback with a one-liner or a quick retort that puts the offending party in their place and takes the tension out of the moment. 

Despite my best of intentions, I’m usually the one left grasping for words. I search for the right ones that will make everything right again, but they seem to run away from me. We’ve all faced these types of situations. Lately, I’ve seen to have my share of these experiences. 

When I do have a comeback or a zinger, it feels more like the proverbial equivalent of the neighborhood tattletale crying out in a whiney voice, “sticks and stones may break my bones, but names will never hurt me. 


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Uncharted territory: Taking a leap of faith

A coworker ran up to me in the parking lot in a panic. I’ve been helping her prepare for a job interview for a new position with our company. She wanted my advice on how to approach a sensitive question.

A friend I worked with years ago has been considering a career switch. He’s unhappy in his job and is close to quitting and going into business for himself. Fortunately he’s in the financial position to make the move, but wants to be sure before he makes the jump. Another friend is struggling with what to do with a sick parent, whether a visiting nurse will be enough or if she should consider admitting her to a nursing home.

To top it off, my 17-year-old son and many of his friends are thinking about their options next year. He’s applied and been accepted to several colleges, but also is thinking about serving in the armed forces.

It must be that time of year. I feel like everyone I’ve come across lately is burdened down by a challenging decision related to career, college or the future.


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Uh-oh moments

I’ve had a few moments lately. You know the kind. You hit the send button on a key email and the note you wanted to go to two people goes to twenty. You scramble to recall the note, to pull it back, but you come up with nothing but thin air. It’s too late the note has already been delivered and opened.

Your heart sinks faster than one of the deck chairs on the Titanic to the icy bottom of the North Atlantic. You throw your hands up in frustration and fall back in your chair. We all have these types of uh-oh or “oh shit” moments.


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Lost in a world full of small talk

I’m awestruck by my wife.

We’ll walk into a room together. It could be a room full of friends and family or full of strangers. I’ll go to hang up our coats, to the restroom, or simply turn my back for a minute and I’ll return to find her in the middle of a large group of people deep in conversation.

The topic of conversation could be the most recent presidential election, how late our son’s school bus driver is every day, or even the winner of last year’s Super Bowl. It doesn’t matter. In short, she’s a people person. She shrugs it off, but in reality she loves chit-chatting and talking with people.


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Betcha you can’t put down this blog

I walk into the room straight out of a scene from a James Bond movie. I have on a crisp, blue suit and gray tie. I reek of class and sophistication. I walk with purpose as the crowd steps back to let me through to the center table. A roulette wheel, black jack, poker, the particular game doesn’t matter.

The room falls to a whisper as I step up to the edge of the table and nod to the dealer. I flash a slight smile and place my bet. I have everyone’s attention. The dealer goes into action. There’s a hush and in unison the crowd lets out a deep breath as I win. I nod again and let my winnings ride. Of course, I win again, and again, and again, and again.

Okay, you get the picture. That’s the dream. I’m a high roller and everything’s coming up roses.

Now here’s the reality and here’s why I’ve never been much of a gambler or even a risk-taker for that matter.



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Bouncing back takes work

My legs felt like they were weighted down by 20-pound anchors. With each step, my lower back sent violent spasms of pain that fanned out to the rest of my body. My lungs felt even worse. I took in big gulps of air, but they burned and I couldn’t seem to get my breath under control.

My running GPS app let me know that I had passed the seven-mile marker.  I groaned at the reminder that I still had four more miles to go on my run.

I cursed myself for being too aggressive in my weekly long run. I could’ve turned around earlier, but had gone too far and now I had to make my way back or, God forbid, be forced to walk. I cursed myself too for posting on Social Media my goal to run a few races and possibly a marathon in the fall.

I really wanted to stop and walk, but I also had a goal of no walking. “Why did I do that?” I questioned. “You idiot, you can’t stop now.” A clear catch-22.


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‘Welcome to my parlor,’ said the spider to the fly

I pulled into the driveway recently exhausted from a long day. I had one of those days where I was running the minute I got into work, right up until the minute I left.

Unfortunately for me, my day wasn’t done. I left work and ran to several afterschool events and errands that kept me out well into the evening and left me physically and mentally exhausted.

I was ready for the week to be over and for the weekend to start. I felt like I had been gobbled up and spewed out by the events of the day. When I got home, I grabbed a glass of milk and stood in my kitchen flipping through the day’s mail.  When I looked up, I happened to notice a large imposing spider outside the kitchen window. The spider was attracted to the light coming from the kitchen and looked to be the king of its castle, strolling up up-and-down each side of its massive web.


My first thought was to make a mental note to clean the outside window over the weekend. Prepare to say goodbye Mr. Spider. My second thought was to acknowledge the massive web the spider had created and the work that went into making it. I half expected to see “Some Pig,” straight out of the book, “Charlotte’s Web,” scrawled in it. The web was quite impressive, to be exact, it was an engineering marvel. 

While I stood there, a moth flittered against the window. I tapped on the window in an attempt to scare the moth away, but that only made the moth flitter even more. Before it knew what happened, the moth was caught in the spider’s web. The moth desperately tried to flee, but it seemed to get even more entangled.

Soon the spider looked to be playing with its prey. I learned later that spiders literally vomit digestive matter on their prey, tenderizing its food so-to-speak, before they eat it. Yes, I know pretty disgusting. 

Watching this scene play-out, I quickly lost my appetite. A small part of me, though, felt thankful, even appreciative that my day hadn’t been as bad as it could have been. My day was crazy, but certainly ten times better than the moths. When I started thinking about it, I stopped feeling sorry for myself and started to think about all the things I was grateful for, including being busy.

Yes, I like to be in more control of my day, I like calmer, smoother days, but I’ll take a busy day over being the moth any day of the week. I remain no fan of spiders, but I have new perspective and am grateful for the spider for helping me to see the light at the end of the tunnel. I reminded myself that I would soon have the weekend to recharge my batteries and get me rolling again.  

Now about that spider’s web in my window. Mr. Spider, let me grab the outside water hose, some window cleaner, and let’s talk about the “circle of life.”