Thursday, May 28, 2009

L'Esprit d'escalier

L'esprit d'escalier, the elegant French idiom attributed to Diderot that translates roughly as "I shoulda said," doesn't exactly apply to those little jokes I make to myself when there's no one around to hear (or sneer at) them, but it's a similar situation. The "wit of the staircase" refers to the realization of a wonderful retort that you've thought of after you leave the party or whatever and are descending the stairs, presumably to go home. It doesn't actually apply to the marvelous witticism that occurred to me one day, when a bus driver announced what seemed to sound like, "Next stop Lexginton Avenue." Regrettably, there was no one with me to whom I could say, "I think he means dysLexington Avenue." What a loss. Today wasn't quite as good. The driver just sang out, "Lex is nex'." Better than nothing.

No comments: