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Wednesday, August 26, 2009

It Burns! It Burns!

The art of the insult, the put-down, is being lost, people; and already I’m picturing the sorry day when someone says “You know, you don’t sweat as much as I thought you would,” and there’s no one there to counter it with something other than a scatological response.

Come on! Not everything is related to body functions! I mean, anyone can pull out the odd four-letter invitation to near-impossible physical feats. I, for example, am quite good at it. I don’t swear much in my blog because you just never know who you’re talking to, but in real life I’ve been known to push a four-letter word to hyphenated heights usually reserved for the married and those in the Armed Services.

And regarding the art of the insult, I’m not talking just any insult. Frankly, they’re tiresome and hardly worth the raised eyebrow and “aww, shaddap” that they deserve.

I’m talking about the well-placed barb lain on a field of truism (and served with a smile). There are not enough true practitioners – particularly those who never point it toward the unarmed – and I think it’s time something was done about it.

And who better than the citizens known for their love of words and communication to bring it back?

In case that wasn’t clear, I was talking about us.

See? That was a “slight burn”, as we used to say, right there. Not much of a burn, it’s true, but it’s there.

My brother, whom I refer to, with only the best of regards, as “Kiki”, called me – in a reference to racing great Mario Andretti – as “Mario Amphetamine”, as in “Whoa! Slow down there, Mario Amphetamine!

Keek is a practitioner and deliverer of the First Degree Burn.

“You know, Mom bet against me, but danged if I’m not going to win this time! Looks like I will be able to walk by you with an open beer and not be thrown to the ground. You know, I was hoping I was right, but…”

Nice burn, but not great.

The most memorable burns are those that strike one as funny even when you really should be angry.

When we were teenagers, Keek used to “borrow” my car – and by “borrow” I am implying something just this side of “stealing”. He would take it at, oh, 10:00 at night and return it at 5:00 in the morning, full of bottles, beach sand, butt-shaped wet spots on my upholstery that would take days to dry.

Sometimes it would even be on “E”.

I was getting ready to go to work when he stopped me, one morning, on my way to the car.

“You know those two blown speakers you got in the Falcon?”


A sly smile slide across his lips. “You should get a couple more blown-out speakers, do it up right. You know, really rock that car out.”

Why you little...

Burn on me.


Prefers Her Fantasy Life said...

Good one. I'm stealing it!

powdergirl said...

I have to admit to being pretty knee-jerk in my actual nose to nose verbal sparring.

I don't know how often I've used the expression "shut your f**king pie-hole" as an opener. I can't help it, I blurt.

But interfamily disputes are definitely better thought out and waaaay closer to the bone : )

darsden said...

OMGosh we soooo owned the lite blue falcon...I still remember that car and I was under 5...

Good times with brother LOL

I love a good pickin going on myself!

Pearl said...

Prefers Her Fantasy Life, :-)

Powdergirl, you're right! I can be a bit aggressive myself, but I do so enjoy the JABS!

Dar, It's kind of fun, isn't it, picking a bit at the people who can take it -- and return it!

Comedy Goddess said...

I'm not good at the written burn. In person I am Kathy Griffin.

SparkleFarkle said...

Frankly, I'm tired of insults serving as humor, or otherwise. The only one who actually does it kind-heartedly is the Master: Don Rickles. Hail to The Chief, I say, but in the hands of others (most of whom I'm sure Mr. Rickles finds to be embarrassments), it's become a Perez Hiltonville out there that I can do without. People are becoming mean and meaner, and I think they're enjoying it. I like a joke as well as the next person and I CAN laugh at myself, because that's fun and funny, too. But I no longer "lighten up," as bulliers insist, whenever their insensitive remarks and unkindnesses are expected to be regarded as acceptable humor. As I see it, today's insult "comics" are pretty unhappy people. Give me Don Rickles anyday.

ICKY said...

My views on burns come from Johnny Carson

"Never use a big word when a little filthy one will do."

Douglas said...

I have found that there are way too many variables involved for an old guy like me to be as effective in my clever insults. The same with compliments. For example, the remark...

I like the way you jiggle

...was fine when she was in her twenties. Something happened in the ensuing years, however.

Pearl said...

CG, I would like to see that!

Sparkle, no, I never advocate just outright insults, and perhaps that didn’t come across correctly. But there’s something to be said, I think, for friends that are free to take a look at something and say, “hey! A lot of people couldn’t pull off wearing that outfit. Good for you.” It’s not for everyone, of course. You can’t talk like that to your boss, and you can’t talk like that to people who are sensitive – and usually you know who those people are. I could’ve written this better – “insult” is the wrong word. “Burn” is correct, the way we used to use it, or maybe just a “dig”…

Icky, nice. :-)

Douglas, you know? You have a really good point there!

A Mom on Spin said...

I was here.

I read.

I laughed.

I can think of nothing witty to say right now, so I'm just reporting in . .

Not The Rockefellers said...

The burn I always, always fall for is the "Who sings that?" burn.

It works because of it's two part ego stroke.

You're belting out a tune at the Shop & Save
Your friend asks "Who sings that?"

a)You weren't asked to stop singing.

b)You can flex your vast music knowledge muscle.

"Why it's Muskrat Love by Captain & Tennille"

It's an effective burn for it's follow up singe...

"Let's keep it that way!"


Peace - Rene

Chris@Maugeritaville said...

I still prefer the classics. Up your nose with a rubber hose.

fingers said...

Are you kidding...I've dedicated my life to being rude...

Kavi said...

So the armed service and marriage gives a licence thats beyond anything else.

Thats neat !! Ofcourse, i knew. It burns, you see !


Rita said...

Trip down memory lane. My first car was a 1968 Ford Falcon which my father painted with a mixture of leftover other paint in our garage. All became an ugly brown.

Not a pretty look, plus no power steering and the heater would NEVER get warm.

Thank you Lord that I am not 16 again!

The Jules said...

Your mum is good at burns!