Wednesday, September 05, 2007

The art of the insult.

Today I nearly killed a woman.

She would have been no great loss to humanity, I’m sure. The average IQ of the country would have risen with her demise. But I didn’t kill her.

Driving along the UK’s narrow roads is difficult at the best of times, but it’s the unexpected hazards you really have to watch out for. Such as the woman who parked then flung open her car door as I approached - and then stepped into the road. Apparently the reason car doors have mirrors fixed to them has escaped her.

I hit the brakes. I’d have preferred to hit her but we have laws. Many, many laws – but that’s for another day. She scowled at me, presumably for having the temerity to scowl at her first and mouth Certain Words through my windscreen at her. Then she swung the door almost closed.

It made no difference. She was wider than the door. A beach-ball in a dress. I had to wait until she closed the door and left the road entirely before I could continue on my way.

I wondered how someone with both the appearance and intelligence of a jellyfish could drive a car, and how she had survived so long. I spent the rest of the journey inventing new expletives.

My long-deceased Uncle Toby would have been proud. He was a master of the insult, able to conjure an imaginative retort in any situation, often leaving his victim baffled as to whether they had been insulted or not.

His wife, Aunt Rhian, once complained that he thought her unintelligent. Uncle Toby’s immediate response was: “Don’t be silly. Whenever I see anything sharp, yours is the first face that comes to mind.”

She once accused him of having an affair. “That’s ridiculous. I’ve married one woman. What on Earth would I want with another one?”

My mother, his sister, did her best to ignore him. I recall one visit where he commented on the food. “I am amazed at your cooking abilities, dear sister. Pork, chicken, beef, you can cook anything and make it all taste the same.”

I’ve often wondered if he took those quotes from others, but so far I have found no previous utterances on record. I think they are Uncle Toby originals.

If Uncle Toby is in Hell, I pity Satan.


joanne said...

i like how you write. it flows

Southern Writer said...

I would love your Uncle Toby. I think you might take after him quite a bit.

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