Day 184: How memorable is your everyday conversation?Posted: July 3, 2011
“Find out by writing down everything you say. Highlight your wittiest phrases.”
Even my wittiest off-the-cuff moments are not that witty — and on those rare occasions when I stun my audience (myself included) with a flash of rhetorical, punning brilliance, merely writing down the one thing I said would not do the moment justice.
Context is important: no matter how funny the punchline, it’s not funny at all without the setup, and impromptu punchlines — bons mots — are the hardest to recreate, because nobody’s really paying enough attention to the setup to reconstruct it after the fact.
Most wit doesn’t keep. Some of it does, of course — none of mine, but that of wittier folks — but what wit does keep is kept in writing, and wit that is written down is embellished and refined in the writing. Something like that.
The small amount of conversational wittiness I do have is in my taciturnity — because brevity is the soul of wit — and so I’m going to spend the rest of this post recounting the parts of my conversations today when I could have said something, and didn’t: