what i should have said


Fifth grade. I am standing in a courtyard between buildings. I am wearing glasses, a white and red t-shirt printed with illustrated dalmatian puppies and hearts, and pink cotton leggings tucked into purposefully mismatched socks: one white, one red. I am very proud of how well-coordinated my outfit is. Suddenly, from across the grass, a sixth-grader with long golden hair approaches me. She is flanked by two friends.


Sixth-grader: [loudly and indignantly] “Are those your socks?”
Friends: [giggling in anticipation]
Me: [reluctantly] “… Yes.”
Sixth-grader: “That is so stupid.”
Friends: “HA HA HA HA HA HA!”
Me: [miserable]


Sixth-grader: [loudly and indignantly] “Are those your socks?”
Friends: [giggling in anticipation]
Me: “No, they’re yours. Want them back?”
Sixth-grader and friends: [silent confusion]


Sixth-grader: [loudly and indignantly] “Are those your socks?”
Friends: [giggling in anticipation]
Me: “Yep.”
Sixth-grader: “That is so stupid.”
Me: “Tell me, why I should care what you think?”
Sixth-grader and friends: [silent confusion]


“Are those your socks?” Really? They are on my goddamned FEET, what do YOU think is going on here? What an idiotic opening line. It was freaking amateur hour with this kid. And yet? It worked. Why did I let it work? Why, why, why?

On the other hand, she did have a fair point. A red sock and a white sock? What the hell was that even about?

And in case you’re wondering, WHY YES I DO STILL THINK ABOUT THESE THINGS.

19 Responses to “what i should have said”

  1. I’m glad I’m not the only one who is kept awake at night replaying humiliating gradeschool moments in my head. One particularly bad one is the time I said “orgasm” instead of “organism” while reading aloud. I’d like that one back please. Instead of crying and leaving the room I might have, you know, done ANYTHING ELSE.

  2. I have the worst case of ‘staircase wit’. Except mine is like “12 years later” wit. STUPID BRAIN.

    • Oh, indeed. How is it that on sitcoms, people always have cutting comebacks at the ready? OH RIGHT, because it’s SCRIPTED. I think that’s what I need. I need someone to write my life script for me in advance.

  3. Hey. Please do not mock the mismatched socks. I had a set of socks – they came five to a pack (yes, five) – that were varying shades of pastel sorbet type colors. And I would rock them four at a time. FOUR AT A TIME.

  4. I heart you. I went through a neon suspender phase in grade school until someone pointed out how completely lame it was. I still think about those things too.

  5. oh man…i do this all the time now…except mine usually go, “And then I totally said {insert ballsy comeback}! Right?!”
    ….”Did you really say that?” (my friends and family have learned better)
    “No…but I totally should have…I think it really sounded more like ‘uh huh…'”

    This is awesome, by the way…gradeschool…freaking children.

  6. I am so glad to hear that I’m not the only one who replays scenes from the distant past with all sorts of new snappy comebacks that were missed in the moment. Seriously, I pretty much figured everyone else had forgotten that shit and moved on and I was the only crazy person still remembering that awkward playground interaction from nearly 20 years ago. Glad it’s not just me after all!

  7. Ah man, I can still hear the exact tone of two specific instances on the bus to/from school:

    “you know those dandelions you picked are weeds, right?”


    “ugh, did you eat eggs for breakfast?”

    1, flowers are pretty. 2, yes, and yes, I eat breakfast. I’ll take a mint if you’re offering, though.

    • KWu, I love Dandelions. 🙂 I love to see fields covered in them in the spring because they just make me feel so happy. I also like blowing the white seed stuff all over the place when they turn white, but I feel a little bad to be spreading them around when I know lots of people don’t enjoy them like I do.

  8. Oh my, I am so glad to know that others besides myself are replaying those childhood moments. And also regretting those oh-so-fab outfits (I had a thing for oversized t-shirts).

    And I love that instead of going back to change the socks, you would prefer to add a snappy come-back!

  9. So glad I’m not the only one that replays this stuff in my head. Just last night I was laying in bed thinking of a similar story from when I was in 4th grade.

    I remember when my grandmother would tell me stories like this, then finish by saying, “I don’t know why I think about this stuff, must be because I’m getting old…” Crap, are we getting old?!

  10. How much do I love that you’re still thinking of snappy comebacks for elementary school sleights?!

  11. By doing this exact same thing, I am often times feel much more intelligent than I actually am. Does my interior monologue count as witty repartee?

    • I believe you can go back and change the course of actual events provided you engage in enough witty internal monologue. Ha ha, the smart people always win in the end!

  12. hooray! I’m glad I’m not the only one who thinks of great comebacks now for way long ago events. I could have been so witty!!!

Leave a Reply

Back to top