Thursday, October 05, 2006

Everybody Likes a Little . . .

In addition to rekindling my nostalgia for the Parkerite days, having roomies again has had another effect: it has awakened the smartass within from its long, deep slumber. Well, okay, it was probably more like a brief, light catnap, but the fact remains that in recent years my inner smartass has grown slow and flabby due to lack of exercise . . . much like the outer smartass.

I come by my smartass nature honestly; my mom's side of the family is rife with smartasses. It’s practically hardwired into our genetic code.* In my younger days I was a well-practiced smartass at home, but was also a big enough nerd to seldom display it during class, for well I knew that way lay detention, sentences, and (horror of horrors) swats. I only revealed my smartass proclivities during times when I could let my smartass behavior fly, free of fear or retribution in any form other than reciprocal smartassery from friends and family.

So, if I've been a life-long smartass, why has my smartassiness atrophied in recent years? Changes in social environment. During the Parker and Book Monkey years I had ample opportunity to exercise my smartass skills in the company of other veteran smartasses, both at home and at work. However, when I moved to Denton, I found myself in a work situation where the smartass population was much thinner, and it was many, many months among The Singles before I felt comfortable stretching my smartass muscles. And, as the membership of The Singles class changed, and I was placed in a leadership position, the resultant dynamic made constant smartass behavior problematic. I must confess that there are times when I miss the good old days when I was the one who got to sit back and make smartass comments during the lesson instead of trying to corral the smartass population. I occasionally feel like a traitor to the smartass cause.

So, why the sudden resurgence in my smartassishness? I think it's all part and parcel of Hanging Out With The Guys. When I was living alone there was little HOWTG, and so my regular dose of verbal sparring was minimal. But pretty much as soon as I moved into Bizarro-Zinger's place it began in earnest. The two of us fell into a steady pattern of behavior: he'd make some comment designed to get a rise out of me, and I'd turn it back on him in as deadpan a manner as I could muster. At one point he told me that he thought I'd fit in well at the fire station since I never let anything get to me.

If he only knew, eh, my blog monkeys?

But in regards to Biz-Z's jabs, he was right; I didn't let them get to me. Chalk it up to personal growth, or the knowledge that this was how he interacted with everyone, or the fact that he obviously didn't have The Doc's knack for knowing the right psychological trigger to make me wig out. Occasionally he would catch me distracted and unable to frame an adequate come-back. He would immediately pounce: "What's the matter? You're usually full of smartass comments."

Hey, nobody's perfect.

The dynamic of the new place is different, and I find myself abandoning the deadpan mode to adopt a more combative style of smartassery that's more in keeping with the tone set by new roomie PigPen and his pal Peanut, who have been good friends for years and therefore know exactly how to push each other's buttons and drive the other into a murderous rage. How else could you know they were best friends? Anyway, the day The Anti-Cap'n and I signed the lease at the new place was also the first time we'd spent extended time around P&P without any of the girls around to temper their behavior; quite an eye-opening experience, in a "what the heck have I gotten myself into?" sort of way. At one point when The A.C. and I were shaking our heads in disbelief, Peanut looked at us funny, and then said "Oh, yeah, I guess you guys don't really know us that well." Briefly after that, I made a couple of cracks (one at Peanut's expense, the other at The A.C.'s), and PigPen acted shocked at my coming up with "two in a row."

Obviously, they didn't know me all that well either.

The moral of the story: old smartasses never die; they just get smartassier**.

* My dad's side, on the other hand, is responsible for me having the "ornery" gene, although I'm afraid it might have been recessive in me.

**All variations on “smartass” are dedicated to Strengthy Girl and Redneck Diva, both of whom know the importance of creating your own vocabulary.


Cap'n Cluck said...

I, too, have been witness to the verbal sparing of P&P. I may be one of the few females to have witnessed this. It happened on a night when the two of them and another of their college buddies were out together and invited me to join them in a few games of pool. Let's just say, never have I heard so many "Your Mama" jokes in night. And they get creative, as I'm sure you know.

Have a Cluckity Cluck Cluck Day!

sally axhandle said...

Shame on you for allowing flabbiness to endanger your smartassish muscles. It has been way too long between trips home to the Mecca of smartassishness and you need to revisit the land of inspiration for a renewal of sorts. I am glad that you are now exercising and letting the smartass fly. Everyone likes a little but everyone loves a smart.

Cap'n Neurotic said...

Cluckity - I have yet to experience the "Yo' Mama" fest, although PigPen has warned me of it.

Sally - I stand duly chastised for my lax smartass maintenance. And, I was wondering how long it would be before someone referenced the inspiration for the blog title; should have known it would be a family member.