The only thing more satisfying than wiping the smirk off the face of some mean girl, mansplainer, or smarmy smarty pants is reading about it. And although some say revenge is a dish best served cold, these clapbacks are comin’ in very hot. In fact, you may want to pop an Ozempic before diving into all of this sweet, sweet revenge.
A few years back, my wife and I set out to get an iPad for our teenage daughter. We popped into this UK electronics shop known as "iStore," which, despite the similar name, has no direct affiliation with Apple. After browsing, my wife and daughter chose an iPad model along with a case and walked over to the cashier.
The cashier, however, was a bit pushy. He tried to sell us an extra warranty. My wife politely declined his offer. Not once, but twice. Even though I was standing at a distance from them, the persistent cashier decided to confirm with me, asking if we were certain about not getting the extended warranty.
So, I'd had enough at that point. Ignoring his remarks, I turned to my wife and suggested, "Let's leave. We can easily get it off Amazon." My wife backed me up on this. I looked towards the stunned cashier, telling him, "You just lost a customer. It was her decision to make."
I hoped that encounter served as a lesson for him about making assumptions about a woman's decision-making.
2. Right Back At Ya
During my first year at high school, not long after my parents split up, my mom, siblings, and I relocated to a small town in upstate Pennsylvania. Navigating family changes while adjusting to a new environment was challenging. In my first week at the new school, I was learning the layout and getting to know the teachers.
Many of my classmates had known each other all their lives, and here I was—a stranger with a peculiar accent and a distinct style. While some kids were friendly, a handful were unkind, snobbish, and mean. There was particularly one girl in my English class who was just that.
I was asked by the teacher to introduce myself and share where I came from, and I did as instructed. A pop quiz followed the introduction, which according to the teacher, was to assess my abilities. Whilst the quizzes were being distributed, the snobbish girl, sitting behind me, tapped my shoulder.
I turned to face her. She smirked and said, "Special ed is down the hall." I remained silent, blinked, and simply turned away. Her audacity annoyed me. She didn't know me, yet she already had a preconceived contract of who I was. Frustrated, I took the test and handed it in for instant grading.
The teacher returned the scored quizzes announcing, "Only one student aced the quiz, scoring a full 100%. Want to know who it is? It’s our new student." She congratulated me, wishing the others would perform as well in the next quiz. I turned and looked at the snobbish girl behind me.
Flashing a broad smile, I said, "Just a reminder, special ed is down the hall." Her smirk instantly vanished. She remained silent.
3. Nice One!
I was at a party once, and bumped into a guy who was quite full of himself since he was a corporate lawyer. When the topic turned to our professions and I shared I work as a computer programmer, he looked at me dismissively.
"Oh, so you're one of those folks who convert plain instructions into a weird language only your colleagues get?”, he challenged. "Absolutely", I responded. "Kind of like a corporate lawyer."
4. A Truth-Or-Dare Tip
A couple of months back, I was at a slumber party with some buddies. We decided to play a game of truth or dare. There was one girl there—I'll call her "M"—who I didn't really get along with. I opted for "dare", and M dared me to leap out of the window.
This was pretty mean, since she was aware that a friend of mine tragically took her life in a similar way. I took the leap from the ground floor window and then it was M's turn. She opted for a dare too.
I decided to dare her to head home. What she did next shocked me. She actually left. Watching her smug smile vanish—that was just the best feeling ever. She couldn't really say no as the other girls, also ticked off about her window dare, pressured her into accepting my dare.
5. You’re Not The Boss Of Me
Quite unexpectedly, I bumped into my former school bully at, believe it or not, my own workplace. We shared classrooms from kindergarten all the way through to graduation. Seeing him step out from the HR office as a newly minted shipping clerk left me quite shocked.
He then took the liberty to boast about his lifestyle, successes, wealth, and so on. Snidely, he asked, "So what have you done with your life?" as if I'd achieved nothing in the decade since we last met in high school. My reply was brief: "Well, you are standing in my office, please close the door on your way out."
I'm usually not one to assert my position over someone, but this guy had it coming. The look on his face was worth a million bucks. And yes, he did close the door behind him.
6. Respect The Hustle
When I was 21 and my little brother Kenneth was just 11, we decided to spend a Friday at the lake. Since I didn't have work, we spent the whole day together. Around lunchtime, we headed to a local burger joint that had a pool table. Kenneth, being intrigued, watched four college guys play, putting a dollar on each game.
The ones who challenged had to pay 25 cents for the game. Kenneth, feeling confident, asked me for $1.25. I had a hunch about his plan. He walked over to the crowd and requested to play. Initially, the recent winner refused, not wanting to take money from a kid. So, I told him, "It's on me. Just let him play a game".
The guys, probably in their twenties, chuckled and shook their heads. Kenneth then displayed his trick. He struck hard and pocketed a ball instantly. After which, he successfully shot four more before narrowly missing a bank shot. The smiles on the guys' faces faded away.
The next man in line missed his shot, and Kenneth cleared the rest of the balls off the table. The room erupted with laughter. Every time Kenneth managed a complicated shot, he'd receive astonished exclamations like, "No way!" and "For real?!" With a smirk, Kenneth gathered his winnings, then asked, "Who's next?"
They all lined up to play and, one by one, each one lost—including the waiter and two more newcomers. We spent hours there, and Kenneth managed to earn around twenty bucks. It was the best $1.25 I ever spent. You see, Kenneth had been practicing pool on a box in our garage since he was only four.
7. And Not A Moment Too Soon
One day, my ex-husband was hosting his friends, trying to show off by making fun of me and generally acting really rude. His friends questioned why there was so little in our apartment, he blamed it on me, saying I only cared about my clothes. This was followed by rude weight-shaming jokes and him demanding that I serve them food.
One of his friends tried to intervene and told him that he shouldn't talk to me, or anyone else, in such a manner. His response, however, was simply infuriating. He just shrugged it off and laughed. Another friend tried to caution him, reminding him that if I left, he'd be in a bind because I was the one with the money.
When I entered the room, my husband glanced at me and said, "No, she won't leave me, she's too in love with me, right?" To which I replied, "Actually, Paul, I filed for divorce last week, and since you're not willing to leave, I will." He had no idea that I'd already packed a suitcase and was ready to go.
I left, but not before taking a moment to enjoy the sight of him, sitting there with his mouth gaping open in surprise, looking as foolish as ever, and certainly not as charming or smart as he thought he was.
8. Put Up Your Dukes
I'm a boxer, and there was this instance when my opponent threatened to harm me if I secured a win over him. He visited me in my dressing room before the match to voice his warning. Comparatively, he was lean and tall while I was fit and muscular. As our gloves touched as a sign of sportsmanship, he wore a self-assured smirk.
The first round was fairly competitive as it started with the sound of the bell. When the second round began, he charged aggressively at me—but he never saw it coming. He was surprisingly knocked down by my body shot. He staggered to the neutral corner, and then unexpectedly got sick all over the place.
In the end, despite his threats, I was unharmed and I didn't have to bear another glimpse of his cocky smirk.
9. Horrifying Teachable Moment
In my previous job as a police officer, I served in the Crime Scene Investigation unit and was also a member of the Special Victims Squad. One of my regular duties involved visiting local community college classes to chat about grave crimes.
Every time I started speaking, I would often notice some guys, sitting back in their seats and snickering. I usually began my talk by calmly narrating a horrific recent event from our town. One day, while a woman was doing her laundry in her hallway, she was brutally ambushed.
The aftermath was chilling as the aggressor used a sharp object on her over 70 times. Myself and the coroner tried to keep track of the wounds by placing a paper sheet over her body and marking each wound. However, in some places, the wounds blended into each other.
The poor woman apparently tried to scramble to her bedroom in a desperate bid to get to her phone. The perpetrator trailed her through the corridor and coldly observed her life fade away. As I recounted this tragic incident, I could visibly see the young men in the class sit bolt upright.
The smirks gradually disappeared from their faces, and they would give their undivided attention to the remainder of my talk.
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10. Sir, Yes, Sir
A while back, when I was an army wife, I was in my car at the mall, when a guy rear-ended me. He got out of his car, decked in his crisp, new army uniform, and started flexing his authority. He made it clear that he was in the police force, tried to intimidate me, and declared that he hoped I had good insurance.
I stayed calm until he wanted to see my insurance. So, I proposed he dial up my husband for the specifics. After all, my husband happened to be his brand new boss—and ranked much higher than him. I must admit, seeing him lose his bluster was priceless.
And the icing on the cake? He was later hauled into the office and got a good talking-to for unfairly asserting his authority on a civilian.
11. Do You Know Who I Am?
As a white woman over 60, some of my hobbies may not match what people expect. One of those hobbies is teaching whirling, an art form most famously performed by dervishes. During an opera intermission, where my students were part of the show, I was discussing the subtler details of their performance with my friend.
Unintentionally, a man nearby overheard our conversation. Deciding I couldn't possibly know what I was talking about, he challenged me sarcastically, "So you're some sort of expert on whirling, are you?" I replied as coolly as possible, "Well, in a way, yes. I taught those performers, after all".
His shocked expression and rapid retreat were the highlights of my evening!
12. Satisfaction Guaranteed
I was handling the counter on an incredibly packed Saturday. We were swamped with customers, but I'm an old hand at this. I'm also a pro at giving change. I checked out a lady at the cash register and told her the cost. She fetched $50 from her wallet and started rummaging for spare coins in her purse.
I moved onto the next customer, accepted their money, and was ready for the third in line. All this while, I kept an eye on the first lady as she continued to search for coins. Then, she sneakily slid her $50 back in the purse and held out her 15 cents, anticipating change for her non-existent $50 bill.
I calmly pointed out that she didn't hand over the $50. Both my colleague next to me and I had noticed her taking back the cash. Because of her, the queue had now started to pile up. Her husband showed up to check the commotion. She claimed loudly, "I gave her $50, which she doesn't recall receiving," loud enough for the growing crowd to overhear.
Highlighting the presence of the security camera above my head, I challenged her disputed claim. She smugly demanded to see the surveillance footage—a request she'd soon regret. She was sure she gave me the $50 and couldn’t wait to prove it.
The store owner upon hearing the fuss, came over to mediate and review the CCTV footage. As it turned out, the lady had to admit her mistake and rejoin the queue to pay the due. She couldn't make eye contact anymore. She offered a weak, "I guess I was wrong," that was her apology.
Accepting her money, I cordially wished her a nice day. There are three things I pride myself on. Being a great mother, always standing my ground, and not tolerating unfair treatment when I know I'm in the right.
13. Pitch Perfect
I was hanging out at the mall with my friend when we swung by the food court and spotted a couple of tiny TVs set up for anyone willing to play FIFA 20. My friend queued to order our food, and I decided to explore the FIFA scene as it had been some time since I had last played.
I broke away from her and joined the all-male line-up—a move which was greeted by less than thrilled glances. One guy smirking said, "You want to play, huh?" I confirmed I wanted to play, to which he responded patronizingly, "Aw, sweet. You'll get your shot next". Well, my turn came and I beat him.
Worth noting, I'm not a wizard with FIFA. It just so happens that my brothers are pros and I've been lucky to learn from them. In comparison to everyone else, I play like a master having been trained by the best. The times I’ve managed to beat my brothers can be counted on a single hand.
After his defeat, the guy muttered a bunch of lame excuses, blaming it on his supposed leniency since I was a girl. Not my business, really. Then, up stepped the cockiest guy, who made a point to tell me he'd "show me how it's really done", despite my apparent cuteness.
Yet, I had the upper hand with a 1-0 lead by halftime and closed out the match with a 2-1 win. Bruised ego and all, he demanded a rematch. I needed to get back to my friend, so we settled on a half-game. When halftime rolled around, I found myself triumphantly sitting with a 2-0 scoreline. I beat him.
Again. His embarrassment was palpable and I couldn't help but be a little pleased. As I excused myself from the scene, I was tempted to quip about the "cute" scores but I thought better of it and refrained.
14. Very Mean Girl
When I was a teenager, I remember stepping out of class for a meeting with my parents and teacher about my academic performance. When I got back, the girl next to me had a smirk on her face. Before I could even sit down, she asked me to fetch her some colored pencils.
I refused because something about her behavior seemed off. She let out a sigh and stood up. As I moved to sit, I noticed my chair was slathered in glue. So, I quickly swapped it with another one. On her return, she sat down and started laughing at me. I chose to pretend to be clueless and asked, "What's got you so amused?"
Barely containing her laughter, she blurted out, "I glued your chair!" Suppressing my own laughter, I responded with a smirk, "Well, I just switched it with yours!" Her smiling face turned sullen instantly, a sight that I'll always savour! After that, she didn't utter a word to me for the remainder of the class.
15. Drive-Thru Rain Man
One night after school, I swung by the drive-thru and passed the cashier a $20 bill for my $6 order. She gave me back $4 in change, then promptly closed her window, signaling for me to move on. I didn't budge though; I knocked until she reopened her window amidst the sounds of irritated honking from behind.
When she asked what the problem was, I calmly pointed out, "You owe me $14, not $4 in change." Insisting it was a $10 note I gave, she started to shut her window again. So, I requested to speak with her manager.
I wasn't completely certain if I'd given her a $10 or a $20 bill because it was late, but I made it a practice to memorize the serial numbers on big notes after a similar incident. The manager, after hearing me out and looking over the receipt, highlighted that the cashier had recorded receiving $10.
All the while, the cashier glared at me with a smug "I-told-you-so" expression. Not backing down, I asked the manager to check the top $20 bill in the drawer and told him the serial number. The look of sheer astonishment on the cashier's face, when the manager confirmed the serial number matched and asked me to repeat it, was priceless.
Finally getting my rightful change along with an apology, I moved on to pick up my food at the next window.
16. A Daughter-In-Law Strikes Back
My mother-in-law definitely knows how to stir the pot. She consistently gifts me tops that are several sizes too big despite me being a size 12. To add another layer, she once suggested to my husband that I wanted a secluded house in the woods, hinting at an ominous motive.
Her endless supply of snide comments and snarky grins could easily fill a book. When my husband and I were moving into our new house, we arranged for a moving truck for the day. Both his parents, including his stepdad, showed up to lend a hand. The passive-aggressive tension quickly built up.
My husband and his stepdad seemed to take eternity to decide how to move things upstairs and downstairs. At this rate, I'd need the truck for a week, I thought, bracing myself for some vague complications. Meanwhile, my father-in-law, who just had four of his toes amputated, was expectedly unable to help much.
However, when I was struggling with our sofa off the truck, he offered to hold one end. As we headed towards the house, my mother-in-law decided to chip in with her trademark sarcasm, saying, "Oh Cindy, you're more of a man than me!" My response floored her: "Yeah, and more of a woman too".
Her face turned beet red, and she looked as though she wanted to strangle me. Her anger only flared further when my father-in-law dropped the sofa, breaking into an uncontrollable fit of laughter. Oh, what an eventful day that was!
17. Read The Room
Back when I was eight, I was really into books. My favorite one? Jane Eyre. I'll be honest, I understood only about half of the words in it, but even if not their meaning, I was good at pronouncing them. I remember one day, I brought the book over to a family gathering.
There was so much chatter and noise, but little old me? I just quietly sat in a corner getting lost in my book. Now, I had this cousin, let's call her Belle, and boy was she a pain. Belle noticed I was reading Jane Eyre at such a young age, she just couldn't help herself but point me out to everyone, "Look! Look, everyone! She's eight but she's reading Jane Eyre! As if she'd understand it!"
Now, I was quiet, but I wasn't shy. I retorted, "And how does it concern you?" The apple doesn't fall far from the tree, they say. Just like her daughter, Belle's mom was no less rude. She looked at me with an eye roll, challenging, "If you're so clever, why don't you read a bit out loud for us?"
I took up her challenge, gave her a teasing smile, and started reading. Oddly enough, even the words I didn't understand, I could pronounce them correctly. Having managed a few paragraphs, Belle's mom, looking a bit rattled, interrupted me.
Her eyes filled with regret and a bit of fear, her gaze dropped as her face flushed a bright shade of red. Belle, in a fit, stormed off into her room, slamming the door behind her. And me? I just sat there with a little smirk, then quietly returned to my book.
18. Birthday Beef
More than four decades ago, I landed my first job after college as an engineer for a car company. After only a month in this introductory role, I received a task to deliver important reports to the manager's office. On arrival, I found myself amidst a birthday surprise.
When I inquired about the birthday person, I was guided towards the deputy manager. I kindly wished him a happy birthday. He responded with a playful stare and proud declaration of his 43rd turning. The crowd showered him with compliments about his youthful appearance.
The aura of the place felt like a predatory environment nowadays, with me being a newcomer. Their astonishment was palpable when I replied casually, "Well, you're just a year older than my Dad, whose birthday is coming up soon." His over-inflated pride promptly diffused.
And just to clarify, my Dad definitely looks much younger.
19. Best Parting Shot Ever
As I was sorting out my coins after paying, I realized the cashier had made an error. I tried to point it out to her, but she interrupted me, insisting she never messed up.
I shrugged, started to walk out and quipped, "Alright, just bear that in mind tonight when you find your register is missing $10!"
20. That’s Just Like, Uh, Your Opinion, Man
I found love with my future husband at our workplace. However, we had this coworker who wasn't my biggest fan— the reasons I remain unsure of, but sometimes that's just how things turn out. Before my husband-to-be and I became an official couple, he confided in this coworker that he was interested in me.
Her snide comeback was, "That's surprising! Don't you want someone more refined and less blunt?" It didn't really bother me because I knew I'd get the last laugh. Sure enough, only a few weeks later, my soon-to-be-husband and I started dating. One evening, we ended up at a bar along with some co-workers, including her.
I used this moment to plant a kiss on my new beau, then looked at her with a victorious grin. Her stunned reaction was, I must admit, pretty satisfying!
21. Did You Ever Have To Make Up Your Mind?
A little while after my now-husband and I began dating, he introduced me to his buddies Brant and Tommy in his home town. We were just hanging out, with him sitting on the floor in front of me while I gave him a shoulder rub. Then Tommy decided to chime in, "When's my turn for a massage?"
I responded with a warm smile and hit him with the truth, "When you find yourself a girlfriend". The expressions on Brant's, Tommy’s, and even my boyfriend’s faces were an unforgettable mix of surprise and disbelief. On our way home, my boyfriend shared that I was the first girlfriend he'd had who didn't give in to Tommy's needs for attention.
Apparently, his prior girlfriends used to accommodate all of Tommy's requests. Fast forward a few years later, my husband confessed that the moment I held my ground with Tommy was when he realized I was "the one" for him. Frankly speaking, it wasn't a tough call for me, as Tommy gave off a somewhat uncomfortable vibe.
22. Pole Position
Back in my university days, the smoking corner was our preferred chill-out spot during class intervals. Everybody would gather there, smokers and non-smokers alike, for a bit of conversation and company. I'd meet heaps of new folks each day, with all sorts of distinctive character traits on display—some definitely came across as a bit too high-and-mighty.
Now, regardless of my Polish roots, my accent is decidedly British—you wouldn't peg me as Polish if you tried. Usually, the hot topics would revolve around politics, immigration, and other related issues. This one day, I found myself in the company of friends who were very into these sorts of discussions.
I mostly stayed out of it, just quietly taking in their views. Then, this particularly pompous individual sauntered over and began bashing Polish people. The atmosphere quickly turned electric. Upon seeing the direction of the conversation, my friends glanced at me, barely suppressing their amusement.
They seemed to collectively decide it was better to hold their tongues for the moment. So, Mr. Arrogant held the floor, going off about how immigrants should "return to their nations" and generalizing all Polish people as "idle." He carried on, and surprisingly, nobody interjected.
Mr. Arrogant then came out with another sweeping statement: “I’ve never come across a Pole who takes the time to learn English or contribute productively to society”. So I finally stepped in and said, “Well, consider yourself lucky. You've met one today.”
His expressions cycled through a series of bewilderment, recognition, shock, and crimson embarrassment. My friends broke out into laughter, and there I stood, wearing a triumphant smirk.
23. Been There, Done That
My dad's father used to work with a group of men who were into paintball back in its beginning days. Every weekend, they'd gather to play and brag about their skills. They often invited my grandad to join them, but he always gently turned down the offer.
One day, one of the more annoying guys in the group voiced out his assumption about my grandad's constant refusals. He made a loud claim, saying it's because my grandad was scared. Clearly, he had picked on the wrong person.
Responding calmly, my grandad informed them that he had actually done something quite similar for five years in Africa, Italy, and Germany back in the early 1940s.
24. Always Treat Your Servers Well
While working as a mobile drink seller at a local sports stadium, a young lad signaled me over to buy a beer. To me, he seemed a touch too young and, given the recent emphasis by my boss on checking the age of our customers, I asked him to show me his ID.
This clearly annoyed him as he started dramatically complaining to his even younger-looking girlfriend about how absurd it was for me to ask for ID, claiming I was wasting his time and so on. After he finished his grumbling, he showed me his driver's license. He was just 21.
Both he and his date were belittling me for even thinking of asking for his ID. So, I thought I should give them a taste of their own medicine. Instead of handing over his drink, I tossed his driver's license back to him and said, "I'm sorry, sir. It's not enough to be 21, you also have to behave like it"! Then I left, unaffected by the interaction.
25. The Fabulous Furry What?
My biology course at university had a lecture component that took place in a big auditorium. I usually opted for a back seat, and there was this guy who sat not too far from me. From the beginning, he didn't seem to like me very much. It's worth mentioning that our professor taught directly from the textbook, using slides that mainly summarized each section.
Seeing as I tend to learn better by reading, I didn't make it to every lecture. When I did attend, I would often spend my time reading a fun book while only half listening to the lecture. During one such class, the guy who didn't like me snapped, "Why do you even bother coming if all you’re doing is reading a silly comic book"?
I defended myself, saying, "The Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers isn't just any comic. Plus, I need to get the assignments for next week.” Following a major exam, I skipped the next class. Upon my return, I received my test; the score was 65 points. After initially panicking, I realized that it wasn't a 65%—it was my raw score.
So, I asked the guy, "Do you know the grading scale for this exam"? He replied smugly, "You needed a bare minimum of 52 to score a C". I followed up, "Alright, then is the A boundary above 65?” His eyes squinted at me… In disbelief, he exclaimed, “YOU were the one who skewed the grading curve"?
Every now and then, I can conjure just the right retort immediately. This was one such moment. "Hmm, perhaps you should spend more time reading comic books," I suggested casually.
26. How Do You Say “Boom! Roasted” In French?
A few years ago, I was on my commute by train when a large group of French exchange students, mostly teenagers, along with a few adult chaperones, boarded the train. They pretty much filled up all the seats and left hardly any standing space. Besides them, about 12 other passengers were there who had no connection with their group.
Many of these students were enthusiastically trying to converse in English with the regular passengers. It was clear they were having a good time and a few passengers seemed to enjoy interacting. Everything was going great until one of the adult supervisors spoiled it.
In French, she declared to her students that there wasn't any point in talking to any of us because apparently, British people are too "stupid" (her exact words) to speak English, let alone French. As my stop was nearing, I was fuming. So, with a voice louder than I've ever used, I spoke out in flawless French...
I wished the students a wonderful journey and advised them to be careful about judging others in the future. The supervisor turned as red as a cooked beetroot and remained silent. However, the crowning moment arrived when a little old lady chimed in, "I don't you think you saw that coming, did ya?"
27. Maybe She Was Flirting?
I was chilling by my sister-in-law's pool, watching my children play in the water, enjoying a drink, and chatting with my brother-in-law. One of the neighbors decided to join us, swimming about six lengths in roughly three minutes. After her swim, she approached us and snobbishly stated, "Some of us prefer to exercise."
Nonchalantly, I replied: "I ran 11 miles this morning." She froze for about 15 seconds, struggling to find a comeback, before finally turning and walking away. It was only when she was out of hearing distance that my brother-in-law erupted in laughter.
28. As One Does…
I'm of Jewish heritage, and my wife is Armenian. There was a Turkish colleague I used to sit next to at my job. From time to time, we would end up debating the Armenian genocide. He would stick by the official Turkish stance, fervently claiming that it either never occurred or the scale of the atrocity is highly exaggerated.
He even suggested that Armenians were the true perpetrators of the violence. When I voiced my disagreement and suggested that the Turks were fully aware of their actions, it led to a more personal level. He responded with a smirk and a question, "How would you know?" Yet, my answer left him speechless.
I said, "It is personal. A parcel once arrived at my wife's grandmother's home in Chomaklou. She opened it, only to discover her husband's severed head inside."
29. Well, Allow Me To Retort
Several years ago, I attended a house party where one guy was being a real pain. His behavior was disrespectful— doing things like making mean jokes, upsetting people, and generally getting on our nerves. We didn't even know who he was or why he was there.
I decided to distract myself and picked up a drink, then started toying with a Newton’s cradle that was on the host's coffee table. Suddenly, I noticed this bothersome guy heading towards me. "Small things amuse small minds," he quipped.
Without missing a beat, I shot back: “Well then, maybe you should stop playing with whatever's in your pockets." Our fellow guests erupted with laughter and, of course, he didn't have a comeback. He just backed off and I didn't see him for the rest of the night.
30. Cold Call
In the year 1988, I landed a job as an ice deliveryman in Washington, DC. One bustling winter, despite the bone-chilling cold, we were swamped with orders from local sports arenas. A number of large hotels and conventions would also call on us when their ice machines couldn't meet the high demands.
This experience remains unforgettable. One extremely chilly Sunday dawn saw me pounced from sleep by an urgent telephone call. The desperate general manager of a hotel was on the other line reporting that their ice machine had succumbed overnight due to pipe freeze.
He implored me to hasten a pallet of crushed ice to his hotel for a significant political charity event scheduled at 10 am, one where attendees would shell out $25,000 to mingle with celebrities. I rushed there in no time. After unloading, I was waiting for the payment, and noticed the kitchen staff all smirking and chuckling to themselves.
I asked the chef, who returned with my payment, "Why are they all laughing?" He responded, "No harm meant, but it seems a bit silly to see someone delivering ice during winter, especially when we have three feet of snow outside." As I took the payment, I retorted, "Well, I’m not the one purchasing it".
Silence crowded the room. As I was heading out, I heard uproarious laughter echoing behind me, followed promptly by the chef admonishing them to keep it down.
31. Ready, Set, Gah!
I found myself at a stoplight, and a guy in a souped-up small car pulled up beside me, revving his engine and flashing me a cheeky grin. This particular road was well known as a spot for drag races, and what the guy didn't notice, but I managed to spot, was a police officer cleverly hidden behind a bush.
So, I decided to respond with a rev of my own engine. He found it amusing and revved his engine harder, but I wanted to really rile him up. I began to gently inch forward a bit. As soon as the light turned green, I stayed right where I was for a few moments as he rocketed off, squealing his tires across the crossroads.
Immediately, he got pulled over. I just smiled and gave a wave as I leisurely drove by.
32. Judge Not…
In college, I was chatting with some fellow students about my love for Japanese, Chinese, and Middle Eastern cuisines. One of the girls questioned my knowledge on these cultures, assuming I didn't know much because I'm a blond-haired white man. I was surprised, but chose to stay silent.
Not long after, we were going through a picture from a recent family get-together. The girl's face turned beet red because guess what? My brother-in-law, who's Moroccan and stays true to his customs including his dress and daily cooking, showed up. And hold on, my two brothers are dating Japanese ladies who I consider family.
And wait, did I mention that two of my cousins are Filipinos? You see what I'm getting at. Someone in the group pointed out the irony to the girl who'd doubted my cultural insight earlier. It was clear, she felt quite embarrassed. I deeply care for my vibrant family. I wish we'd stop making judgements based on looks.
That's just superficial. It's the year 2020! We're a diverse blend of cultures. Let's get with the times, people.
33. Twists And Turns
While my husband Tom and I were waiting for a seat at a restaurant, a man approached me at the bar. Usually, Tom is engrossed in his own conversations and speaks quite softly when he does. I was there, idly stirring my drink when this guy came over to make his move.
I generally don't mind a bit of playful flirting, even with people I don't know. However, this man was different. He was fairly drunk and tried to keep his balance by resting his hand on my thigh. As he did so, he managed a smirk and cluelessly suggested, "How about we go back to my place, and I can show you a good time?"
His audacity was overwhelming. I tried to brush it off, hoping that he was just acting out a dare from his buddies. In my surprise, I called out to Tom, my voice shaking a bit as if I'd just noticed a spider. Bear in mind, my lovely husband could pass as a prehistoric man, given his looks.
Really. Plus, he's around six foot six, weighs about 280 pounds, and has the build of a heavyweight bodybuilder. He also features deep-set eyes, a broad nose, a pencil-slope forehead, and an array of tattoos. He could easily pass as a member of the Russian Mafia.
Typically hosting a deep baritone voice, Tom can effortlessly hit the low notes when he wants to. So, believe me when I say that he can seem rather daunting. "Yes, my little dumpling?" he replied, pulling himself up to his full height and placing a reassuring hand on my shoulder.
And just like that, the man’s smirk disappeared. Though I may enjoy a good flirt, Tom's love for me and his natural gallantry shine through in moments like these. We both had a light-hearted laugh about it later on.
34. Time To Tap Out
I hold a purple belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. Being a woman, I am often paired with beginners who tend to instruct me on techniques. Interestingly, I've never seen this happen with the guys. Normally, I would listen and later prove them wrong during our sparring sessions against resistant opponents.
Most times, one sparring session is enough to curtail their overly instructive behavior but one guy seemed clueless. Constantly, he was trying to correct me but his descriptions of the techniques were always off. Our chief instructor overheard him once and told him to stop correcting me since he didn't quite get the techniques himself.
One day, we were practicing the double-leg takedown. I've got six years of experience coaching these techniques, especially to kids, so I know my stuff. When we were practicing, I did a gentle takedown, but he protested, insisting I was wrong. I assured him I was not but he persisted, so I decided to set him straight.
Directly looking into his eyes, I glanced down at his white belt and mine. Then I shifted my gaze back to his eyes and simply said, "Huh". I then brought him down hard with the same move that according to him was incorrect. Let's say he never dared to correct me after that.
35. If It Pleases The Court
My ex-wife and I had hoped for a friendly divorce, but it didn't go as planned. We decided to draft a plan and I took it to a young and inexperienced lawyer to review it. Her inexperience wasn't much of a bother, as we just needed her to look over our document—which she did, and had some concerns. I then discussed these issues with my wife.
My ex-wife wanted modifications to be made. When these changes weren't enough, she hired the top-notch lawyer in our small town. This lawyer has a reputation of being unbeatable in court, especially locally.
However, another lawyer based about 45 miles away was ready to take him on—he confidently told me he's outsmarted him on several occasions already. Then came our first court appearance. No one knew I had switched lawyers. Coincidentally, my previous lawyer also had a case on the same day, so she was present in court.
My ex-wife and his lawyer, unaware of my change in legal team, mistakenly thought the young lawyer was still representing me. They were already celebrating what they thought would be a checked win. But when our case was called, the young lawyer remained seated while my new, renowned attorney stepped up with me.
I vividly remember the look of shock on the face of her lawyer when he realized who he was up against. A brief, hushed discussion ensued between my ex-wife and her lawyer. Suddenly, my ex-wife becomes far more agreeable in our negotiations.
36. Macho, Macho, Man
I'm a full-time dad, along with having other roles. My wife's employer hosts a annual dinner once a year at a classy restaurant, where spouses are invited. It's a nice change, given the complimentary meals and some decent company among my wife's peers.
However, at this gathering, an unfortunate encounter occurs with one of her co-workers, who is bearable normally. He spends the entire evening bragging about his income and trying to assert his masculinity. At the same time, I'm engaged in a friendly conversation about my recipes with other colleagues.
Not too long after, this gentleman makes a side remark implying I'm a 'good wife'. I simply look him in the face, he is in his 30's, a bit short, balding, moderately fit yet not really overweight, trying hard to overshadow everyone else's masculinity around him. I wanted to shut him down so bad.
Then, he turns to me and questions, "So what do YOU do?" It's rather irritating, given he has been a part of conversations about me managing household chores and parenting tasks. But, he's unaware of my other profession. So, I confidently share, "I'm a blacksmith."
The hint of pride in my voice causes a visible deflation in his overly masculine facade, much like how a soufflé collapses during a tremor.
37. Username Checks Out
When I was at work in the gym, some young men in their early 20s--thinking they were hot stuff--were causing a bit of a scene. They were squating about 115 pounds, but they were brash, obnoxious, loud, irritating everyone around them. I thought a bit of friendly competition might quiet them down.
So, I headed to the squat rack beside them and started lifting 345 pounds. Despite my smaller build, this shocked them. Honestly, they looked amazed, then simply packed their things and left, looking crestfallen.
38. Born To Be Wild
For some context, I make a living teaching motorcycle riding. Quite a while ago, when I lived in New York, my personal motorcycle's battery ran out. I'd ordered a new one and was currently getting around by car. Once the replacement battery arrived, I fetched it after work and tossed it in my trunk.
One day on my way home, I spotted a group of riders at the road's edge, huddled around a malfunctioning motorcycle. This was before everyone had a cell phone, so I figured they could use some assistance. Being fairly knowledgeable about motorcycles and always having my tools with me, I stopped.
Unbeknownst to me, I was about to navigate through a small squabble. I was facing a group of intimidating bikers, sporting leather, chains, and tattoos— the classic biker look. I imagine they found it amusing that a woman had stopped to offer help. Undeterred, I asked, "Can I assist you in any way?"
One responded sarcastically, "Unless you've got a motorcycle battery in your trunk", generating some chuckles from the group. You can probably guess what happened next. I responded innocently, "Actually, I DO have a motorcycle battery in my trunk."
With my fresh battery, tools, and slender fingers perfect for removing the old battery from a tricky spot, I managed to get them ready to roll. They turned out to be quite friendly, and I hope they offer a warmer reception when the next Good Samaritan stops to help.
39. Know Your Worth
At my government job, we have to renew contracts every five years, and there aren't many similar roles around here. As a result, I am somewhat dependent on whichever contracting firm takes over. One day, the manager of the new contracting firm wanted to chat with me, though I didn't have much time because I had an appointment in an hour.
The new company's boss began by stating, “You're earning too much for your age and experience. You're getting the same pay as those who have worked here for three decades. If we are to transfer you to this contract, your salary would need to be cut by $10,000”.
He smirked as if implying there was little I could do about it. With a calm response, I stated, “That's unfortunate”. He didn't know then, but it was indeed unfortunate—for them. My base response was: “Well, unfortunately, I have to leave for my job interview, and given what you've just said, that's an appointment I can't afford to miss.”
His smirk vanished, he stuttered a little, and then enquired if I'd be in the office the following day or Friday. My reply was, “No, unfortunately, the company I’m currently with is flying me to Maryland for an interview with another team because they'd like to keep me on their books”.
We said our farewells then and, the next day, the new firm sent me a job offer that actually included a small pay increase.
40. A Pleasure Doing Business
This tale really has it all—international locations, bribery scandals, crafty tricks against the corrupt, and of course, a moment of poetic justice. It's about my buddy Richard. We were colleagues at The Economist, with him in Hong Kong and me in New York City. Whenever work took me to HK, I'd bunk up with him and his wife.
Later, when we were both posted in London, I became their attic tenant. Richard, who's from the United States and was around 35 at the time of this story (around the year 2000), has an uncanny resemblance to Michael T. Weiss, who you might recognize from the late '90s show, 'The Pretender'.
Richard's wife, Jyoti, slightly younger and a native of India, played a significant role in his life journey. After his time in HK and London, the couple moved to her homeland in India where he started a business building sewer systems. It was there where he began conducting some shady business.
To secure contracts and the necessary sewer installation permits, Richard often found himself in meetings with local and regional government officials. Back then, the officials in India had a reputation for being somewhat, shall we say, "gift-friendly".
Following permit discussions, these officials would often switch to Hindi, discussing amongst themselves the "gifts" they expected in return for speeding up Richard's paperwork—a plan that actually worked in Richard's favor. Then, switching back to English, they would relay these demands to him.
They never used the word bribe, but Richard and I both knew what they were implying. That's when my friend would surprise them. He would respond confidently in fluent Hindi—so fluent that over the phone, you'd mistake him for a native speaker.
He explained that he strategically attended these meetings in person, so the officials would underestimate him, thinking they could take advantage of him. He'd then surprise them by revealing his language skills, making them feel so uncomfortable that they'd quickly grant the permits at the standard price, no "gifts" required.
This strategy made his business the only one that didn't have to pay anything extra.
41. Chivalry Is Alive And Well
When my wife and I got hitched, she didn't know how to drive. I nudged her to learn, and she did. Now, she is a great driver—very careful and safety-conscious. One time, we went to a social gathering where a guy she had been with before we were together was also a guest.
Honestly, I am not a fan of this guy, but since we had no issues, we chatted pleasantly enough. My wife began to share that she’d finally gained her driving license. She took such pride in this. This guy, though, commented, “Wow! I’m stunned. You must feel jittery when she's driving and you're in the passenger seat.”
I yearned to wipe the smirk off his face for mocking my wife. But, I chose a calmer reaction. I met his gaze and calmly stated, “No, I'm not nervous in the least. She's a skilled driver, and I'm perfectly at ease when she's behind the wheel.” His smug grin quickly faded, and everyone nearby cast a knowing smirk in his direction.
I’m certain my wife admired my composed response rather than if I had tackled the man physically. The temptation to punch him was tempting, though.
42. How Rude!
A while back, my spouse and I, both Vietnam vets, were at a big 4th of July bash at a huge stadium. We weren't in the thick of battle, but we did our bit during the war. When the host invited those currently serving or who had served in the military to rise for recognition, we both got up.
Suddenly, beyond us in the seating row, a guy yanked my T-shirt so forcefully I was almost in his lap. "Take a seat," he huffed, "They're calling veterans, not their wives." My husband, with a knowing grin, serenely replied, "My wife's a veteran, actually." Thankfully, the man didn't bother us again for the rest of the event.
More than three decades ago, I served as a deputy sheriff. One day I started dating a woman who worked as a paramedic in the same county. We spent a few years together. One weekend, I visited her place and decided to test my brand-new Beretta 21 semi-auto, a .22 caliber, in her backyard.
I was eager to swap it in for my heavy .38, which I carried as a backup. I threw an empty tuna can out in the yard, loaded the weapon, and lined up my shot. The first attempt was a miss. It was new, so I gave it another try. But by the end of that first round, I still hadn't struck my target.
So, I thought, "The next round will be better", but I just couldn't hit that can. Frustration was building up, when suddenly my girlfriend made a gentle offer to take her shot. I shrugged and handed it to her, showing her how to use it. "I doubt you would do any better," I told her.
She took the semi-auto with a calm smile, aimed, and pulled the trigger. TING! The can spun up into the air. TING, TING, TING, TING, TING, TING. She hit the can again and again, six times in all. All it took were seven shots, and boy, did she knock the grin right off my face!
I had completely overlooked the fact that during her childhood, her dad, a WW2 and Korean War veteran and an avid shooting instructor, had taught her and her sister how to shoot—and how to do it well.
We're about to celebrate our 31st wedding anniversary now, and I must say, I'm such a lucky guy she said 'yes' when I asked her to marry me!
44. Mother Knows Best?
One afternoon, my brother visited our house with his new girlfriend. She was a tall, strong, curvaceous blonde. He introduced her to our mom, who promptly pulled him to the side.
Wearing a know-it-all grin, mom told him, "You realize she won't be able to maintain her shape, right?" My brother's response shut her up for good: "Well... did you?"
45. Mansplaining Mishap
In my early twenties, I joined some buddies for a night out at a club, and they brought along a few other pals. There was one chap who was clearly trying to dazzle me with his so-called 'intelligence'. The club had a screen that displayed various imagery, and at that moment, they were showing images related to astronomy.
He questioned if I knew what the subject matter was. I simply gave a small grin and invited him to enlighten me. The guys proceeded to tell me that it was a zoomed-in view of Jupiter, going into extensive detail for some time. and then he was curious to know my opinion on the subject.
That's when I decided to have a little fun. So, I informed him it was actually Orion's Nebula. He stopped in his tracks, utterly astonished, and said, "Hold on, you're clued up on this stuff?" I just flashed a knowing smile and shared that I was about to start my final year of astrophysics at the University of Toronto.
46. Wedding Crasher
A few months ago, I attended a distant relative's wedding where my grandma was a guest. As there were other cousins of mine, I didn't feel out of place. Halfway through the event, an unknown woman approached me while I was chatting and laughing with my male cousins.
She was just a tad older than me and so skinny it looked like she hardly ate. She walked up to me and started criticizing my weight, saying she could see my fat through my dress and questioned my parental teaching. She didn't stop there. Yes, I'm slightly overweight, but my clothes adequately concealed it.
The woman didn't just end there; she insulted me by saying my weight would prevent me from getting married or having kids. I patiently listened to her. After she finished her nasty rant, she smirked and asked for my agreement. I kept my cool and responded, "Being skinny has one downside.
A small head only holds a small brain, which makes you narrow-minded. On the other hand, I have an open mind and a big heart due to my size". She was taken aback and left red-faced, fumbling for a comeback before storming off.
47. The Doctor Is In
When I casually brought up that I hold a Ph.D. in Physical Chemistry, a software engineer let a smirk slip and asked, "And what's that going to help you with?" I spent quite a few years being a dedicated research scientist, but I brushed that aside when I responded.
Keeping my rebuttal clean-cut, I simply said, "I took the initiative to learn coding, so I'm currently an IT consultant. Actually, I did all the complex math for a giant database merging project at Microsoft." He only managed to muster a surprised, "Oh". And, yes, his smirk had indeed vanished.
48. Fast And Soon-To-Be-Furious
I was cruising in a hot rod with my girlfriend, and we stopped at a traffic light. A couple of guys in a swanky Porsche pulled up next to us, trying to bait me into a race. But I declined—after all, we were on a date, and I was trying to impress her with my gentlemanly behavior.
They didn't like that and started throwing offensive comments about my girlfriend, which really got my blood boiling. I knew I had to teach them a lesson. When the light turned green, I hit the gas and the car shot ahead of them.
Just as soon as I passed them, I slowed down—just in time for them to zip right into a speed trap that I remember passing on my way to pick her up. The laughter continued all the way to our dinner destination.
I was hanging out with my buddy and our significant others, talking about our wedding plans. Given our close friendship, it was a given that we would serve as each other's best man.
But then my buddy's partner threw us a curveball: "Are you even allowed to be the best man? I thought the best man had to be single." So I shot back, "I'm not sure. Wasn't the bride supposed to be a virgin?"
50. Comin’ In Hot
My stepdad used to take great joy in making my life difficult. One of the things he enjoyed most was interrupting me while I was washing dishes, thrusting his hand into the water and shouting, “This water is freezing! You can't possibly get dishes clean with cold water.
Now drain this, heat some new water, and wash all these dishes again"! Since I hated doing the dishes, these episodes would make me weep and feel utterly defeated. Then, he'd just stand there, grinning smugly before walking out of the kitchen prideful. No matter how warm the water actually was, he always did this.
One night, I finally had enough. I heated a large pot of water to boiling point on the stove, then poured it into the sink along with some dish soap. I filled the sink with the dishes and then stirred them with a wooden spoon to mimic the sound of washing dishes. As expected, I soon heard his footsteps approaching.
The moment he walked into the kitchen, I stepped aside to let him reach the sink. He plunged his hand into the boiling hot water! His hand shot out of the sink so fast, it was almost invisible. He didn't utter a word nor gave any sign that he'd just dipped his hand into boiling water.
He only cast a look at me, a mix of anger and admiration, and quietly exited the kitchen. That was the last time he ever ventured to check my dishwater temperature.