The Wit of the Toolbox

by wjw on July 26, 2011

The French have a term, l’esprit d’escalier, “wit of the staircase,” for those incredibly pithy and clever remarks that you never actually deliver, because by the time you think of them, the party’s over and you’re heading down the stair on your way home. 

Taos Toolbox has a similar sort of wit.  Not because it’s not timely, because it always is, but because the context is completely lost to any observer who isn’t present at the critiques.  Nancy Kress jotted down quite a number of these remarks, and I’m shamelessly stealing them for your entertainment. 

If you can’t work out the context, go ahead and imagine one.  It’ll be as entertaining as the real context, I’m sure.

“Each story gets one free miracle.”

“If he actually gets beaten with the sex toy, that’s okay then!”

“If I wanted to find a frozen girl in the woods, I’d hire an eagle, too.”

“This is The City and the City on LSD.”

“Is it a scheduled squid or a chartered squid?”

“If steam is coming out of his ass, I’d notice.”

“I need vowels!”

“Food is intimate without being sentimental.”

“You may suffer from extraneous fairies.”

“There’s nothing like a rat in the first sentence to put us right into a story.”

“I’ll just have to go back and blow something up.”

“I like the idea of media people beating each other senseless — it should be done more often.”

“These guys are really talkative during a gun fight.”

“It’s bad marketing to have a product that kills your clients.”

“It could go on a little longer before the squid enters.”

“I love stories where someone argues with a car.”

“Are you asking if the pickle in the story is an instrument of joy?”

“Breast reduction surgery is a shamefully under-explored topic in SF.”

“You can never have too many maggots in a re-animation scene.”

“Being dressed in a loin cloth and flak jacket, with a Mohawk and a Fu Manchu mustache — this doesn’t really inspire fear.”

“We have butts and nipples that don’t seem to be doing anything.”

“I was confused about how many legs your narrator has.”

And last, but far from least:

“EEEiiiEEE! Flaming dicks!”

DensityDuck July 26, 2011 at 8:50 pm

“If he actually gets beaten with the sex toy, that’s okay then!”

Makes some sense considering the recent ruling that explicit violence is OK but explicit sex is not. (Which leaves us wondering what to make of Nick Carter’s favorite torture device.)

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