Right after I set myself on fire / Justo después de prenderme fuego

La versión en español está después de la versión en inglés.

I CAN SOMETIMES BE QUICK-WITTED and a bit snarky. Sometimes. If I actually say aloud some of things I’m thinking, I feel guilty — for the rest of my life. So I hold back. When we lived in Palm Springs (at the turn of the century), we had a friend, an award-winning advertising copywriter, who had the quickest, snarkiest wit of anyone I’ve known. For this story, I’ll call him Grant.

Grant was originally from Florida and had a lilt that made his snarks even more potent. We were out to dinner with him when someone we had met at a dinner party the evening before stopped by our table. Our first impression of the guy was that he was a pretentious bore, condescending, snobbish, and shallow. I suppose you could say we didn’t much like him. The only reason he stopped by our table was because Grant was handsome and 20 years younger. He mostly ignored us once the introductions were done. He chatted briefly, beginning with the line, “Why have we never met?” After a few minutes, he handed Grant his calling card and said, “We must do lunch.” Grant replied in his southern lilt, “Uh huh,” dragging it out for six syllables. As the man left our table, Grant completed his thought, “Right after I set myself on fire.” (Raht aftah ah set maseff on fahr.)

SAN GERALDO ASKED IF I wanted banana bread with my breakfast this morning. I said, “Sure.” Usually, he asks if I want one slice or two. Usually, I say “one.” This morning he didn’t ask. He brought me a slab and told me there were only two slices left. The photo at top is the usual slice. The final photo is today’s slice.

The rest of today’s photos are from one of my recent walks around the three adjoining neighbourhoods of Los Boliches, Torreblanca, and Carvajal.


A VECES PUEDO SER INGENIOSO y sarcástico. A veces. Si digo en voz alta algunas de las cosas que estoy pensando, me siento culpable por el resto de mi vida. Así que me contengo — a veces. Cuando vivíamos en Palm Springs (a principios de siglo), teníamos un amigo, un redactor publicitario galardonado, que tenía el ingenio más rápido y sarcástico de todos los que he conocido. Para esta historia, lo llamaré Grant.

Grant era originalmente de Florida y tenía un ritmo que hacía que sus sarcasmos fueran aún más potentes. Salíamos a cenar con él cuando alguien que habíamos conocido en una cena la noche anterior se detuvo en nuestra mesa. Nuestra primera impresión del tipo fue que era un aburrido pretencioso, condescendiente, esnob, y superficial. Supongo que se podría decir que no nos agradaba mucho. La única razón por la que pasó por nuestra mesa fue porque Grant era guapo y 20 años más joven. En su mayoría, nos ignoró una vez que se hicieron las presentaciones. Charló brevemente, comenzando con la línea: “¿Por qué nunca nos hemos visto?” Después de unos minutos, le entregó a Grant su tarjeta de visita y dijo: “Debemos almorzar”. Grant respondió en su acento sureño, “Uh huh”, alargándolo durante seis sílabas. Cuando el hombre abandonó nuestra mesa, Grant completó su pensamiento: “Justo después de que me prendí fuego”.

SAN GERALDO ME PREGUNTÓ si quería pan de plátano con mi desayuno esta mañana. Dije: “Claro”. Por lo general, me pregunta si quería una rebanada o dos. Por lo general, digo “uno”. Esta mañana no preguntó. Me trajo una losa y me lo dijo solo quedaban dos rebanadas. La foto de arriba es la rebanada habitual. La foto final es la rebanada de hoy.

El resto de las fotos de hoy son de uno de mis paseos recientes por los tres barrios colindantes de Los Boliches, Torreblanca, y Carvajal.

Author: Moving with Mitchell

From Brooklyn, New York; to North Massapequa; back to Brooklyn; Brockport, New York; back to Brooklyn... To Boston, Massachusetts, where I met Jerry... To Marina del Rey, California; Washington, DC; New Haven and Guilford, Connecticut; San Diego, San Francisco, Palm Springs, and Santa Barbara, California; Las Vegas, Nevada; Irvine, California; Sevilla, Spain. And Fuengirola, Málaga..

31 thoughts on “Right after I set myself on fire / Justo después de prenderme fuego”

  1. Snark is something I totally understand. Like you, I have to curb my enthusiasm for using it. Much easier to do since I retired a couple of years ago and no longer have to attend meetings. I also kept a small wooden plaque on the front of my desk that read, “Sarcasm-one of the free services offered here.” And believe me, poorer form of wit or not, it was freely given at work (and sometimes with a deeply southern accent like your friend, Grant).

    Must admit when I saw your title today, I worried you’d been in the kitchen again…and not just to give Dudo and Moose treats. 🙂

    1. Mary:
      I also let some of the worst of myself out at work. Retirement has made me a much nicer person. (I have a friend who has your wooden plaque on a T-shirt. Ironically, he’s not at all sarcastic.)

    1. anne marie:
      You know those people that REALLY rub you the wrong way and make it impossible for you to do anything more than simply silently grit your teeth in a pained smile? That was this guy.

  2. They say ‘sarcasm is the lowest form of wit’……..but, boy, does it feel good at just the right moment!!
    My father could have a very smart mouth and didn’t hold back. I particularly liked it when he used it at a parent/teacher’s meeting when he thought one of his kids were being treated unjustly.
    I have been told that I, and a few other sibs in my family, have learned this comeback very well.

    1. Jim:
      I think sarcasm can be so entertaining. MY father was much more direct with his cruelty. It never made me laugh. At least sarcasm can illicit a snicker.

    1. David:
      And this friend of ours was gifted. I wish I could remember all the things he said. He had a way with words. The work he did showed his brilliance with the English language.

    1. Bob:
      But I think you’re much kinder in general than our friend.

      Yeah, that was a slab. But, SG said it was still only one slice.

  3. I have a bit of a leaning towards snark. Shocking, I know! It’s a coping mechanism. For me, the lowest form of wit is dim.
    That slab of caky bread reminds me that I need to clean my oven 🙂

    1. Deedles:
      I do rein in my snark much more easily than I used to. Thankfully, our friend Tynan completely gets me and I can get away with a lot with him.

      I’m a bit confused about your oven. Is that slab of cake what the growth on the insides of your oven has started to look like?

      1. No, just black carbon pre-diamond deposits 🙂 . It is now covered in ash (self-cleaning, you know). I woke up to 59F degrees in the house and 34F degrees outside. That slab reminded me that it’s cool enough, finally, to turn on the oven and bake some stuff and a clean oven doesn’t smoke as much 😀

      2. Deedles:
        I love self-cleaning ovens. Was just talking about that with friends who bought a new oven last week. They can’t wait to get it dirty so they can incinerate it. 59F degrees in the house?!? SG would never tolerate that (well, neither would I).

  4. I love a well-directed snarky comment. You have a great city to explore on foot. Perhaps most European cities are walkable, but very few US cities are.

    1. Wilma:
      I think you’re right that it’s much more common for cities to be walkable in Europe than in the U.S. We lived in some very walkable cities in the States, but also lived in places where most of our time was spent in the car. I hated that. One of the things I love about NYC is that I can walk forever.

    1. Urspo:
      Well, my boyfriend doesn’t give me banana bread for breakfast… but my husband does.

  5. All I can think of is something K. says they used to say when he was a kid (in their coastal north carolina accent): when someone passed gas, the line went “who fahrd that shot? I fahrd it.” Say it out loud.

    1. Walt the Fourth:
      Ooh, I had thought of sharing that line but then couldn’t figure out what to do with it in Spanish. I had a southern friend in college who loved to say that. I can always count on you!

  6. That’s FUNNY! I had a friend who had a very snarky sense of humor, and he often came up with lines like that. I always envy people with a quick wit.

    1. Steve:
      This guy was amazingly quick and clever — and snarky. But he hurt a lot of feelings. Amazingly, he never aimed his snark at us.

  7. I love snark, but when I saw the title, I was afraid you had burned yourself. Many years ago, my husband who was still my husband and is now my ex-husband (named X) and I built a house in Maryland. For our first Christmas in the new house, we had a party with plenty of food. I made a hot chicken salad dish that was supposed to be kept warm in a chafing dish. X took the dish to the table, dumped in the fuel–and spilled some on the table–lit the match, and set the table on fire. He also destroyed the beautiful Christmas tablecloth I had spent six months embroidering. He didn’t yell FIRE. He yelled, Oh no! Oh no! and burned his hands putting out the fire. So I was afraid for a minute that you had pulled an X.


    1. janiejunebug:
      That accident could have been devastating. Sounds like X was lucky with that one. Have you ever forgiven him for the tablecloth? I wouldn’t. I promise not to pull an X; I’m very careful with flammables.

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