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The Perfect Squelch
Like everyone else in America who was alive and aware during the sixties, I too was saddened to hear that one of my generation's own icons, that is, Sonny Bono, of "Sonny and Cher," had been killed in an unfortunate skiing accident. I was especially touched when his ex, Cher, read the eulogy she had prepared for his memorial, during which she mentioned a monthly article once featured in the "Reader's Digest," that being, "The Most Unforgettable Character I Ever Met," usually a short story regarding a person who had made a positive and lasting impression on someone, such as a teacher who'd had a lasting good influence on her students. These pleasantly inspiring little tales usually had a "Norman Rockwell/Dale Carnegie" element to them, uplifting and encouraging, each and every one. And so, using this as her reference, Cher made mention that, at least in her life, Sonny truly was "The Most Unforgettable Character" she'd ever met.
There was another feature back then in the "Reader's Digest" that I liked even more, one entitled "The Perfect Squelch," which was where they'd offer what they determined to be prime examples of verbal "one-up-man ship," that is, great retorts and comebacks and retaliations. Well, in my case especially, my parents and teachers would be first to agree, I was the type who learned early the enjoyment of having the "last word." Nothing's changed either, as even to this day I love to manage a witty retort but there are two occasions in particular that stand out in my mind, where even I am certain that I did myself proud. The following is the first of these encounters.
I was desperately searching for a taxi outside of Grand Central Terminal, at the same time, carrying my little dog, who was in fact, getting too fat to be lugging around in that manner, but then again, it was pouring rain and very cold out and since he was short haired, I was concerned he might grow chilled. Trying to make the best of the situation, I tucked him into my coat to keep us both warm. I'm certain that to anyone who saw me with both arms clutching my bulging stomach, I must've appeared clumsily pregnant, possibly with twins.
After enduring the downpour a good ten minutes, I felt fortunate when finally a cab pulled up right in front of us, but just as I went to get in, a very elegantly dressed lady darted out of an equally exclusive looking office building, then tried to squeeze past me while simultaneously attempting to wrench the taxi door from my hands.
Skinny as I may be, I am surprisingly strong for my size, in particular, my arms and fingers fairly powerful, this from playing the piano and guitar all my life, and so, as it turned out, she was no match for me and the lady was unsuccessful in her attempts to "grab my cab."
As I held on tight, ready to duel to the death, I was surprised but relieved when she gave up after one moment of this "arm wrestle" and although I don't doubt for a minute that I could have taken her, apparently what really saved the day was when my little dog stuck his head out from under my coat and started to snap and growl ferociously, narrowly missing taking off one of the woman's fingers. Needless to say, she quickly let go of the door and jumped back ten feet, quite startled to see this vicious animal's head pop out of my belly, and I was able to take advantage of the opportunity to slide in to the vehicle and sit down.
While she stood at the curb with a look to kill plastered across her face, I arranged myself and my dog comfortably, pleased to finally be out of the elements, but also a little amazed at this person's rudeness, after all, I was standing there long before she showed up. As we pulled away, she was still cursing under breath, but it was the one clear sound she uttered that provided me with my opportunity to have the last word, to execute the "perfect squelch," and that was when she shouted loudly, "Cunt," in fact, not only did I heard her say it, I watched as she mouthed it, enunciating ever so carefully, exaggerating every vowel and consonant, obviously enjoying the sensation as the curse rolled off her tongue, through her teeth and over her lips,
When I heard this, I was not angry; I was amused, for she had just provided me with the perfect opportunity; I recognized immediately how I was going to one up this witch, and as the plan unfolded in my mind, a smile beamed across my face like the morning sun on a meadow. Grinning widely, I rolled down the window and it was with extreme pleasure I watched the smirk melt off her face and run down into the gutter as she stood where I had been moments before, and where I would still be standing had she had her way about it. Taking one last satisfying look at her under the downfall I said "Yes. I'm a cunt. I'M THE CUNT IN THE CAB."
I make no secret about having been a hooker, not that I bring it up at awkward moments to be crudely defiant, or for shock value, but if it is unavoidable, neither do I lie about it, nor am I ashamed, since I feel that I chose the least of all evils under the circumstances of my having had the misfortune to be a drug addict; I earned my money and did not steal it. Plus, hooking enabled me to mostly avoid the sin of dealing drugs, something I didn't ever want to involve myself with, hypocrite that I am. Meanwhile, as a hooker, I did my job well; I hurt no one, and I lived through it quite nicely, so the karma I acquired must not have been too horrible.
And last but not least, as time went by and I grew more experienced and schooled about the matter of prostitution - I realized it is in fact a legitimate and noble profession and should be legalized, in particular to enable better disease control.
Since I sincerely did not feel that I deserved to be loathed, I was not defensive and projected a certain innocence that I believe shielded me from harm. I was aware of it and used it to my advantage and for all it was worth, but in truth, I was not totally innocent. I had my own sharp edges, and they also protected me, especially on one occasion.
I had a date with this little Jewish fellow, the kind who wear the hats and sideburns and dress funny and sometimes behave queerly, but I try not to pass judgment on people, after all, we weren't getting married or anything like that, and so we had a date and like always, at least whenever someone allows me to be, I was very nice to the man and made him welcome in my home and apartment; I did not rush him, and I was very kind and gentle, as I was to all my customers, as long as they were kind to me.
He on the other hand, was neither friendly or unfriendly, he just sort of "took his sex" like some people "take their vitamins," that is, nothing terrible mind you, but neither did he look like he had much fun in the process either. To be frank, I found him a rather non-descript and emotionally detached/deprived person, but apparently, I did the job to his obvious satisfaction, because he finished quickly and in good humor.
Afterwards as we were getting dressed, he seemed curious about me, who I was, where I went to school, what I thought about this and that, but I did notice that as we spoke, he looked more and more amazed to find me intelligent enough to converse with, in fact, I have run into this attitude many times, people are shocked to learn that I am not completely without wit even though I was a hooker ("It walks; it talks") but instead of being pleasantly surprised, he appeared to be getting more and more exasperated by the second, in fact, eventually, it all got to be too much for him, that I was acting so cordially and un affected by (to his way of thinking) our sordid circumstances, and so, finally, he could no longer contain himself and blurted out loudly - "BUT - BUT - BUT DON'T YOU REALIZE HOW LOW YOU ARE?"
"Oh boy, here we go again," I thought, "another smug little jerk off to play with." (I love smug jerk offs, especially when I've got them on my own terms, that is, with their pants down).
Now, as I mentioned, I do not think that being a hooker is the worst thing that can happen to a person, nor do I think I'm low, but in order to one up this little bastard, I had to beat him at his own game. So you can imagine that I was very pleased when I managed to come up with what I felt was an appropriate retort, that is, "the perfect squelch."
I turned to him with the sweetest little choir girl look on my fact that I could muster, and while batting my eyelashes demurely told him "AND JUST THINK. AS LOW AS I AM - YOU HAVE TO PAY ME TO SPEND MY TIME IN YOUR COMPANY."
By the way, he came back to see me often, and it wasn't till I retired and moved away that we lost touch.
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