Welcome to this week’s blog hop. Today’s topic is:
How often do you overhear an awesome one-liner or witty comeback, and tell yourself you need to write that down to use for one of your characters?
I’m always on the look out for awesome one-liners, or more than one-liners come to that. I’m lucky in that I’ve worked in a hospital for the past 19 years and some of the conversations I’ve heard would make your hair curl (perhaps that’s why mine is so curly, lol). I also have a husband and two sons who have been blessed with that British dry wit; my eldest son in particular has a very quick wit and does indeed come out with awesome one-liners that I have dotted about my manuscripts. My mother also had a very black sense of humour. I’ve heard witty retorts on TV, read them in books, and heard them in my daily life. I don’t usually write anything down when I first hear it, but when I forget what I heard I wish I’d made a note of it, lol.
Here’s one of the more innocuous conversations I overheard between an old Cockney patient and a Scottish nurse when I was a ward clerk back in 2002. I included it in my novel ‘A Rather Unusual Romance‘:
“Darlin’, ‘elp me.” Tommy Beale appeared from the side room and made his way towards Erin.
“Not this side of the desk, Mr Beale. You know that.” Erin waved the elderly man away.
“Sorry darlin’. Can you ‘elp me? Can you ‘elp me, darlin’?” He shuffled to the front of the desk.
“Yes, I can help you. But before I do, let’s get one thing straight. I’m not your darling………okay?” She picked up a white board marker and rose to her feet.
There was a short pause while this information was digested. Finally Tommy nodded at Erin.
“I know that, darlin’, but can you ‘elp me?”
Here’s an actual conversation that I had with my then 91 year old mother. She didn’t know she was funny, bless her. I still laugh when I read it, and I just had to put it into my memoir ‘Waiting in the Wings‘, which I wrote like a journal over final 3 years of my mother’s life.:
Dot is wringing her hands and chewing the inside of her mouth. I wrack my brain trying to think of anything I might have forgotten to do. I have paid the milkman, the newsagent, the hairdresser, the Meals on Wheels service, and the community bus driver. All Mum’s other bills, the rent, telephone and electricity are on direct debit. I cannot think of a single thing.
“I need to get the towels ready for the hairdresser. She needs three towels and my setting lotion.”
I breathe a sigh of relief that I haven’t forgotten anything.
“What’s there to worry about? I’ll put three towels and the lotion in a bag, and job jobbed.”
“No, it must be the right towels.”
Dot is adamant, and I quash a momentary feeling of annoyance.
“What on earth difference does it make? A towel is a towel, isn’t it?”
“She likes the white fluffy ones in the cupboard.”
I open the cupboard and there are at least 8 white fluffy towels inside. I take out the first three.
“Let me feel them.”
I hand them over to Dot in her armchair, who shakes her head.
“These aren’t the right ones. You’ve put the hairdressers’ towels in the bathroom, and I bet I’ve been using them to dry my fanny.”
“Well, how do I know what towels you use to dry your fanny?” I sigh with impatience at the most stupid conversation I’ve ever taken part in. “They all look the same; they’re all white and fluffy!”
“They’re not. You should know by now. Some are thicker than others. The hairdresser likes the thick ones.”
I feel like wrapping the towels around my mother’s scrawny neck and tying them tight.
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