People often ask me: 'How can I become a smartass like you?'
Not in so many words, of course. Often they ask: 'Why the hell are you such a smartass?'
Or: 'You think you're so cool, don't you?'
Or even: 'You know the restraining order says one hundred feet! Would you get out of my panties drawer?!'
But the intention is clear -- they want to be a smartass, just like me. And in the interest of sneering petty snarkophiles everywhere, I'm going to tell you how.
Being a smartass is very simple; there are only two rules you need to follow.
'What the hell is this South Park fan doing inside me? You know the restraining order says one hundred feet!!'
That's a 'callback', folks. It's one of those comedical techniques you read about in the books. No extra charge for that.
Those two simple rules are all you need, really. With a bit of practice and some loving encouragement, even a child could become a serviceable smartass .Hell, a monkey could do it. Maybe even a telemarketer -- though Darwinism dictates that we really shouldn't interact with their kind in any way that doesn't involve heavy blunt objects. And possibly a taser.
The key thing to remember about being a smartass is the turning point between 'sugary sweet' and 'brutally honest'. It's crucial to be polite and helpful, right up until the key word comes out of the victim's mouth: 'Really?' Then, all bets are off.
Let's see the rules in action, shall we? We'll need a patsy for this -- a clueless sort, naive and oblivious to the gathering stromclouds. So I'll make up a rube, our smartass foil du jour -- we'll call her 'Jilly'.
Now, imagine Jilly out there trying on pants somewhere. Possibly in a mall. You, the budding smartass, have somehow been roped into tagging along. You'd much rather be doing something else. Maybe there's football on TV, or garbage to take out, or fresh poodle plop to rub in your hair while you sing 'I'm a Little Teapot'. Basically, anything to get away from yammering Jilly and her shopping-spree shenanigans. So, when she emerges from the dressing room with a pair of capris stretched around her frame, straining and groaning at the seams, you could play it thusly:
Jilly: Do these pants make my butt look big?
Smartass: No, not at all. Really, they're quite fetching on you.
Smartass: No, not really. They're squishing your enormous ass like an oversized pressed ham. Maybe if you'd tuck the bottom of your cheeks into your socks, that would be better.
See how easy? And after that exchange, you'll never have to suffer through another trip to the mall ever again. Trust me.*
(* Technique not recommended for use on wives, steady girlfriends, women who carry mace, ladies with canes, 'foxy boxers', or large black women prone to saying 'Oh no you di'n't!!!'.)
So, that was an easy one. Let's try another.
Say you're over at Jilly's house, helping her out. She's not the wiggliest dildo on the nightstand, remember, so you're trying to do your civic duty and assist the less clueful in the neighborhood. Maybe you're there, opening her mail -- because otherwise, she might stab herself in the eye with the letter opener, or lose her virginity to one of those AOL CDs they're always sending around. In this scenario, she might see you opening a 'Publisher's Clearing House' letter, and say:
Jilly: Ooh! Ooh! It says I may have won! I may have won! Did I win? I bet I did.
Smartass: Why... yes! Look at this -- you won! It says right here, eleven million dollars!
Jilly: Wow! Really?
Smartass: No. You didn't win, and you never will. And if you do, they won't give you any money. Ed McMahon will come to your house, pee in your orange juice, and leave. You're a moron. Now put down that AOL CD, and for crissakes, put some pants on.
See, that's public service, there. Making idiots more realistic about the poor, sad, lonely, peed-in-breakfast-drink kind of life they're likely to lead. Being a smartass is not only loads of fun, it's also good for society. We're, like, doctors or therapists or strippers or something.
And you don't have to wait for an opening to be a smartass. Oh, no. You can pull smartassery out of thin air, in most any situation. Say, for instance, that our friendly rube Jilly can't find her cat. She's lost it, or eaten it, or squished it under those capri tents she's wearing -- who knows? But you've been recruited to help find the finicky feline; what better time to practice your smartass lessons? To wit:
Smartass: Oh... hey! I think I found it! I found your cat!
Jilly: Omigawd! I thought I'd never see Mr. Fluffers again! Really?
Smartass: No. Not really. Your cat's probably in somebody's moo goo gai pan by now. Hah!
Mean? Yes, I suppose. But really, should the morons of the world be trusted with pet ownership in the first place? I think not. That's how yappy lap terrier rats and crazy cat ladies get started. Why not nip the nonsense in the bud, with a well-aimed verbal jab or two?
I hope these lessons have helped you see that just about anyone can be a smartass. Why, with a little hard work and practice, even the nicest and most unassuming among us can make a contribution, and become a smartass. Hey, maybe even you!
(Did you just say, 'Even me? REALLY?'