Owen Weber’s Chicago Cab Driver of the Year
Saturday, July 2, 2011
I had a long drive home this evening. It’s summertime in Chicago, so as is typical, my windows were down and I was motionless in bumper-to-bumper traffic. No movement in the left lane whatsoever.
As the right lane slowly moved forward, a cab driver pulled up next to me. His windows were also down. I casually glanced over since there was nothing else to look at, and he wound up looking at me.
Then, a brief moment of eye contact.
I did that friendly white guy grin and nod, as if to say, “Boy, traffic sucks, right?”
His immediate reply:
So I did that white guy “taken aback” face, where you recoil your head, blink a lot and contort your face like you’ve just sniffed ammonia. How do you respond to that?
Luckily, I’m a well-spoken standup comedian and writer, so I quickly whipped up a real zinger.
It probably wouldn’t have been my first choice for a comeback, but it was the heat of the moment and I was just warming up for battle. But what I didn’t count on was his second punch. Like Tyson in his prime, he jabbed, then came back for an uppercut.
“FUCK YOU, MOTHERFUCKER!”
As my new adversary will undoubtedly recall in his reclining years, he truly KO’d me with an even stronger slice of diction. I flew backwards through the air, bloody teeth springing out of my mouth, and smacked hard against the ropes. Perhaps I underestimated his vocabulary. First he said a sentence beginning with the word “fuck”, followed by a useful pronoun in the second person. In this instance, me. Fuck me.
1) Before I could mount an effective means of vocal retaliation, he repeated himself, word for word. (Literally both words.)
2) He then executed what we call “a topper” in the comedy world, artfully tacking on “motherfucker“. “Fuck you (1), motherfucker (2)”.
Now it’s my turn to fire back. Something good. Something really witty and cutting that would scar him for life. Options ran rampant. I was going to tear him apart, but my lane started moving and I drove away. I probably provoked him, anyway.
Damn, you know what would have been a better comeback? If I said, “You talkin’ to me?” from Taxi Driver. Get it? “You talkin’ to me?”
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