Clap Back Vs. Slap Back

Today I went to play duplicate bridge. For the most part, most of the people who play where I do are kind, generous and polite people, but not all. For the record the issue I am bringing up here had absolutely nothing to do with anything that happened today at Bridge.

After my kind and patient partner and I finished playing our two boards against another team fairly quickly we had a few minutes before we had to move to the next table. One of our opponents brought up an issue of a player who she has faced who feels compelled to give her unsolicited advice and not in the most constructive way.

My kind partner suggested, “You can just say ‘thanks for your superior wisdom’ as a clap back.”

I replied “Or you can say, ‘I not interested in your opinion,’ as a slap back.”

That got me thinking about those who slap back and those who clap back and if any of it registers with people who make unwanted comments. Clap backs make the clapper not feel as bad because they aren’t so overt in their rebuke to the original offender, but they might not get it. Slap backs may get to the person being rebuked, but make the slapper look equally mean, thus perhaps giving the original offender justification for their original rudeness.

I used to tend to the slap side, although I have always loved a sideways dig, that makes the person have to wonder, “Was that a compliment or a condemnation?” One of my favorite sideways comments for those who like to puff themselves up over nothing was to say, “First among idiots is no prize.” My father used to say, “You are all you will ever be.” Both of those are really big slaps, but it takes a minute to get them, if ever.

Southerners are particularly good at the clap back. Although now the whole world knows that “Bless her heart,” is usually mean spirited.

There is an old joke that goes:

There are two Yankee women sitting in a cafe in the south, talking smack about southerners. A local woman does not recognize them as locals and approaches their table with a friendly smile and says, “Hi. Welcome to our town. Where are y’all from?” One of the Yankees responds, “I am unaccustomed to answering a question that ends in a preposition.” Smiling, the Southern lady responds without missing a beat, “Where are y’all from, bitch?”

Please don’t take the portrayal of Yankee’s in this joke as a commentary on Yankees, it’s just an illustration of the southern clap back that has been around a long time.

If you clap back or slap back you probably are never going to change the actions of the original offender. So what are we to do?

I wish I knew the answer. Clapping back gives you some satisfaction, slapping back may blow back on you, doing nothing may make you fume and grit your teeth in your sleep. For now, since I can’t control other people I am going to do my best to just not be one of those offenders and pray that I can hold my tongue when someone offends me. Ha, I might as well pray to win the lottery without ever buying a ticket.

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