Treppenwitz – The good old stair (Treppen) joke (Witz).
Who hasn’t had it happen? You are out to lunch with fellow students or work colleagues and the mood is jovial. The life of the gathering says something about you and all heads turn in expectation of an equally witty response. But you’re caught off guard, slow in the uptake. Instead you blurt out a banal one-word answer and all heads turn back to Mr. Sparkling Smile. Later, as Mr. Charm struts out with his entourage and you trudge down the stairs of the back exit – alone — the most witty response in the universe suddenly occurs to you. That’s it. You’ve just experienced the Treppenwitz – the clever remarks that occurs too late (on the stairs on the way out).
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