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Wednesday, January 2, 2008

The Threat Among Us

It occurs to me how often we hear the word "threat" in our daily lives. The President threatens a veto. Thugs threaten the elderly. A storm front threatens the east coast. In fact, the threat of a nuclear attack kept American children under their desks for 17% of the school year in 1957 (statistics have not been validated, but work with me here). And now, global warming threatens our very existence. Well, if not our existence, it does seem to threaten our use of screened in porches as areas of relaxation, June through September.

In any case, we hear the word "threat" but rarely do we truly execute a threat. Oh we threaten to threaten, as in "I should sue that guy for backing over my azaleas" or "I should give her a piece of my mind". However that's not really like saying directly to a person "You ruined my bushes, you cad and now I'm going to call my lawyer". The reality is, that would sound pretty absurd and besides, nobody really has a lawyer on retainer anyway. Unless of course you are related to one, have a history of legal troubles or are just a bit flaky around the edges. [I mean no disrespect, just in case you are now considering a law suit against me]. And actually giving someone a piece of your mind would likely make you appear worse than whatever offensive stunt they pulled in the first place.

On the rare occasion that a rational human being does lay out a threat, it is generally veiled in milder language with seemingly inconsistent messages and a slight smile to make the recipient think it could be a weird joke. The line could be, "You know, Chuck, when you backed over my bushes last night... and I know it was an accident. Heck, you might not have known you even did it. By the way, your haircut looks really good. Makes you look 5 or 6 years younger. Anyway, my bushes... I planted those about 12 years ago and- who cuts your hair, anyway?" This spineless meandering will get you nowhere. So to help you out, here are some "threatening phrases" with explanations which will capture the attention of the most wanton and heartless of interlopers.

1)"Yo Mama"- While not actually a threat, this seemingly meaningless phrase is usually used when you are being threatened or harshly criticized and transfers your response from the offender to their apple pie baking next of kin.

2) "I shall smite thee"- Very King Jamesish and so little used, it will surely draw attention to your plight.

3) "I'm gonna hit you so hard, your head will ring like a 10 penny nail hit with a greasy ball ping hammer"- In reality, too long and unwieldy for use in the field, but a good one to have in your back pocket.

4) "I'll be on you like a spider monkey"- They seem fast and dangerous when provoked or poked with sticks.

5) "I know where you live"- This phrase says it all, except for the obvious fact that if you know where they live then they most likely know where you live, rendering the threat useless and possibly dangerous.

6) "I have friends in high places"- OK, fast fact- You are a low paid, second tier data entry goon. None of the people in "high places" even have lunch with you, much less call you a friend.

7) "Come over here and say that"- If there is any chance that they will come over there and say that, you'd better pretend that your i-pod is a hearing aid, because odds are good that they will skip the threat and move directly to a public beating.

8) I now welcome your suggestions to complete this list, upon threat of public ridicule...


George said...

Great Post. I'll come up with some good threats later. Perhaps something of the "I'm gonna' bus you up" genre.

Jim said...

I use this and find it quite effective: "You might of heard of me." Feel free to use it, it just might work.

Steve said...

I was always fond of, "That's right (insert name here)...I am dangerous," followed by a sharp biting motion. Moves along the Top Gun theme.

There's also the Miles Finch of "Elf" response. "Come on. You feeling strong, my friend?"

Sometimes no words are needed. Just rip your shirt off and bow up redneck-style.

George said...

Here's a couple of good ones:

a.) "Hey, don't go lettin' your mouth write checks your a$$ can't cash!" - This one is actually a bit of a mouthful itself and could be considered a "bad check" in it's own right.

b.) "Watchit', Sucka!" - Any phrase ending in "Sucka'" is going to clearly communicate that you aren't afraid of anyone nor are you afraid of sounding like you're stuck in the 1970's.

c.) This one requires no words. Merely step back into your karate stance, crack your neck, and stare intently at your opponent. - This will either result in them being intimidated and fleeing OR them promptly beating you to a pulp while mocking your alleged karate skills. I personally have only experienced the later.

d.) This one was recently posted on MY blog and comes from coach Gundy, of OK State football "Come after me! I'm a man! I'm 40!" - The mere mention that you are 40 will force your opponent to realize that you are way too cool and virile to be reckoned with.

Kyle said...

John Wayne said, "I won't be wronged, I won't be insulted, I won't be laid a hand on. I don't do these things to other people and I require the same from them"
If that doesn't work, you can always go with the trusty old, "Look here Cap'n, this is how it's gonna hap'n."
Or as Darren McGavin said in A Christmas Story, "Notta Finga!!"

Chuck said...

And for the record...

Sheila cuts my hair at Supercuts.

3.5 on the sides and trim the top. Finish with a bit of Pomade and fresh powder on the back of the neck.

"Bow up Redneck Style" - Funniest thing I've heard all day.