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The Backtalktionary

 

1. Imagine a world in which you never knew what to say back. If someone insulted you, you'd feel bad, get really angry, or suddenly find yourself in a fierce argument with a total stranger. Maybe you'd pretend to be deaf. Soon you'd be roaming the world feeling hurt, angry, cut-off or numb. However, if you had it to do all over again, wouldn't it be nice to wind the clock back and respond with something totally satisfactory? To have an optimal response? For each particular situation? Annoying small talk would melt away. Confrontations would disappear. Many nice things might happen and you could begin to get mystical. You cannot control someone else's behavior, but you can control how you respond to it.

 

“why

Give me some choice.

say

—There's no place like this.

anything

—Underneath it all. Draw down!

back

Not as much. It's up to you.

at

—How so? Most of us don't.

all?”

—SNAG. Look at the time!

 

2. A hundred thousand years ago we went separate ways, and now here we are, reconnected. Where on earth have you been?

This website provides specific alternative ways to respond to difficult people, the ones who don't know we all come from the same place, by marrying comebacks to “trigger words.”

 

“sorry

—Close shave. I don't mind at all.

but

—I know, right? All that.

I

—Why would you? Not quite.

don't

—Watch out! Sparingly.

understand

—In a ruin. Ancient footprints.

anything

—Underneath it all. Draw down!

of

—Just imagine. Which includes?

what

—There now. Are you a thief?

you've

—The reverse! That's enough.

written

—Try again. Not what you think.

on

—The wetness. Just wait!

your

—Not mine! I do other things.

site.”

What you least expect. Edgy.

 

 

“you

—If I were rich. Is that possible?

can't

—Thru with those who stop.

teach

—Just imagine. Which includes?

common
sense.”

—That's what you say!
Outside!

 

3. Let's get right to the heart of the estrangement: In our modern standoffish culture, it feels as if people are trying to distance themselves from the world with a remote control. Understandably, this makes children, drifters, teenagers & the economically pinned-down feel alienated, cut-off, isolated, ignored & insignificant. Wow! We do better with dogs. So what brings about the deep-rooted disaffection prompting separateness? You want restrictions on plants, animals; they want restrictions on you. Irrational speech is both a symptom and an enabler of frosty attitudes. Anything to avoid messy intimacy. Look around! Fences everywhere. There must be some nourishment in the soil, some way to break the spell! Arf! Arf!

 

“huh?

Am I in trouble? Whereto?

a

—A mystery box. Insulated.

remote

I don't deserve that. Taxi!

control?”

—How's that? Is it cheap?

 

4. Remember when you were a kid and thought it would be handy to know what to say back even before you were gazing through a palisade halfway up the stairs? In France they call it L'esprit de l'escalier, The Wisdom of the Staircase:

 

“are

—Closing the gap. Took years.

you

—If I were rich. Is that possible?

who

—Shift change! On the job.

what

There now. Are you a thief?

where

—Everywhere. Out there!

when

—In the world. Let me wonder.

why

Give me some choice.

how

—Swept away! Rich and poor.

which

—How amusing. I live there.

this

—So powerful. Don't panic!

that

—Play something else. Cut out!

excuse

—It's the milk! A big pickle.

me

—Sure, boss! Leave me out of it!

I'm

—Dangerous to somebody.

sorry,

—Close shave. I don't mind at all.

how's

—Very easy. Effortless.

it

—Under the full moon. A ladder.

going

—Summer! I'll meet you there.

and

—Going up! So soon?

what's

Not as much. It's up to you.

up?”

—A star field. Side pony!

 

5. What is the underlying force of bullying? In a political context, Samuel P. Huntington writes, “The architects of power in the United States must create a force that can be felt but not seen. Power remains strong when it remains in the dark; exposed to the sunlight it begins to evaporate.” —American Politics: The Promise of Disharmony (Cambridge MA: Harvard University Press, 1981), p. 75. When someone says something irrational, they are conjuring up power. They are hitting you in the imagination! To the inner child “I don't understand anything you've written” means just anything! Your own mind brings total belief to an expression of power. To bring sunlight to this bullying tactic, apply reason by learning to get very specific: “—Which includes?

 

“don't

Watch out! Sparingly.

let

—No turning point. See it change.

the

—That's a switch. Backätcha.

bastards

Sight unseen. Just lay low.

get

—All rightie then. Indeed.

you

—If I were rich. Is that possible?

down.”

Going up! So soon?

 

6. If our culture was serious about human beings sticking up for themselves in the face of bullies, a million people would know about this website. It's hard to believe, many grown-ups simply want children to suffer. And out of compassion, children will do it! People want children to stay in the dark. And people in the dark want to reserve their right to be treated like furniture. Sit on me, I'm a driver, a server, a maid, a debtor, a bookend, a nobody. Please sit on me! I've got your back! I promise to sit up straighter!

 

“hey!

—I don't deserve that. Taxi!

keep

Am I in trouble? Whereto?

my

—Hold it! Weak as I am.

name

It comes and it goes.

out

—Plant new seeds. In the dark.

of

—Just imagine. Which includes?

your

—Not mine! I do other things.

mouth!

—Small world. Paint names.

give

—Just imagine. Which includes?

me

—Sure, boss! Leave me out of it!

your

—Not mine! I do other things.

lunch

—There's no place like this.

money!”

—Let's go down to the future.

 

7. There is an inherent clash between (a.) people who seem “literal-minded” and ( b.) people who seem attached to “feelings” or “streams of associations.” The first group sees themselves as “listening to irrational demands” and the second group sees themselves as “being friendly.” The Backtalktionary is an attempt to bridge this gap – before these two kinds of people swiftly fly apart. What members of each group have in common is they were all once children with a capacity to learn & respond to warmth, kindness and a sense of humor.

 

“are

Closing the gap. Took years.

you

—If I were rich. Is that possible?

out

—Plant new seeds. In the dark.

for

—Or worse. Mud drops!

a

—A mystery box. Insulated.

walk?”

Saved again! So many levels.

 

8. In general, if someone is attacking you, try to take yourself out of it and always come back to [intimidation]. They're trying to intimidate you. Say either “Who knows?” or “Ever hopeful.” Before that you might have been tempted to leap into an [argument] with someone else, a nitwit. Simply agree with the nitwit by saying either “I know, right?” or “All that.” Before that, they might have cleverly changed the subject on you. We might call that context [switching]. Then there's [fantasy], [parables], [sarcasm] and outright [bullshit]. My favorite generalized attack is from the cowardly [trojan horse]. They gaze directly into your eyes and repeat cruel pathetic sheep sounds they attribute to their entourage. You gaze directly back into their eyes and say, “Dead & infected.”

 

[lying in wait]

—Heavy duty. SNAKE PIT!

[transfer]

—Elevator! Let's start with you.

[engage]

—Why would you? Not quite.

[grapple]

—Dangerous to somebody.

[more lies]

—All rightie then. Indeed.

[revenge]

—Flow right in. Magnetism.

[deception]

—Let's go down to the future.

[veiled hatred]

—Or worse. Mud drops!

[hostility]

—Very different. Look away!

[shadowing]

—Not mine! I do other things.

[ramping]

—Ke-mo sah-be. You got me!

[gutter snipe]

—Go slow! Be specific.

[potshots]

—Stick around! Very loyal.

[bombshells]

—Why bother? Too intense.

[trojan horse]

—Dead & infected. So much!

[switching]

—That's a switch. Backätcha.

[pivoting]

—Cunning ferocity. In case.

[argument]

—I know, right? All that.

[grilling]

—Not recently. Seriously?

[intrusion]

—God forbid! Not much there.

[body]

Isn't that bizarre? Could be worse.

[fantasy]

—I'll bet. All those people.

[parables]

—Yeah, sure. Not so much.

[sarcasm]

—And more! Well-grounded.

[bullshit]

—I've heard. It's all overrated.

[drain]

—What are the odds? More so!

[suggestion]

Plant new seeds. In the dark.

[tar pits]

—Wild, huh? Laundry and all.

[interview]

—That's what you say! Outside!

[theater]

—Everything goes so slowly.

[persona]

—In a ruin. Ancient footprints.

[façade]

—Play something else. Cut out!

[morbidity]

—Anything else? The towel?

[vigilante]

—Two in a row. Someone might.

[officer]

—It's maddening. Close call!

[sympathy]

—Closing the gap. Took years.

[death]

—That's it. A force of nature.

[intimidation]

—Who knows? Ever hopeful.

 

9. Like many people, I am a little like Albert Einstein — a little young, a little autistic & a little wrong.

Not many people know, Mr. Einstein spent the last years of his life at Princeton University intensely studying and perfecting social skills.

Even in the face of distressed observers of life who seem noticeably theatrical. You can almost see them sinking in the tar pits of their own viciousness, trying to suck the joy out of passers-by!

 

“that's

Saved again! So many levels.

not

—I'll live. Deep undercurrent.

my

—Hold it! Weak as I am.

problem!”

Circling society. My way!

 

10. My name is Richard Ames Hart. I live in Berkeley, California USA with e-mail RichardRoe@aol.com — I can afford to respond a little bit as long as I'm alive. Meanwhile, here's some of what I know.

11. Many people, especially clerks and servers at retail institutions, see interpersonal communications as a form of warfare, I'm not sure why.

 

“how

—Swept away! Rich and poor.

are

—Closing the gap. Took years.

you

If I were rich. Is that possible?

doing

—Catching up. Cherry-picking!

today?”

—Piece by piece. No blame.

 

 

“haven't

Go on! Struggling to escape.

seen

—Bad actors. Who needs it?

you

—If I were rich. Is that possible?

in

Uninhibited! If you will.

a

—A mystery box. Insulated.

while.”

Likewise. Left unsaid.

 

 

“have

—Tricky! A narrow slice.

a

A mystery box. Insulated.

good

So far, so long. Shame is good.

one.”

—Underneath it all. Draw down!

 

 

“enjoy!”

—Try to rewire. Before long!

 

12. See how you can pick and choose a response to each “trigger word” that seems to make sense? This is the Backtalktionary, that goes in the opposite direction of a dictionary, with responses to words, as opposed to the historical meanings or ancient etymologies of words. Potential responses clarify the true meaning of a bracketing sentence! We are embedded in the river of time. We are embedded in our own lives!

 

“I

—Why would you? Not quite.

don't

Watch out! Sparingly.

get

—All rightie then. Indeed.

it!”

Under the full moon. A ladder.

 

13. I was so happy when I discovered there's a whole section of the Internet devoted to what the heck to say back when someone asks, “How is everything?” Thank God! Thank God! I'm not the only one.

 

“how

—Swept away! Rich and poor.

is

—Au contraire. By the star.

everything?”

Everything goes so slowly.

 

14. Some brothers and sisters are so deranged, the best thing you can do is dig down & summon your inner Frankenstein, then be very, very theatrical ... with a Marlon Brando lisp!

 

“I

—Why would you? Not quite.

can't

—Thru with those who stop.

stand

—Haunted. Beautiful perthon!

the

That's a switch. Backätcha.

sound

—Put yourself in the light.

of

—Just imagine. Which includes?

your

—Not mine! I do other things.

voice!”

Everything goes so slowly.

 

15. Defend your inner entity! Say something back! Some people at the Institute of Mindlessly Insane Imitations of Their Mother, being so hateful, spiteful & jealous when you excitedly cry out, “I've finished the project and have no competition!” cannot restrain themselves:

 

“don't

Watch out! Sparingly.

speak

—So far. Dirt made my lunch.

too

—Very different. Look away!

soon.”

—That's it. A force of nature.

 

16. Practice not being good, or you'll sink like a turd! (A baby's turds float!) Mothers themselves can intercept you at the corner market (“Ha, ha, ha!”) when you're buying the morning New York Times & make a sport out of being argumentative, negative & mean: “I've got to get to McDonald's before they close! It's called breakfast!”

 

“I

—Why would you? Not quite.

thought

—Right! Absolutely. Easy choice.

it

—Under the full moon. A ladder.

was

—Not remotely. Awkward.

called

You're smarter than that.

McDonald's.”

—Not today. Persevere.

 

 

“you

—If I were rich. Is that possible?

maligned

No shit! Or vice versa.

her.”

—Play something else. Cut out!

 

 

“that's

—Saved again! So many levels.

not

—I'll live. Deep undercurrent.

going

Summer! I'll meet you there.

to

—No rush. Too much, too soon.

work.”

I know, right? All that.

 

17. I believe Mother Nature is my literal, symbolic & actual mother, much as Henry David Thoreau did at Walden Pond in 1847. Thus, when a bully on a third-grade playground cries out,

 

“your

—Not mine! I do other things.

mother!”

Plant new seeds. In the dark.

 

I know exactly what to say back, even though they know nothing, never knew nothing, and never will know nothing! Or anything!

Let them find their fate and their fight somewhere else, certainly not along the river of life, where you and Huckleberry Finn have a chance to hang out.

 

“what?”

There now. Are you a thief?

 

18. In social interactions many people are thieves, fervently distracting you, taking over your life, assaulting your sense of well-being, and starting out by completely stealing your attention.

 

“are

—Closing the gap. Took years.

you

—If I were rich. Is that possible?

okay?”

—For now. Let's hope.

 

19. If your attention is something that flies into a rabbit hole of imaginary inferences, let it fly back to your own life, whether anyone likes it or not! Don't let it drown in negative emotions! Don't let it get stuck in a swamp of foul feelings! Say something back, say anything at all back! Song lyrics, scripture, Tao Te Ching, Tarot. It doesn't even matter what you say back! Isn't that weird?

 

“I

—Why would you? Not quite.

think

—Family & friends. Each of us.

you're

—Elevator! Let's start with you.

weird.”

Small world. Paint names.

 

20. They think you're weird because you're happy & rich, and on some level they believe they can steal some of your pleasure & wealth. These people, who are stuck in their own misery, are called gutter snipes! Remember, they're stuck! The best advice you can give them is to “Let the machinery work,” and to “Never buy horses!” Okay. Here comes a meeting with a wonderful gutter snipe — Let's practice holding onto our attention (Hold your breath) and our wealth (Sense your belly). Prove to the sons-of-bitches they can't steal your happiness! (Your genitals!) Nobody can steal someone else's happiness. Blow the smoke away! It's impossible. You have to manufacture your own happiness (The part of you that dreams at night can teach you), and jealously hold onto every hint of that universal joy! Doo-dah!

 

“remember

Team No-effort. Next week.

me?

—Sure, boss! Leave me out of it!

how

—Swept away! Rich and poor.

much

—Almost two million. It is.

rent

—Don't worry. Never buy horses.

do

—On a fence somewhere.

you

—If I were rich. Is that possible?

pay?

—In a way. I've earned it.

whatever ...

—That can't be right.

just

—Dark & verby. Think big!

kidding.

Let the machinery work.

working

—But why? Leisurely.

hard?

—Nothing really. Think things!

keep

—Am I in trouble? Whereto?

trying.

—Tricky! A narrow slice.

always!

—Who knows? Ever hopeful.

behaving

—Bad timing. Mañana.

yourself?

—How so? Most of us don't.

staying

Not today. Persevere.

out

—Plant new seeds. In the dark.

of

—Just imagine. Which includes?

trouble?

—Ke-mo sah-be. You got me!

keeping

—Very easy. Effortless.

busy?

—It's a business, you know?

getting

—Off rhythm. The opposite.

old,

—Oh, I'll get over it. Too soon.

huh?

—Am I in trouble? Whereto?

you're

—Elevator! Let's start with you.

hired!

—How amusing. I live there.

you're

—Elevator! Let's start with you.

fired!

Anything else? The towel.

you're

—Elevator! Let's start with you.

so

—Or worse. Mud drops!

bad.

—Beer & sandwich would be nice.

be

—But why? Leisurely.

good!”

—So far, so long. Shame is good.

 

21. Imagine a backtalktionary GAMESCAPE bringing The Pilgrim's Progress, the spiritual allegory by John Bunyan, from 1678 to an age of artificial intelligence in which each & every word in a verbal attack contains a specific associated response. This could be called object-oriented self-defense. It's a child's dream. An enemy walks up to you somewhere along the River of Time, hands you a weapon with which to kill him or her, and you simply Think it!

 

“what

—There now. Are you a thief?

would

—Nothing but beauty.

you

—If I were rich. Is that possible?

say

—There's no place like this.

if

—Far better! Don't laugh.

someone

—It's maddening. Close call!

said,

My! Insultingly beautiful.

'you're

—Elevator! Let's start with you.

an

—Much deeper than that.

asshole?'

—Economically brilliant.

 

 

“ASSHOLE!”

REAL AXE! Sweetie.

 

22. Sometimes the unrestrained say racy things just to make the bottled-up squirm. Once you realize we're all lunatics, you do all right.

 

“I'd

—Bad actors. Who needs it?

like

—New to me. A long way.

to

—No rush. Too much, too soon.

bend

—Elevator! Let's start with you.

her

—Play something else. Cut out!

over

—Tricky! A narrow slice.

the

—That's a switch. Backätcha.

table,

—Who, me? Knock it off!

give

—Just imagine. Which includes?

her

—Play something else. Cut out!

some

—Wise up! Step aside!

meat!”

Wild, huh? Laundry and all.

 

23. So let's move away from attack mode and into some real knowledge. If you're a girl and someone's hitting on you, there are some fiendishly clever ways to reject an upperclassman kindly:

 

“hey,

—I don't deserve that. Taxi!

what's

Not as much. It's up to you.

up?

—A star field. Side pony!

you

—If I were rich. Is that possible?

look

—In a ruin. Ancient footprints.

new

Not at all. It's no picnic.

here.”

Flow right in. Magnetism.

 

“got

—Let the machinery work.

a

—A mystery box. Insulated.

jump?

Someone else. In this place.

can

—What you least expect. Edgy.

I

—Why would you? Not quite.

borrow

—Try again. Not what you think.

your

—Not mine! I do other things.

pen?”

—Penny-pinching! Smart not to.

 

“let

—No turning point. See it change.

me

—Sure, boss! Leave me out of it!

just

—Dark & verby. Think big!

use

Afraid not. You'll be first up.

your

Not mine! I do other things.

cell

—Mr. E. Nothing personal.

phone.

—Ke-mo sah-be. You got me!

thanks!

—Home free! No trouble.

appreciate

—All set. Makes you cry.

it.”

—Under the full moon. A ladder.

 

“maybe

—Slavery. That's it for now.

we

—So foolish. People like me.

can

—What you least expect. Edgy.

hook up

—On your own. If we had time.

sometime.”

—I decide what's for me.

 

“are

—Closing the gap. Took years.

you

If I were rich. Is that possible?

racist.”

—Hardly matters. Less likely.

 

“come

By no means, sir! By law.

on! ...

—The wetness. Just wait!

you

—If I were rich. Is that possible?

don't

—Watch out! Sparingly.

want

—By moonlight. Sold out!

to

No rush. Too much, too soon.

be

—But why? Leisurely.

rude.”

You can't be too careful.

 

“give

—Just imagine. Which includes?

me

—Sure, boss! Leave me out of it!

some

—Wise up! Step aside!

help.

—I know it's a jungle out there.

put

—Here and now! That's all.

your

Not mine! I do other things.

finger

Quite unnecessary. Stoned!

right

—No idea. I don't care anymore.

here.”

—Flow right in. Magnetism.

 

“then

—Man! Expensive!

let's

—It's stage directions. Capiche?

meet

Not now. Not everyone.

up

—A star field. Side pony!

on

—The wetness. Just wait!

the

That's a switch. Backätcha.

roof.”

—No rush. Too much, too soon.

 

24. A child knows life is overflowing with magic & mystery. It's inside you. Many people try to murder you with the mundane, and they carry it out by tricking you into pretending you're good. Nobody's good and nobody's bad. We're just people figuring out how to stay out of prison. At a restaurant, you can practice the good manners of “being bad!”

 

“have

Tricky! A narrow slice.

you

—If I were rich. Is that possible?

decided?

—I know what to do. Do less.

do

—On a fence somewhere.

you

—If I were rich. Is that possible?

know

—Around & back through. I do.

what

—There now. Are you a thief?

you

—If I were rich. Is that possible?

want?”

By moonlight. Sold out!

 

25. See how powerful kindness and knowledge can be? Einstein figured it out. So can you!

[Click here] for the Backtalktionary! Unless you're totally insane & coming from the future. Then [click here]. What on earth are you doing in the future? There's too much at stake. Boost your social skills. Say something back, whether anyone likes it or not.

Boost your ability to adhere to your own life ... to the dark side of you that dreams at night, which can be your best friend. Your side pony!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

24 August 2016