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People in France have a phrase: “Spirit of the Stairway.” In French: Esprit d’Escalier. It means that moment when you find the answer but it’s too late. So you’re at a party and someone insults you. You have to say something. So, under pressure, with everybody watching, you say something lame. But the moment you leave the party …

As you start down the stairway, then — magic. You come up with the perfect thing you should’ve said. The perfect crippling put down.

That’s the Spirit of the Stairway.

The trouble is, even the French don’t have a phrase for the stupid things you actually do say under pressure. Those stupid, desperate things you actually think or do.

Chuck Palahniuk (b. 1962) American novelist and freelance journalist
Haunted (2005)
Added on 13-Aug-20 | Last updated 13-Aug-20
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A champion is someone who gets up when he can’t.

William Harrison "Jack" Dempsey (1895-1983) American professional boxer ("Kid Blackie," "The Manassa Mauler")

Comment after his fight with Luis Ángel Firpo (14 Sep 1923).
Added on 4-Apr-18 | Last updated 4-Apr-18
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“John has warned me that you are a jokester. Well, I am not. If we are to have any kind of successful association, you’d best understand right now that I do not enjoy humor. Whether or not successful.”

“Okay if now and then I enjoy a wry, inward smile if struck by one of life’s vagaries?”

Robert B. Parker (1932-2010) American writer
Looking for Rachel Wallace (1980)
Added on 22-Mar-17 | Last updated 22-Mar-17
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