Wednesday RDP – COMEBACK
Borrowed from Latin retortus, from retorquēre (“to be forced to twist back”).
The definition from the Latin word above isn’t the way we use this word, and in my opinion it’s a bit of a stretch to link today’s use of comeback to the Latin retorquere
THAT definition and usage made me think of wrestling. Not the phony silliness you see on TV, which is so clearly rehearsed as to be monotonous, but the real thing. I’m thinking of high school boys sweating on a gym mat, twisting each other into various impossible configurations of the human body. All three of my sons wrestled, and I was there whenever I could be, but I was SO thankful when the youngest one finished his last match!
Anyway, today we think of comeback in two ways. One, a person of fame who has lost center stage for one reason or the other decides he want to be back in the spotlight, so he finds someone who will publicize his decision and then he’ll make a big splashy return to whatever was his claim to fame. Could be a singer, actor, athlete—even a politician, I suppose.Some of them do seem to resurface in every big election.
Then there is the person who always has a quick, often hilarious retort for whatever anyone says. I think perhaps Robin Williams was a standout in this area. He was so quick that it hardly seemed he had time to think before he would start rattling off a whole string of hilarious retorts. Groucho Marx, for instance.
Seems to me, though, that the whole comeback thing never really accomplishes its purpose. If an entertainer, athlete, etc. has lost the limelight, it’s probably because someone else has come along who is better, more popular, funnier. The truly great ones in entertainment never really leave the scene. They just get better with age. I’m thinking of people like Katherine Hepburn or John Wayne, or Lucille Ball. No comebacks for them, because they never lost their appeal.
2 thoughts on “Quick Return”
I admired Bob Hope for his quickness too and a UK comedian called Bob Monkhouse.
Apparently, when Bob Hope’s wife asked him, on his deathbed, what music he’d like played at his funeral, he replied: “Surprise me”. 🙂
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