The Importance of Having a Line Ready
Chris and Billy were meeting up for a workout behind one of the local elementary schools. The town of Bolton had just renovated the field and put in enough turf to cover a city block. Most mornings they had no problem finding a little corner to call their own for 40-60 minutes.
Both guys hauled their bodies out of their warm cars and into the morning air.
“Mornin’ man,” Billy said.
They set their water jugs, iPhones, and keys down on the tailgate of Bill’s truck. It’s a glorious fall morning. Fifty eight degrees going to 71.
Billy [in charge of planning the workouts] was scratching out a few lines with a pencil in a pocket sized notebook while Chris started schlepping a kettlebell and a TRX strap over to the field.
The boys start moving slowly through a few stretches and mobility drills. They let out a chorus of groans as they try to shake the morning crustiness from their joints. Takes a while to restart the motherboard these days.
A sharp voice startles them.
“Is this yours?” she says bitchily in their general direction. “She” is a power mom in the middle of stomping out a walk on the paved path that surrounds the turf. She’s holding up a single serving of Fireball Cinnamon Whiskey. She has a mug on her desk at home that says “#Boss Lady” on it, for sure.
“Nah,” Chris lobs back. Billy is caught off guard and says nothing. He feels equal parts proud that Chris got out a single apathetic syllable plus self hatred for going mute. Billy will replay this interaction for months in the shower and on long drives. In the shower and on long drives, he will have an assortment of great lines to fire back with. In this moment, he’s got nothing.
“Well. I’m going to trash it. My kids go to school here.” She strides off toward the trash can and spikes the nip into the can; she wipes her hands on her leggings in disgust. They watch her walk off.
“Well fuck you, lady,” Chris mutters when he’s sure she can’t hear, “Does it look like we are settling in for a cocktail on a Tuesday at 10am?”
Billy pauses to take stock of himself. The brothers are a little slobby looking in their workout clothes and unshaven faces. Their bellies are the softest they’ve been in their careers. Maybe this is what morning drinkers look like?
“What a C,” Billy whispers to himself.
You gotta have a line ready for situations like this. Chris’ “settling in for a cocktail” line is a beauty, but it wasn’t ready to fly. It shouldn’t be worthy of a police call, just a nice clean one that lands squarely on target.
Here’s an exercise:
You mildly inconvenience yourself to hold the door for a stranger and they breeze through without even a glance of appreciation.
STOP what you’re doing [right now. nothing more important] and get a couple of lines ready. Write them down and practice them in the car. This will save you from replaying the scene for years.
Share one in the comments if you want to workshop it a bit.
If you have another situation where it really pays to have a line ready, please share.
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