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Charlie Hatton
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I'm on a bit of a hiatus right now, but only to work on other projects -- one incredibly exciting example being the newly-released kids' science book series Things That Make You Go Yuck!
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Smartass 101: A Study in Snark

People often ask me: ‘How can I become a smartass like you?

Not in so many words, of course. Often they ask: ‘Why the hell are you such a smartass?

Or: ‘You think you’re so cool, don’t you?

Or even: ‘You know the restraining order says one hundred feet! Would you get out of my panties drawer?!

But the intention is clear — they want to be a smartass, just like me. And in the interest of sneering petty snarkophiles everywhere, I’m going to tell you how.

Being a smartass is very simple; there are only two rules you need to follow.

1. Tell people what they most want to hear, with a straight face.
2. Then tell them the truth.

(The South Park fan inside me wants very much to add: ‘3. Profit!‘. To which I say:

‘What the hell is this South Park fan doing inside me? You know the restraining order says one hundred feet!!’

That’s a ‘callback’, folks. It’s one of those comedical techniques you read about in the books. No extra charge for that.

This time.)

Those two simple rules are all you need, really. With a bit of practice and some loving encouragement, even a child could become a serviceable smartass .Hell, a monkey could do it. Maybe even a telemarketer — though Darwinism dictates that we really shouldn’t interact with their kind in any way that doesn’t involve heavy blunt objects. And possibly a taser.

The key thing to remember about being a smartass is the turning point between ‘sugary sweet’ and ‘brutally honest’. It’s crucial to be polite and helpful, right up until the key word comes out of the victim’s mouth: ‘Really?‘ Then, all bets are off.

Let’s see the rules in action, shall we? We’ll need a patsy for this — a clueless sort, naive and oblivious to the gathering stromclouds. So I’ll make up a rube, our smartass foil du jour — we’ll call her ‘Jilly’.

Now, imagine Jilly out there trying on pants somewhere. Possibly in a mall. You, the budding smartass, have somehow been roped into tagging along. You’d much rather be doing something else. Maybe there’s football on TV, or garbage to take out, or fresh poodle plop to rub in your hair while you sing ‘I’m a Little Teapot‘. Basically, anything to get away from yammering Jilly and her shopping-spree shenanigans. So, when she emerges from the dressing room with a pair of capris stretched around her frame, straining and groaning at the seams, you could play it thusly:

Jilly: Do these pants make my butt look big?

Smartass: No, not at all. Really, they’re quite fetching on you.

Jilly: Really?

Smartass: No, not really. They’re squishing your enormous ass like an oversized pressed ham. Maybe if you’d tuck the bottom of your cheeks into your socks, that would be better.

See how easy? And after that exchange, you’ll never have to suffer through another trip to the mall ever again. Trust me.*

(* Technique not recommended for use on wives, steady girlfriends, women who carry mace, ladies with canes, ‘foxy boxers’, or large black women prone to saying ‘Oh no you di’n’t!!!’.)

So, that was an easy one. Let’s try another.

Say you’re over at Jilly’s house, helping her out. She’s not the wiggliest dildo on the nightstand, remember, so you’re trying to do your civic duty and assist the less clueful in the neighborhood. Maybe you’re there, opening her mail — because otherwise, she might stab herself in the eye with the letter opener, or lose her virginity to one of those AOL CDs they’re always sending around. In this scenario, she might see you opening a ‘Publisher’s Clearing House‘ letter, and say:

Jilly: Ooh! Ooh! It says I may have won! I may have won! Did I win? I bet I did.

Smartass: Why… yes! Look at this — you won! It says right here, eleven million dollars!

Jilly: Wow! Really?

Smartass: No. You didn’t win, and you never will. And if you do, they won’t give you any money. Ed McMahon will come to your house, pee in your orange juice, and leave. You’re a moron. Now put down that AOL CD, and for crissakes, put some pants on.

See, that’s public service, there. Making idiots more realistic about the poor, sad, lonely, peed-in-breakfast-drink kind of life they’re likely to lead. Being a smartass is not only loads of fun, it’s also good for society. We’re, like, doctors or therapists or strippers or something.

And you don’t have to wait for an opening to be a smartass. Oh, no. You can pull smartassery out of thin air, in most any situation. Say, for instance, that our friendly rube Jilly can’t find her cat. She’s lost it, or eaten it, or squished it under those capri tents she’s wearing — who knows? But you’ve been recruited to help find the finicky feline; what better time to practice your smartass lessons? To wit:

Smartass: Oh… hey! I think I found it! I found your cat!

Jilly: Omigawd! I thought I’d never see Mr. Fluffers again! Really?

Smartass: No. Not really. Your cat’s probably in somebody’s moo goo gai pan by now. Hah!

Mean? Yes, I suppose. But really, should the morons of the world be trusted with pet ownership in the first place? I think not. That’s how yappy lap terrier rats and crazy cat ladies get started. Why not nip the nonsense in the bud, with a well-aimed verbal jab or two?

I hope these lessons have helped you see that just about anyone can be a smartass. Why, with a little hard work and practice, even the nicest and most unassuming among us can make a contribution, and become a smartass. Hey, maybe even you!

(Did you just say, ‘Even me? REALLY?


Permalink  |  21 Comments

21 Responses to “Smartass 101: A Study in Snark”

  1. RRaccoon says:

    I wish to suckle at your teat of smartassery. That was awesome.

    (Go ahead, say it. “Really?”)

  2. The Red says:

    Really? TEAT of smartassery? Wow!


  3. jenny says:

    i always say, ‘always better to be a smartass than a dumbass’


  4. pib says:

    what if u r a smart ass dumb ass…….

  5. trevor says:

    what if the person doesn’t say “really”? what if they just go with it?

  6. meanguy says:

    then youll just have to stick to being a dumbass bro.

  7. Dark says:

    You have to be born a smartass!

  8. jacob says:

    hi im jacob im 12 and a natural smartass on field day i went up to a prep because we were in fight i said “the only place where you were invited was outside you little bitch” which made her cry banning me from field day

  9. bonnie says:

    lol im 12 too and that was perfect but it wouldnt have made me cry

  10. jacaab says:

    How to be a smart ass in class,to the teachers or students

  11. jacaab says:

    How to be a smart ass to school kids at school ?

  12. Kevin says:

    That wasn’t smartassism that was just plain sarcasm! This is smartassism:-

    Imagine a betting pool on what people would find on a hunting trip. The idiot says a lion (None in the region), the tough guy says a bear, the cautious says a rabbit, the smartass says trees.

  13. Jamal says:

    A good smartass would have said “air”.

  14. DovaKhiin says:

    I used to be a smartass but 3 years later I am now a DUMBASS….

  15. Jilly says:

    I don’t get it… First you say one thing, then something else? This is so confusing. P.S. Mr. Fluffers came home!

  16. Keysha says:


  17. KEYSHA LONG says:


  18. doug says:

    this is not really being a smart ass here is an example of me one day in history class. *all students at window looking at snow* supply teacher walks in* supply teacher:Every one get to your seats right now!

    *every one goes to their seats i sitting next to the window am kneeling on my chair still looking out.*

    Teacher:I said go to your seat!

    Me: But sir i sit here.

    Teacher: you don’t sit there any more move seats.

    *i stand up move over one desk and sit back down*

    Teacher: move again

    *we repeat this around five times till he is happy*

    Teacher: Now go tuck in your chair *pointing at original seat*

    Me: But sir… thats not my seat.

    Teacher: come with me now…

    *class starts to clap as he leads me into the hall way*

    Teacher: do you think your funny?

    Me: not really sir but they clearly did…

    trick is keeping straight face

  19. shotgun says:

    does roy know??


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