Everyone has their own particular quirk -- the thing they do to be funny, if only because it's that thing that they always do. For some people, it's dry sarcasm. For others, it's a celebrity impersonation. My own stamp of comedy, I sadly realise, is offering wildly incorrect guesses to someone's question. For my co-worker MJ, though, it's combining words.
"Hey, look at that," I'll say. "That is one frightened rabbit."
"Yep," he'll reply, "That's a frabbit, all right."
It's almost like clockwork. Declarative statement, adjective, noun, and that's his cue.
"Wow, it's swelteringly hot."
"It sure is swot."
The other day, I was discussing the merits of thugs vs. footpads with him. True, footpads had more respect for their craft, but they're chronic loners. Thugs have friends, gangs, rivals, and loyalties. They're the social hoodlum, I claimed.
"You mean, the shoodlum?"
I stopped, and looked at him for a long moment. "You know, I think there's a word for what you've got."
"Oh? What's that?"
He fell silent for a minute, and I basked in my victory. Reciprocation, when properly timed, can be the sweetest retort of all.
You know -- a recipropeetort.