Comebacks Part 3

COMEBACKS 3 by John Foss

    As you can see, I've been collecting these things for over 13 years now.
    It's about time they were all put together and updated. First we will
    speak of the philosophy of answering the stupid remarks. Then I will
    attempt to list each of the possible questions with all my answers on
    file, starting with generic answers. Many of the answers to numbers 1-3
    are interchangeable.

Alberto Ruiz said: “When somebody makes a remark on us, we can snap back. But
let’s remember that we do this for fun. Whenever I hear a remark, even if I
sense irony, I prefer that the person admires my ability to ride on one wheel,
so I take it as a compliment. So, just keep having fun and don’t get annoyed.”

Dennis Kathrens said: "Ironic how most people seem to think we ride for their
amusement…maybe that’s true, but only secondarily at least in my case. It’s my
feeling that unicycling, like everything else in life, should be an expression
of positivity so I don’t really want to give answers that will hurt. "But
usually when this question gets asked, no answer is expected or even desired.
You are being made the butt of a joke, which is technically speaking, verbal
abuse even if the speaker doesn’t realize it. There are a number of different
responses to abuse. "Most of the time the speaker thinks he/she is being
friendly in a clever sort of way. They don’t realize how unoriginal they are and
how hard it becomes to find polite replies. If the speaker is only “speaking to
hear his head rattle” then s/he will probably fail to hear or understand it any
witty rejoinder you make. “You simply have to gauge your audience when choosing
a response.”

Karl Frankowski said: “I don’t like all of the responses to that horrible
question which involve falling off of your uni. They make you look stupid, or
clown like, which is not the image that we want to give the public. If however
you must fall off and deliver your line, please proceed to hit the person with
your fallen unicycle, and make sure they know never to say “that” again. I’m
sick of people who think they are smart and original with the deliverance of
that line.”

Julian Orbach said: “My problem with these wise-cracks is that they never seem
to be set up right. I will be riding along, trying to cross a driveway, looking
both ways for cars simultaneously whilst paying attention to the sudden slope in
the footpath (sidewalk), and the crack in bitumen, and the access-hole cover and
all I hear is some voice from somewhere (I don’t have time to look behind me to
see who it is) saying “Ostuvveellmt?”, more in the direction of their friends
than towards me. By the time I parse the sentence, and work out what was said, I
am 20 meters down the road, and missed my chance.” (to this, John Stimson added:
“This is where a handgun comes in handy. For those states where shooting people
is illegal, you can substitute a dart/paint/water gun…”)

    In general, if you consider yourself a good promoter of unicycling, and
    if you want unicycling to have a good image, you will only give a
    good-spirited response. As Dennis says, usually the speaker is trying to
    be friendly, and make an admiring remark while being clever at the same
    time. They have seldom seen a unicycle, but we see them every day. They
    only just thought of their comment, but we hear it every day. For these
    people, a clever, but not nasty or sarcastic response is best for
    unicycling public relations. Other people, on the other hand, are
    directing their remarks more to their friends or to the four winds, and
    are not trying to be friendly. The good unicyclist will ignore these
    remarks, or return them with something nice, but we are all human. There
    are times when we may want to be more biting. To quote Dennis again, you
    must gauge your audience. This list is intended for fun, and to arm you
    with the most appropriate responses to those common questions. The
    friendly speaker will often appreciate what went into your having an
    immediate, funny response to their question. In any case, I accept no
    responsibility to what happens to you when you use these!

GENERIC ANSWERS (go with almost any comment) by Dennis Kathrens

  1.  Ignore it and ride on.
  2.  Smile and ride on.
  3.  Say "I don't need a training wheel any more.
  4.  Laugh maniacally and say "What a wit!" (or in some cases, twit)
  5.  That's the nth time I've heard that one today.
  6.  Say "I've never heard that before!" (varying degree of sarcasm as
  7.  Keep count of how many times you've heard that question and make that
     number your response, ie 364!" As time goes on, people in your
     neighborhood will get the message. (I got the idea for this one from
     an old joke about a kook jumping up and down on a manhole cover
     chanting "83, 83, 83". A twit comes over and asks why. The kook pulls
     the cover aside and invites the twit to look down the hole, then
     shoves him in. Then he replaces the cover and starts jumping up and
     down chanting "84, 84, 84".)
  8.  Get off your uni, twat the person responsible and ride off. (That must
     involve a different definition of 'twat' than I've heard of, but then
     I'm just an American). -- Twat means 'thump.'

a. Don’t need it. (has the advantage of being friendly and brief)
b. On my other unicycle!
c. This IS my other wheel.
d. Real men/women don’t need two wheels.
e. When the rapture hit, the good wheel went to heaven, and I’m stuck here
with this wheel for telling bad jokes.
f. It’ll be along in a minute.
g. (when riding with others) He/she’s riding it.
h. My dog’s riding it.
i. I could only afford one wheel.
j. This is the recession model.
k. I got the bike on sale, half off. (You could add, “I didn’t realize they
meant the bike”)
l. This is the Bobbit model, half off.
m. I’m paying for it in installments.
n. It’s this downsizing thing.
o. My dad bought one bike for my bro’ and me to share.
p. In Nanny’s room, behind the clock.
q. I loaned the other wheel to a friend. Sit here and make sure he comes
r. So far I’ve only mastered one half.
s. It got hit by a car and destroyed.
t. Oh, I’m missing some?
u. It’s invisible!
v. I’m conserving resources.
w. I don’t carry a spare.
x. I donated it to science.
y. If it were up your ayou’d know where it was! (and smile when you say
dat - dem’s fightin’ woids) Enunciate clearly from speaking distance or
s/he will parse it as “It’s up my a–, that’s where it is!”
z. I got in an accident, and the other one’s up my (fill in the blank).
Wouldn’t want to Pervert the mailing list.


a. No, I just found this one.
b. No, I lost 3.
c. No, I lost a car.
d. No, I lost my mind.
e. I like this one!
f. That’s the last time I buy an American car. (especially while riding
an ultimate)
g. Uh, actually, it was a TRICYCLE before the accident.
h. You’re kidding, it was there last time I looked! (and promptly fall off)


a. No, I found out I didn’t need it.
b. No, this is all I could afford.
c. No, it was repossessed!
d. I didn’t put enough locks on it.
e. No, it’s right underneath me.
f. Oh, am I missing some?
g. How did you figure that out?
h. This IS the other half of my bicycle.
i. Can’t trust anyone these days.


a. Like this.
b. Usually with my hands, but not right now.
c. Recklessly (then I swerve and almost hit them)
d. Carefully, how do you walk?
e. How do I ride what?
f. Using my legs.
g. I try to stay on this top part.
h. By sheer force of will power.
i. Better than you.


a. I don’t.
b. It hurts!
c. I try not to land on my face.
d. I stop for tea. FOR GIRAFFES:
e. I try to land on the nearest smart aleck.
f. I toss out my parachute.
g. I pull the rip cord!
h. I’ll show you. Get ready to catch me!
i. Call 911


a. It’s a UIKE!
b. Hey, look at that fool who doesn’t know what a unicycle is!
c. What bike?
d. What’s a bike?
e. Have you been drinking too much? This is a unicycle.

  1.  FALL DOWN!

a. Why don’t you fall up?
b. Only if I can land on you.
c. I will for ten bucks. For twenty I’ll land on my head. For thirty, I
won’t land on you!
d. I don’t know how to.
e. Falling up is better.
f. I’m afraid of what might happen, so I never do.

  1.  DON'T FALL!

a. Thanks, Mom.
b. Don’t you, walking can be quite dangerous when you aren’t used to it!
c. Don’t worry, I wouldn’t want to lower myself to your level.
d. Thanks for that worldly advice.
e. I did once, last month.
f. But I was just about to!


a. Then I’m limited to riding on tightropes and railroad tracks!
b. I keep a spare in the trunk.
c. I move my furniture in!
d. Wait for the tow truck.
e. A flat what?
f. Sing half a note lower, naturally.
g. Call the road service.


a. I run into a smart aleck!
b. Ride onto a sewer grating (you know the ones)
c. Right side up, I hope.
d. Hit a wall. FOR GIRAFFES:
e. I can’t! Could you bring me a sandwich, I haven’t eaten in days!


a. No, you’ve got the joke wrong, it’s YOU LOST YOUR OTHER WHEEL!
b. No, they’re invisible!
c. No, they’re right next to my brakes.
d. I threw them away.


a. On my bicycle.
b. Where’s your steering wheel?
c. On my skateboard.
d. I use them to drive my car.


a. Can you climb?
b. I’m not a taxi.
c. Hop on the handleba - the luggage ra - the back fend - oh forget it.


a. Oh.
b. You can do what?
c. And I can walk, just like you.
d. Hand them the uni. (a surefire winner. If they can actually ride, you’ve
found a friend)


a. (stop and do some hopping)
b. Roll over!
c. It IS a wheelie.

  1. (when pushing the unicycle) CAN YOU RIDE THAT?

a. No, I’m taking it for a walk.
b. Ride what?
c. I’ve had to have one of these since my operation.
d. Of course not, nobody can.
e. No, but now people think I can.


a. Nah, I can only go UP! (and quickly leave so they don’t get a chance to
make you do it…or make a crude comment about what parts of your
anatomy might get crushed if you did.)
b. Naah. I lost the other wheel that way.
c. You first.



a. Step down off my taller one!
b. Climb up a tall girl.
c. Crane, of course.
d. Bionic legs.
e. I have it trained to pick me up.
f. I don’t remember!


a. Fall on a smart aleck!
b. Parachute!
c. An escalator.
d. An elevator.
e. Down where?
f. Well, I’d rather not discuss my personal life right now.
g. Back flip onto trampoline.
h. Call the fire department!
i. I’ve been trying to remember for three days now!
j. Gravity. It always wins in the end.
k. Hit a bump when I’m not looking.


a. Peaceful!
b. Partly cloudy with scattered old jokes!
c. Made of oxygen.
d. Up where?
e. The air is thin up here!
f. (in winter) Nice and warm.
g. (in summer) Snowing.
h. (nice day) Raining.

Contributors (in no order): Tom Magruder, Alan Foss, Mark Schaefer, Dave
Brichford, Kit Summers, Simon Haynes <> Danny Colyer
<> Bert Neff <> Beirne Konarski
<> Robert Herndon <> Mark Schiffner
<mark@East.DELFIN.COM> Anu Garg <anu@viper.ELP.CWRU.Edu> Craig Milo Rogers
<rogers@ISI.EDU> Julian Orbach <> Daniel Dick
<> John Stimson <> Alberto Ruiz <> Mike Frankowski <>
<> Dennis Kathrens <> Rik Allen
<> Ken Fuchs <>

John Foss, President International Unicycling Federation

Re: Comebacks Part 3

John Foss wrote:
|> COMEBACKS 3 by John Foss
|> As you can see, I’ve been collecting these things for over 13 years now.
|> It’s about time they were all put together and updated. First we will
|> speak of the philosophy of answering the stupid remarks. Then I will
|> attempt to list each of the possible questions with all my answers on
|> file, starting with generic answers. Many of the answers to numbers 1-3
|> are interchangeable.

This is one of the most hillarious things I ever read. With your permission,
Senor El Presidente, I would like to translate some of it into Japanese and
publish in JUA News. Most of it will go over right over their heads. I hope you
don’t think I am prejudiced when I say the Japanese sense of humor is ____
.Well, you can fill in the blank. Having written three books on humor and jokes
in Japanese, I can tell you with some degree of confidence about the their _____
sense of humor.

|> a. Step down off my taller one!
|> b. Climb up a tall girl.
|> c. Crane, of course.
|> d. Bionic legs.
|> e. I have it trained to pick me up.
|> f. I don’t remember!

I’ll just contribute one that I use:

g. I call my local helicopter service

This draws more blank stares than smiles. But as they inisist for a serious
answer and I keep insisting that it’s a helicopter or sometimes a crane, the
smiles start cracking…

Stay on top,

Jack Halpern IUF Vice President

Kanji Dictionary Publishing Society 1-3-502 3-Chome Niiza Niiza-shi, Saitama 352
JAPAN Voice: +81-048-481-3103 Fax: +81-048-479-1323

That’s a good list!
I have a new variation on an old answer, since the theft of my MUni.

Old man: “Where’s your other wheel?”

Me: “The cops stole it!”

Old man: “Bugger!”

hahah yes!

thanx for all the work that went into that john

now we just need to get a printed copy that can ship with every unicycle they sell

The original post was in 1994. Does that mean you have 10 more years of comebacks now?
(BTW, until I looked at the date, I was wondering why John was using a different user name.)

HOLY! Who dug this post up?!

oh geez, its from 1994

whats Foss up to these days?


My Favorite:

Them: Where’s your other wheel?
Me: I lost it in the divorce.

I’ve never been married, but they don’t know that .

i like the variation “this is what happens when tandemists get divorced…”


The other day I saw some people being shown a house for sale on my street. They looked up as I rode by, and I shook my head and said with a smile, “This neighborhood is full of clowns!” Broke them up.

But you could have spoiled the sale…

Klaas Bil

If that comment spoiled the sale, then I probably wouldn’t want such humor-less individuals as neighbors :slight_smile:


    e. Do I look like I need to be behind bars?

I confess, it was me. The search feature is good at finding old posts. I had another variation on the same ‘stolen wheel’ joke again the other day. I was outside the council building, and a man asked me why I was not down at the police station reporting the other half stolen. I informed him that I had just been to see the Senior Sergeant at the Police station to report how the Police had stolen my other wheel. I bet he was not expecting that reply! The man demanded a demonstration of how to get on, and I showed him, offering him the crappy unicycle to try. He declined, using the too common excuse of “I can’t do that, if I tried I’d break my neck!”

The best ones are always the ones where you beat them to it. I need to remember that next time I go out riding.