L’esprit de l’escalier

In France, and among those elsewhere who speak French, there is a phrase – l’esprit de l’escalier – ‘the spirit of the stairway’. It is that moment, that instant – as you start down the stairway on your way out – when you realise, suddenly, unequivocally, though the thought never really left the back of your mind, in retrospect, too late to win, but not too late to learn, what you should have said, what you should have done. You could have been brilliant, but you were a coward. Fear is the mind killer. Sure, you risk offence, perhaps. But just because you are offended, it does not mean that you are right.