"Cordle to Onion to Carrot" by Robert Sheckley: An Appreciation by Georgiana Lee
It's the story of the thrill that comes to Howard Cordle who learns to be obnoxious and aggressive after years of "being pushed around by Fuller Brush men, fund solicitors, headwaiters, and other imposing figures of authority." The hyperbole used to describe his encounters is wonderful and makes this story even more of a pleasure to read. I particularly enjoyed the escalating pressure brought to bear on a Milanese businessman who makes the mistake of honking at Cordle because he isn't stepping on the gas fast enough at a traffic light in Rome. "Traffic was now backed up as far south as Naples. A crowd of ten thousand had gathered. Carabinieri units in Viterbo and Genoa had been called into a state of alert." And moments later, "There was a thundering sound to the east: Thousands of Soviet tanks were moving into battle formation across the plains of Hungary, ready to resist the long-expected NATO thrust into Transylvania. The water supply was cut off in Foggia, Brindisi, Bari. The Swiss closed their frontiers and stood ready to dynamite the passes." It's beautiful stuff.
But my family's all time favorite line, oft repeated when we want to make a ludicrous point about how manly (and womanly) we are, comes when Cordle dons his girlfriend's raincoat in an effort to circumvent a butler who won't let them into an exhibition unless he's wearing a coat and tie. When the butler points out that the new attire isn't quite up to snuff, saying "You are wearing a woman's waterproof and a soiled handkerchief . . . I think there is no more to say." Cordle responds by saying, "A woman's coat, you say? Hombre, when I wear a coat, it becomes a man's coat." And who can argue with that?
Link to story.