We understood what l’esprit d’escalier was at school, before we learned much French, because of Michael’s socks.
In the changing room after our latest medley of athletic mediocrity, they were criticised by someone who knew better than us (back then, that could have been anyone).
“Your socks are square.”
The retort came to Michael as we unlocked our bikes, our lessons over: They’re not square, they’re sock-shaped.
He was so proud, we couldn’t bear to tell him it wasn’t very good.
The French have no phrase for a disappointing comeback after the event, but we did, because of Michael’s socks.