Sunday, September 27, 2009

It's All in the Hips, Boys

What did the governor of California say when he wanted to become a composer?

I’ll be Bach.

I’m sure I’m not the first person to come up with that bad pun. Makes you wonder. How many people did come up with the “I’ll be Back” bit? At least five. I’ll bet no more than 5,000.

The point is I came up with the bad pun for Patel the orchestra guy. Coming up with bad puns is the kind of thing I do when I’m assigned to guard the restroom at a high school homecoming dance.

That’s right, Saturday night Patel the orchestra guy and I guarded the restrooms for the homecoming dance. The dance was quite an extravaganza. Search lights shot upward to the heavens from outside the entrance to the school gym while upwards of 600 teenagers danced the night away on the basketball court. It was a good night. I might add the kids handled themselves in a manner far superior to your average group of 600 adults.

You might ask “How do you guard a restroom?” Our job was to make sure the boys and girls made it into the correct commodes.

Toward the end of the night a cop walked by. When I asked him how he was doing, he said, “Better than you. At least I’m not guarding a bathroom.”

Guys like this clown give cops a bad name.

As the night wore on, I began to search for ways to make things interesting. The orchestra guy and I got to know each other. Patel plays a ten thousand dollar cello, he’s carpeting his house next week, his brother is a struggling actor in Hollywood and his favorite color is periwinkle.

A half-dozen or so crying girls made their way to the restroom. I made it a point to tell them they didn’t have it so bad, that back in the day, my girlfriend ditched me at the prom for the mayor’s son in a silver corvette. If they were consoled by my little anecdote, they did a good job of concealing it.

I began giving the young men tips on dancing.

“Remember boys, it’s all in the hips, boys. Be sure to move the hips.” I told them.

I’ll bet some of them took my advice and improved their dancing on the spot. It is true, you know. Most guys don’t understand the importance of moving the hips. Even if it is true, I’m guessing some of the guys walked away saying to their dates, “That Snyder is a creepy old guy. He was talkin’ me about movin my hips."

All I can say is I’m just a guy trying to do a job.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Say it Ain't So, G Man

I’ve been teaching The Crucible to my American Lit students. Last week we discussed the sullied hero, John Proctor and his struggle with guilt over his extramarital affair. It seems that an inordinate number of powerful men have engaged in adulterous liaisons. Bill Clinton was not the first American president to commit adultery. Many historians suspect founding father, George Washington was an adulterer. And we know FDR, JFK, LBJ, and Ronnie Reagan, just to name a few American presidents, were adulterers. We’re relatively sure hundred dollar Ben Franklin had plenty of action on the side.Winston Churchill and Albert Einstein fooled around on their wives too.

I find it troublesome to accept the fact that Martin Luther King was a cheater. I just can’t seem to wrap my brain around the fact that Martin Luther King, a man who sacrificed his life for others, was an adulterer. Worse yet, the history books tell me that Gandhi was a member of the cheatin’ husbands club. Gandhi? GANDHI? I mean how did that work? I’m trying to visualize Gandhi fasting away in his loin cloth, proving to the world that change can come through nonviolence, eyeballing some hot young number as she slinks by.

“Hey sweetie, wanna meet me up in my room for a night cap after the nonviolent protest?”

A few years ago I was sitting in an educational leadership class toward my master’s degree. It was a cohort class hosted by the Tempe School District and was taught by the superintendent of Tempe schools. I was the only teacher in the room who didn’t work for Tempe. We were discussing common flaws in leaders and I brought up the tendency of powerful men to engage in extramarital brouhahas. Baby, you could have heard a pin drop. Nobody said a word for what seemed like forever and a day. Finally the instructor said something about all men being flawed and moved uncomfortably to another topic.

As I walked to my car one of my classmates asked,” You ever read the paper?”

“Not lately.” I replied, “It’s been a busy week.”

“You might want to check out the front page of today’s Republic.” he said before climbing into his car and abruptly slamming the door.

I stopped at the Gas and Gulp on the way home to pick up a copy of the paper. And plastered on the front page was a photograph of none other than the instructor of the leadership class, a.k.a. the superintendent of the Tempe School District. It seemed that he had gotten himself into a messy affair with a younger woman. The angry woman had made public some embarrassing emails and the superintendent’s wife wasn’t very happy him.


But Gandhi?


Saturday, September 12, 2009

Swine Flu, Scorpion Wars, Dog the Bounty Hunter, Man v. Food, and Steve McQueen

It’s been a long short week. I couldn’t seem to kick it into gear after the three day weekend. My throat’s a little scratchy. Of course the first thing that comes to my mind is, Oh my God, I’ve got the Swine Flu! Good thing I can count on the media to remind me to cough into my arm and to wash my hands at least 63 times a day.

My five year-old daughter exterminated her first scorpion last week - got the little sucker with the heel of her shoe. I'm so darned proud I could cry. The Arizona bark scorpions had no idea of what they were getting into when they invaded my household. My nocturnal back yard scorpion hunting expeditions yielded just six confirmed kills last week. A month ago I was killing 60 a week. Victory is within reach. The scorpions are on the run.

Super Blogger, Gueley of Sweden recently explained that he and his daughter watch classic films like Charlie Chaplain’s The Great Dictator.

Wow. I’m feeling pretty mediocre over here. Do you want to know what I watched with my daughters last night? Dog the Bounty Hunter. I'm not proud of this. My kids and I can't seem to take our eyes off of Dog and his gang of cartoon characters as they chase anemic bail jumping drug addicts.

And then we watched Man v. Food.
We are what we are...
Wait a minute, what right thinking family wouldn't enjoy watching some schmuck shovel away a six pound burrito in 30 minutes?

Kevin Costner, Collin Farrell, Bruce Willis and Homer Simpson have each listed Steve McQueen as their personal hero.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Good Evening Ladies and Germs

You know, I did a lot of standup comedy in the eighties.

But now I don’t care what the temperature is.

Lately, I’ve been following Norman Cho’s blog about his experiences doing standup comedy across the pond in England. It’s been over 20 years since I last told a few bad jokes before an audience of live drunks. Thanks to Norman in England, it seems the old comedy eye of the tiger has been working away at my gut. I’m thinking about banging out a few bits and dragging my tail out to a local open mike night.

But am I still funny?

My five year-old thinks I’m the funniest man in the world and so do her little squirt friends. Sometimes a random neighborhood pipsqueak will show up at my door.

“Hello,” the kid will say.


“Are you Sophia’s dad?”

“Yes I am.”

“Can you sound like Goofy?”

“Yes, can,” I say before executing a dead on Goofy impression, “Yuck, yuck. Hey Mickey, you wanna go fishin’? Yuck, yuck.”

“Ahh ha, ha, ha, ha, ha,” The kid goes in to hysterics.”That was good. Thanks.”

“You’re welcome.”


“Good bye,” I say, shutting the door.

Yeah, I can crack five year-olds up. If only I had that kind of power over half-drunk adults in low rate comedy clubs. If only they had kiddy comedy clubs. Yeah, I’d slay ‘em sitting there at their little kiddy chairs and tables. Yeah, it would be comedy Heaven - a laugh a minute … until the milk came up someone’s nose.

OK, it would have to be a milkless kiddy comedy club.

I dug up a few snap shots from the glory years.

"What is this, an audience or an oil painting?"

"Hey, where're you guys going? I'm just getting to the good part."

Did I mention I watched a lot of Miami Vice in the eighties?

Friday, September 4, 2009

Bad Epiphany

I wasn’t looking for any trouble. Then again I suppose I never actually look for trouble. Who does? Another long hard day of educating the youth of America was over and out. Grabbing the TV remote control, I plopped down on the couch for some mindless channel surfing when my wife asked me to head out to the grocery store for a box of sugar cubes. My daughter was building a sugar cube pyramid for a history project and she had gone through something like 26 boxes of sugar cubes. We were going to need another five boxes. Yeah, it was a big sugar cube pyramid.

Being a good husband and father I did exactly as I was asked. I found the sugar cubes and made my way the checkout counters. There was only one checkout counter manned by an actual human being. Since a half dozen or more blue haired senior citizens were lined up to cash out with the live employee I decided to try my luck with the self check out. Bad idea. It seems that I have trouble with technology. After the transaction stalled out five times I decided to line up with the blue hairs. I don’t know how long I was in line but I had time to read entire articles on Britney Spears, Paula Abdul and another on Brad Pitt. I’m not proud f this, but what else was there to do? When I finally made it to the human she asked me how old I was.

“I’m 49. Why?”

“At 55 you’re eligible for the senior citizen discount.”


“Well, you’re not that far away from 55.”

“Oh my God, you thought I was a senior citizen!”

“Well, I've seen you in here with the grandkids. You are a grandfather, aren’t you?”

“But a senior citizen!”

I walked out of the store blubbering like the Cowardly Lion. What a rotten epiphany! I’m getting old. And what’s worse is people actually see me as an old guy. You see, before this little reality beat down, I thought of myself as youthful or at the very least, youthful looking. Sure my hair is thinning out and maybe my face is starting to show a little wear and tear, but I thought of myself as – athletic. Hell, I ran a half marathon, what was it? Three, no… six years ago?

Has it really been six years since I ran the half marathon?

And six years from today I’ll be eligible for the senior citizen’s discount???




Senior citizen discount, my left elbow.

You know what I’m going to do? I’m going to watch Steve McQueen kick ass in The Magnificent Seven. It won’t make me younger but it’ll make me feel better. The Magificent Seven always makes me feel better.