Joe Snyder

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We had a fellow at ZAU named Joe Snyder, who I believe is no longer with us, who was a genuine character. He reminded me of “Big Al”, a character at ZJX, although if you’d met neither, none of that has any relevance. Suffice to say, he was fun-loving, funny, a prankster, and teller of tales. As my old friend Andy Varnes used to say: “world traveler, raconteur, bon vivant, hail fellow well met.” That was Joe. I have a couple of tales about Joe—the first to which I was a personal witness on several occasions, the second was less provable and morphs into the ephemeral arena of legendary, as so many such tales do. It might have happened, it might not, but it’s a fun story regardless.

In the first case it was a piece of schtick usually plied upon new people or even visitors. Nobody ever accused us of being politically correct back in those days. The encounter would begin by someone saying to Joe, while in earshot of the victim(s), “hey Joe, show us how a one-armed man counts change.”

Joe would obligingly turn his back to prepare by unzipping his fly, sticking his left hand down his waistband, and retrieving a handful of change with his right hand. Then he’d turn around and holding the hand with the change in front of his fly, he would stick his left index finger out through the fly and sort through the change in his other hand, just as if he were doing it normally. The immediate impression, of course, was a little different—and hilarious.

Joe was rumored to have attended a union meeting somewhere out West—DEN comes to my mind in recalling the story, although it doesn’t really matter. As several of the attendees were discussing things in the hotel lounge, and no doubt fully krausened (as we used to say in Old Style™ country), an idea was floated to bring a horse into one of the rooms. This was well before Animal House so originality points must be awarded.

To ordinary, short focus malefactors, this would seem to be a simple proposition—A) obtain horse, 2) lead him to room. However, our guys were nothing if not considerate, and realizing horses aren’t generally housebroken, it seemed wise to ensure said equine was “flushed” before taking him inside.

So how does one purge a horse? No one wanted to just hang around until the tail went up, so some encouragement was considered, not including internal stimulants. No, they decided, almost any human often has a very causative inclination to Number Two shortly after a successful Number One. So how does one encourage a horse to pee?

Again refering (probably unwisely) to the human model, everyone recognizes the urge that sometimes comes from dipping one’s hand(s) in warm water. In fact, my RN bride reports that sometimes shy bladder can be remediated by such a procedure. So, they got a bucket of warm water and stuck the horse’s hoof in it.

Now, as third person stories often go, there is no denouement. I never heard if they purged the horse or even got him into the room. There certainly was no cleaner with a .45 caliber M1911 nor a chainsaw. Frankly just the notion is funny enough to satisfy and good enough to memorialize.

RIP Joe




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Last updated: 04 October 2012