How Ya Getting’ On?
“How Ya Getting’ On?” (Flanker Press) is a collection of columns about stuff Snook wrote for the Newfoundland Herald in 2015/2016.
In 2016 the Herald celebrated its 70th birthday.
“Seventy?!” says Snook. “A verified, venerable institution!”
Toddling along a year behind the Herald, I have to agree with Snook. I remember when said publication was a tabloid called the Sunday Herald. It was delivered weekly to most of the homes in our cove, and I — as well as every other bayboy in the cove — ripped it open to read “The Phantom” comic page.
Enough about the Herald. More about the stuff Snook has remarked about. Moustaches, for instance. Commenting on Movember fund raising, Snooks says he sported a moustache for 30 years, one that he sometimes shaved off on a dare but quickly — well, quickly as possible — grew again because, “I just looked too stunned.”
I’ve worn a moustache ever since I realized I’d never have chest hair like a real he-man. I had to do something to declare my manliness, eh b’ys?
I shaved it off only once. Daddy’s Boy — then a toddler — cried and my sister-in-law unkindly informed me that my top lip looked like a turkey’s arse — the turkey portion that when plucked is commonly referred to as the Pope’s nose.
Snook writes about quitting smoking, saying, “Figure I’m up over forty grand this past decade.”
Long before Snook’s first appearance on the cover of the Newfoundland Herald, me and Missus quite smoking because the cost of a pack of cigarettes reached 50 cents.
Fifty friggin’ cents!
We hove our cigarette money in a jam jar until we’d saved enough to buy a state-of-the-art hi-fi — hi-fi! — featuring detachable stereo speakers.
Not forty grand, Snook, b’y, but significant coinage for the times.
Snook writes about smart phones, lamenting that when Dougie and Gert both got smart phones they immediately entered a state of “mutual mindless coupledom.”
I don’t altogether go along with that thinking. Sure, me and Missus have iPhones and sometimes when we’re sitting in our Archie and Edith chairs I text her — Hey, Missus. When she looks up from her phone, I wink and blow her a kiss.
How is that mindless coupledom? In a column titled “Art of the Nap” Snook writes about a subject — an art, truly — at which I excel. About napping, Snook says, “A nap is never time wasted.”
Not all readers — Snook’s or mine — will agree. The thing about art though is that one’s relation to it is very personal. Think about Jackson Pollock and smears of paint on canvas.
Either it blows your hair back or not, eh b’ys?
In “Getting Up There” Snook writes about aging and certain undesirable physical changes that occur — the tendency among males, for instance, to become more hirsute: “… hair I didn’t ask for seems to be growing in as well, at the eyebrows, in the nose holes, and ears.”
Right on, Snook. Once handsomely arched eyebrows sprout like Andy Rooney’s and the hair on one’s forearms grows longer and drapes from elbow to wrist like the furry fringe on a septuagenarian ape — our distant kin after all.
Snook writes about flying. “I get the best sleep ever on a plane,” he says.
Not me. Despite my previously mentioned talent for napping, aboard a plane I don’t get a wink. Although often exhausted, I can’t nap. I’m not sure why. Perhaps I’m anticipating the eventual arrival of the snack trolley.
About sailing on the long-gone William Carson when he was a boy, Snook says, “I was glued to the elevator, freaked out by the magic of entering a little room with buttons and sliding doors.”
As a bay-boy travelling to a foreign province, I sailed on the William Carson in January of the year Snook was born. There was nothing magical about my trip. Caught in a winter storm, the ferry rocked and wallowed and caused my guts to roil. Scurrying to the washroom, I arrived to floors awash with raw sewage spewed from the bowls of stogged toilets. No magic there, eh b’ys? Snook writes about lots of other stuff — earlobes and laundry, elections and premiers, litter and the Olympics. If you read all he’s written and if you relate to much of it, as Snook says, you might learn something about “how you’re knit, from what kind of wool.”
Thank you for reading.