The Best of ‘Snide Remarks’: 2006

What was once nothing more than a yearly ritual is now an annual tradition. The last week of the year is a time to reflect on the previous 12 months’ “Snide Remarks” columns and to reprint the best portions, if any.

Here’s what I had to say this year…

On college textbooks:
I’d like to write a textbook someday. It will cost $5 a copy to print, we’ll sell it for $75, and every two years we’ll add a couple commas, reprint the thing, call it a “new edition,” and make previous editions obsolete, thus preventing students from getting anything when they try to sell their used copies. (January 16)

On bumper stickers:
If your philosophy can be expressed in a bumper sticker, your philosophy is stupid — an axiom which, ironically, would make a good bumper sticker. (January 23)

On junk food:
The serving sizes on junk food are always ridiculous. A pint of Ben & Jerry’s is allegedly four servings, but I’ve often eaten the entire thing in one sitting, usually while watching TV and sometimes while crying. (February 6)

On eating too much chocolate:
My stomach took charge and issued an eviction notice to the offending chocolate. “Closing time,” my stomach announced in a stern voice. “You don’t have to go home, but you can’t stay here.” The chocolate, seeking to avoid a bum’s rush, dashed out willingly and speedily. If you think Hershey’s Extra Dark Pure Dark Chocolate is dark in bar form, you should see it after it has been in your stomach! (February 6)

On skin care:
Like most men, I don’t pay much attention to skin care. I wash my face with whatever’s handy, whether it’s bar soap, shampoo, or gravy. Sometimes I shave with the edge of a pair of scissors. And I figure if I’m going to put moisturizer on my face every night, I might as well wear a nightgown, argue with my grandfather, and in every other way become my grandmother. (April 3)

On having to help someone move:
They moved on a Saturday. It was a) 9 a.m. and b) raining and c) did I mention it was a SATURDAY when it was 9 a.m.? And that it was also d) raining? Well, it e) was. (April 17)

On the immigration debate:
I can see both sides of it, really. On the one hand, we want our country to be a beacon of hope for the world’s tired, poor and afflicted. But on the other hand, Mexicans are darker than us and speak a different language. So you can see our dilemma. (May 8)

On world cultures:
I find the world’s cultures fascinating, truly, and yet it’s comforting to see that people are essentially the same. “Flipping the bird” might mean nothing to a man in Zimbabwe or Shanghai. But you sleep with his wife and he’ll get angry, no matter where he’s from! It really is a small world after all, especially when you’re sleeping with foreigners’ wives. (May 8)

On the new Coca-Cola Blak drink:
What does it taste like? Oh, it tastes awful, obviously. It’s like licking the armpit of a coffee-soaked monkey. No one could drink it and think, “Mmm! Refreshing!” In fact, no one could drink it and think anything, because one sip causes your taste buds to beat your brain with a lead pipe. I have to assume that no one at Coke actually sampled the product before sending it out, the same way CBS never watched “Two and a Half Men” before airing it. (May 22)

On Kentucky Fried Chicken:
The company has been struggling for a while now, even changing its name to the initials “KFC” in order to seem healthier (no more “fried”), more humane (“chicken” gets the PETA people worked up), and less backwards (seriously, “Kentucky”?). (May 22)

On getting a colonic:
When I called to set up the appointment, the man said the only preparation I needed to do was to drink lots of fluids that day and not eat anything for a few hours beforehand. Nevertheless, being self-conscious and a little nervous about irrigating the ol’ back forty, I did what I could at home to clear things out — akin to tidying your house before the cleaning lady comes over because you don’t want her to see how messy it is, I suppose. (June 12)

On being asked to participate in a friend’s wedding:
He wanted me to be his groomsman. Not the best man, of course; his brother Jared would be the best man. I would be the second-best man, the groomsman, whose job is to stand next to the best man and be slightly less best than him. Honestly, I didn’t feel slighted. He’s closer to his brother than he is to me, and besides: It would be a truly sorry situation if, of all the men in his life, I were indeed the best one. (July 10)

On realizing I was getting fat:
I had already noticed some of the tell-tale signs: making fat-guy noises when getting in and out of low-riding automobiles; labored breathing from walking outside to get the paper, and more fat-guy noises when bending over to pick it up; being told at the Red Cross that I was an unfit donor because my blood had too much gravy in it; stretch marks on my fingers; etc. (July 17)

On the ban of liquids from airplane flights:
This wide, sweeping ban on non-solid and non-gaseous materials is in line with the Department of Homeland Security’s general policy on terrorist threats, which is that whenever the terrorists come up with a new strategy, Homeland Security will freak out and run around screaming like somebody tossed a snake into a slumber party. (August 14)

On summertime movies:
Ah, summer! The time when Hollywood excretes its most fragrant piles of entertainment, discharging them into theaters so that we may buzz around them and extract their nutrients. Summer! The season with the hottest, sweatiest movies, the kind of movies that when they stand up the backs of their legs stick to the sofa. (September 4)

On spiders:
My attitude toward spiders is similar to my attitude toward ballerinas: I am in awe of your natural beauty and flawless instincts, but if you come in my house I will kill you. (September 11)

On my apartment building’s basement:
My apartment is at least 65 years old, and the basement of our building is one of those dark, creepy places lit by a single bare bulb, much like one sees in horror movies. I would not be surprised if someone’s storage locker down there has a body in it, and it is the first place I will look if my apartment is ever beset with the spirits of pale Japanese children crawling out of the bathtub. (September 11)

On encountering PETA outside a circus:
Before we entered the venue, we were greeted by several representatives of PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of McNuggets). And by “greeted,” of course I mean accosted. Accosting is PETA’s primary method of interacting with people. PETA’s problems with circuses are manifold, but the main thing is that circuses are fun, and PETA has a long-standing policy against fun. No one in PETA enjoys anything. If something is entertaining, amusing or delicious, PETA is against it. (October 2)

On fruity cereals:
Fruity Cheerios are little rings in several different colors. They look suspiciously familiar. The front of the box makes this declarative statement: “25% less sugar than the leading fruity cereal.” And I’m thinking: Oh, SNAP, Froot Loops! They totally just called you out! What a passive-aggressive slogan! It’s like, “We’re not naming any names here, but, um, we have 25 percent less sugar than a certain other fruity cereal we could mention. We’re just sayin’.” And the people at Kellogg’s are like, “B****es did NOT just diss us!” And General Mills is all, “Don’t be hatin’, we just keepin’ it real,” and Kellogg’s is like, “Whateva. Maybe if you put MORE sugar if yo nasty-a** fruity cereal, people might be BUYIN’ it,” and then Post is totally on the floor laughing, and General Mills is like, “Whatchoo laughin’ at, Fruity Pebbles? Ain’t you got some Flintstones to go be watchin’?,” and then Quaker Oats pulls out a gun. (October 23)

On engagement rings:
All engagement rings look exactly the same to me. This was often a problem when I was a student at Brigham Young University, which has more newly engaged women than it has Asians. Every other day some female acquaintance would be showing off her new engagement ring, and I’d have to admire it and remark on its beauty when in fact I thought it looked just like all the other rings I’d seen, including the ones she’d gotten the previous times she was engaged. (November 13)

On Thanksgiving:
It was a traditional Thanksgiving at the Snider house, very similar to the celebration the Pilgrims had in 1621. Almost the whole family was present, we had turkey with all the trimmings, and afterward we dropped off a load of smallpox-infected blankets at the Indian casino. (November 27)

I had a hard time compiling this year's best quotations -- not because the columns weren't funny this year, but because so many of them followed unorthodox formats that render them hard to quote. Scripts, dialogues, and picture-oriented columns don't lend themselves to this sort of thing, and I had more of that type of this thing in 2006 than I usually do.

If you'd like some further strolls down memory lane, here are the previous end-of-the-year compilations: 2005, 2004, 2002, 2001, 2000.