He was a history teacher at Clear Spring High School (still is, actually), though fortunately I never had to take any of his classes. He was also the activities director, which put him in charge of the history club, the student council, the honor society, and pretty much anything else he wanted to be in charge of. He spoke at virtually every school assembly, and was the main man in charge of graduation, which meant that for the last month or so of senior year, the fat fuck was unavoidable. When we ordered our class rings, he went on about the difference between yellow lustrium and white lustrium for a good twenty minutes. He was a New York Yankees fan, as grating as ever was born – he had a bumper-sticker tacked to the bulletin board in the front of his classroom that read “Winning is our tradition” or something like that, with the Yankees logo next to it. I should also mention that he was in charge of the cheerleading squad.
A year or so after we graduated, my friends Scotty and Beatty and I drove to this sleazy little porn store just off I-81 near Chambersburg. It was situated in the middle of a field, more or less, hundreds of yards from any other buildings, behind a wood fence that ran eight feet tall on all four sides with a break just big enough to drive through. The place was a tool shed with a cash register and a pool table, no windows, walls lined floor-to-ceiling with shelves full of porn movies and magazines, one guy sitting behind a checkout counter in the center of everything. The sign outside said it was open 24 hours, and I got the feeling this dude was here most of that time. He wasn’t by himself when Scotty, Beatty and I walked in – he was talking to Mr. Snyder.
We all recognized each other immediately. Mr. Snyder looked at us, thanked the guy behind the counter and got the fuck outta Dodge. The three of us browsed around for about twenty minutes – believe it or not, at age 19 it was our first time inside a real, honest to God pornography emporium. I think I bought a magazine of Hustler’s dirtiest jokes or something – I was never much into porno, and everything was so goddamn expensive in there. We left and went home, talking and laughing about how weird it was to walk in there and see Mr. Snyder of all people. Scotty talked to him some time later when Jen, Scotty’s girlfriend at the time, graduated, and Snyder explained he had visited the porno store that day to look for “one of those dirty birthday cards for my brother.” The kind of dirty birthday cards they sell at Spenser’s Gifts, Roc’s, and about a thousand other places right here in Hagerstown. Uh-huh.
Some months passed, and Scotty and Beatty and I drove up to that porn store again. We walked in this time, and there was the same guy behind the checkout counter, and there was Mr. Snyder. This time he said, “Hello, gentlemen,” before retreating as fast as his colossal hose-supported legs could carry him.
Did I mention he was in charge of the cheerleading squad at my high school?