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Neighbors: 'Snickeritis' was contagious in Mr. Blasing's classroom

Bob Lind, Neighbors columnist

You might snicker over this story.

It comes from Brant Bigger, Lake Park, Minn., who had seen a story here about a college teacher who hammed it up to get the students' attention.

"One of my favorite teachers was Mr. (Woody) Blasing, at Frazee-Vergas (Minn.) Elementary School," Brant writes. "He was my sixth-grade homeroom teacher for the 1989-1990 school year.

"One of his ongoing antics was to randomly develop a nervous tic during the school day, like tapping his foot against the metal desk, or his hand would start to twitch while he was at the chalkboard. He then would declare that he was having a 'Snicker attack,' and proceed to get a Snickers candy bar from his desk and eat it in front of the entire class.

"Of course, we all thought we should get to have candy bars, too!

"But he would always inform us the candy bar was for a 'genuine' medical condition called Snickeritis, and that we could do the same if we showed him a prescription from a doctor.

"This left the class somewhat jealous, but his antics got everyone's attention and always got the whole class involved. We would all discuss the ins and outs of his 'condition' and try to devise a way for us to get to have candy in class, too.

"Me being a pragmatic farm kid," Brant says, "I took matters into my own hands.

"One time the vet visited our family farm to look after one of our dairy cows.

"After a little explaining from me, he was more than happy to help.

"Needless to say, Mr. Blasing was speechless when I produced my own prescription for Snickeritis on the veterinarian's stationary!

"He tried to protest that the prescription wasn't valid because it wasn't from a medical doctor, but relented when I told him his only stipulation was that it come from a doctor; he didn't specify what type of doctor."

And so, Brant says, he was allowed to have Snickers bars in class. "But alas," he says, "I had to pay for my own 'medicine.'"

Anyhow, he says that "is just one of the fun memories of what made him a great teacher.

And "besides being an excellent teacher," Brant says, "Woody was an excellent coach and has been inducted into Frazee High School's Hall of Fame."

Neighbors wonders if Woody ever got over that dreaded Snickeritis.

An old term

As mentioned above, Brant's email to Neighbors was inspired by a previous column about a professor who hammed it up.

That led to a note from Brian Slator, Fargo, who said calling anyone a "ham" is "really outdated."

"I have not heard that expression in years," he writes.

Then he tells of his father using that term years ago.

"My father," Brian says, "referred to (actor) Leslie Nielsen, most famous for the 'Airplane/Naked Gun' style comedies but who spent most of his career playing heavies in B-grade dramas as a 'hambone'.

"He also used that term on (actor) William Shatner, (both Canadians, incidentally)."

If you have an item of interest for this column, mail it to Neighbors, The Forum, Box 2020, Fargo, ND 58107, fax it to 241-5487 or email