Saturday, March 14, 2009


I’m going to tell you about what may be my greatest accomplishment.

One day over 30 years ago, I was sitting with my brother Benny. It was in the 70’s but possibly earlier. We were trying to find substitutes for curse words. Our parents didn’t want us to say "shit" anymore. I decided if we were going to curb our cursing at home, we needed to find a good substitute. Benny and I began our search for the perfect word that would take the place of that other word.

Everything we tried fell flat. It’s not as easy as you might think. You simply cannot get the same mileage out of "fudge," " shoot" or "drats." It just doesn’t work. We tried and tried but kept coming up empty. We even came up with criteria. The new word had to measure up in every way. It had to satisfy the many different usages and circumstances as the forbidden word. It had to signify anything from the mundane to a really serious predicament.

I can't remember all the rejected words. There were quite a few.

Finally, it came to me-- “Oh snap!” It was incredible! It fit. It was perfect. It contained one vowel and three consonants, just like the other word. You could even prolong the initial SN for emphasis. It was a one-syllable wonder! You could drop your keys down the drain and say – “Oh snap!” You could realize you forgot the most important meeting of your life and say- “Oh snap!” You could replace any “ Fuck”, “God damn it” or “Crap” with one great “ Snap!”

My brother and I had our secret word and he and I “snapped” through the next 30 years.

All this time, the only people who said “Snap” besides my brother Benny and me were my husband and our friend Jima. But about four or five years ago, I heard someone say “snap” on some television show. Then I started hearing rap-artists use it. Suddenly quite a few people were saying it. Snap was everywhere. Snap! Oh Snap! I even started to see it on certain blogs!

I have no idea how it found its way into the culture. My husband’s work didn’t have him dealing with the kind of people you'd just say snap to. I travel, so it’s possible that I may have been the one who spread it. But our friend Jima is an ad guy and has a very big personality. So, I’m thinking he was probably the one. Can I prove I invented Snap? Don’t know. But my brother, my husband and Jima know the history of snap and now, so do you.

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