Thursday, January 5, 2017

The Indefatigable Schnickelfritzes

The Schnickelfritz family originated, as one might guess, from the European country of Germany. The family name goes as far back in time as the country itself, and has had members that have stood on the fringe of meteoric greatness and others that have been famous for their indescribably unfortunate, many times tragic, failures. They are not unlike many families from any other country in the world, with the possible exception being the tendency of the male Schnickelfritzes to be quite diverse in their displays and practices of anti-social behavior.

            Over the centuries, there have occurred many male Schnickelfritzes, through natural means of human proliferation. If any historians were to show interest in the family line, and fortunately for us, until now, none have, it would be revealed that their personality characterizations can range from being called mildly weird, escalate right through the various levels of sociopathy, and in the most extreme, come to a screeching halt somewhere short of violent psychopathy. As most of the male Schnickelfritzes possess a reasonable level of unintelligence, they have, as yet, only affected human history in some innocuous ways, though some of the more successful have recently had their share of the attention from some influential members of what is known as the illuminati.

            As an example of Schnickelfritz near-greatness, there is this notably historical incident. In the early days of the twentieth century, the dreadnought, an ocean-going vessel of immense firepower for that time, was an item to be possessed by a navy if a country was to be taken seriously by other countries. These warships were outfitted with varying numbers of guns sharing the same caliber, all as large as could be made at the time of their design, and set upon the waters of the world to engage in the act of ‘representin’, as youngsters of America often call it these days.

            The building of ever faster, more heavily armed, and phallically menacing dreadnoughts continued the naval arms race, primarily carried out between the British and, you guessed it, the Germans.

            Serving the Imperial German Navy from the late nineteenth century through the end of World War I, when the service was scrapped right along with him, Konteradmiral Dietrich Giuseppe Schnickelfritz earned his rank by being the top plumbing engineer and the inventor of the Schnickelfritz Absperrventil, or shut-off valve. This device was routinely used in multiplicity aboard all German warships.

            In his capacity as the Imperial German Naval Konteradmiral of Sanitär, or plumbing, Dietrich became close friends to both Rear-Admiral Alfred Von Tirpitz and Kaiser Wilhelm II, the Emperor of Germany. Dietrich was so highly thought of by his friends Al and Wil that, in 1908, the next dreadnought to be commissioned was to be named after Dietrich. This did not come to pass, however, as it was brought up by other naval advisors that SMS Schnickelfritz was an awful lot of letters to splash across a ship’s hull. Furthermore, at the same time, it was discovered that the famed Schnickelfritz Absperrventil was of a defective design, causing many catastrophic failures that are often described in the historic logs of many a German vessel as “epic explosions” resulting in “unsanitary conditions”, to put it mildly. This became such a common occurrence that the phrase, “Vee haff been Schnickelfritzed, Kapitän!” was announced over countless intercoms.

            In light of this unfortunate outcome, the vessel was named the SMS Schleswig-Holstein instead.

            Moving on to the here and now, we focus on Robert Downey Schnickelfritz, great-grandson of Konteradmiral Dietrich Giuseppe Schnickelfritz and a resident of a small town in the Midwestern section of the United States, which shall go nameless for now. In spite of what you may deduce, Robert was not named in reverence of the American actor Robert Downey, Jr. As it turns out, Robert’s father, Gerhardt Michel Schnickelfritz, had a best friend he had attended college with by the name of Downey. If you have not heard of Gerhardt, it is no wonder, as he is the same Gerhardt Michel Schnickelfritz, the failed stop-motion clay artist, whose Christmas-related children’s specials were considered so terrible in every respect by a certain network’s executives, that not only were they never aired, but the production company purposely detonated the dozen-or-so film reels on the set of an undisclosed episode or episodes of Gunsmoke.

            Robert Downey Schnickelfritz, in all aspects, appears to be a slightly below average American Caucasian male. He is five and a half feet tall, possibly diabetic, definitely obese, and suffering from male pattern baldness that indeed does not seem to follow any pattern at all. His hairline is receded from his forehead unevenly, is hairless at the crown of his tiny skull, and is even missing a patch above and behind his right ear.

            Robert, Bob to his friend, is married, unexpectedly enough from his appearance, and oddly, has produced 2.73 children. The .73rd boy is politely considered ‘slow’ by every educational professional he has ever met, but is normal in almost all other respects, is a kind, thoughtful boy, and is liked by a small number of his schoolmates.

            Robert is still to be considered one of the more devious and sociopathic Schnickelfritzes in existence, as he is, in addition to being an inventor of a few annoying and multifaceted devices, a freelance traffic flow advisor. Over the past few decades, he has been hired by an unknown number of townships to help synchronize the traffic lights at intersections. Chances are, you’ve been a victim of his as you sit in your car, staring at the red light or turn arrow that refuses to change.

            By all accounts, Robert prefers to do this work in the wintertime, so he can wear his military surplus parka, in olive drab, of course, and observe traffic at the side of the road from behind a scarf and sunglasses. He observes the unsuspecting, waiting drivers carefully, marking the passing time on a stopwatch and keeps notes as to when a person becomes visibly annoyed, and whether the annoyance manifests itself in outbursts of body or verbal language. He then uses the remote to change the lights to green and awaits the next set of vehicles. After taking a more than adequate number of samples, in all directions, it must be mentioned, he calculates his results and comes up with an average time for each light’s settings.

            What makes Robert Downey Schnickelfritz truly a sociopath is that he adds ten seconds.

            I know this half-wit has been through my own town, as I am a driver, too, and am often overheard by my passengers as I grumble, “F**kin’ Bob.” It is at this point the light turns green.

            One of Schnickelfritz’s inventions can be found locally as well and I have encountered an aspect to the device I had not noticed before. This past Christmas, while shopping for electronics and small appliances at your local chain retailer, you may have noticed a thin plastic band that crisscrosses over the random boxes of products. At the front and back of the box are small, round devices. One is a lock, the other is a motion detector. On the surface, this rather innocent device passes itself off as a simple and quite understandably necessary anti-theft measure. What I have not noticed until this morning is that these devices tick. Walk back and forth in front of them to activate the motion sensor, pick up the box and put your ear to it. It's quite unsettling.

            A clear characteristic of the inventor’s disdain for his fellow human is in its difficulty of removal. I have witnessed, on a great number of my shopping trips to various places, many a cashier fail in countless attempts to unlock the electronic critter from the product, wasting much time, causing the purchaser, cashier, and the other people in line great irritance, as we all wait for a manager that has somehow mastered removing the Schnickelfritz Shackle, as I have come to call it.

            Whenever I see this device on a product as I wait in line at a store, I look around the place for the mysterious little inventor, Mister Robert Downey Schnickelfritz, but I have yet to see him. I fully expect the find the man somewhere close someday, making notes on how to further menace society.

            Beware of the Schnickelfritz family, my friends. It is a large one and I will continue my investigations on their goings on. I have made a list of Robert Downey Schnickelfritz’s brothers, uncles, and cousins, and will have more on them soon.

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