The Phaserl


‘He Is One Sneak Guy’

by Rick Ackerman, Rick

We’ll lighten up today with something I’ve wanted to do for a long time – i.e., help propel a great new word into common English usage. The word is “sneak” — as in “he’s a sneak guy (or gal)” — but it doesn’t mean what you’re thinking. For far from describing someone of low character, a “sneak guy” is someone who is supremely accomplished but who would never boast about it. Typically, one would find out about the person’s amazing background in an off-handed way — perhaps from a relative or third party, but never from the person himself.

As far as I can recall, the word was coined in the 1960s by a ZBT fraternity brother of mine, Dave “the Ripper” Shaw. I have never heard the word used by anyone but a Zeeb who attended University of Virginia during the late 1960s. Dave was a year ahead of me, and there were some unusual success stories in his Class of ‘70. “Scheins” went on to become a movie producer of, among other films, For a Few Good Men, The Princess Bride and When Harry Met Sally. And another Zeeb, “Bob K,” managed Bjorn Borg’s tennis career before

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