Trina Machacek: In a snap

Over the years I have learned there are many ways to get the attention of someone. My other half had this ear piercing whistle and could change the tone to achieve the appropriate response time that was necessary to get me to come-a-runnin’.

There was one that meant, “GET YOUR BUNS MOVING. THINGS ARE GOING AWRY!” Usually followed by a black puff of smoke coming out of the shop doors. Not to be mistakenly mixed with the calmer, “Bring the tractor! We need to bury a dead cow” whistle. Yes the whistle can be used as an attention getter. Never had a wolf whistle thrown my way. Must be a lesson in there somewhere. Let’s whistle along.

There is an attention getter that I find kind of annoying. A snapping of fingers at me. When I was a waitress — way before they were called servers — if someone needed to get my attention a finger up or a flowing wave of a hand or arm was nice. But that snap. It always came with a look that I perceived as a down the nose look. Oh I answered the snap quite snappily if not happily. But! Yes a snap to it “but.” But to then return to the snapper with the extra lemon slices so urgently needed or a new bottle of ketchup to put on a New York steak that was ordered well done? I might have taken a few extra steps for sure. After all it is all about the tips. I learned this about being a waitress and took it with me throughout my working years, “The customer is always right… Especially when they are wrong!” I feel better…

There probably are a few times when a snap might be something that could be tolerated. If you are on the phone and need a pencil and paper a snippy snap at someone might be allowed. You know you have been on both sides of this one. Someone is on the phone and you hear that snap, snap. Then you have to turn your attention off of the re-rerun of your favorite episode of Law & Order and look over to see someone’s hand squiggling in the air like its writing as fast as possible with this wild eyed look of desperation. Of course they could always ask the caller to hang on for a second so they could get their own pencil and paper. Yes I would hazard a guess that we have all been on one or both ends of this snap-snap.

I have noticed that lately the snap has left my fingers. I know how to snap my fingers. I mean it’s not like spitting. I know I can’t spit. But I thought I had a good snap going on until I tried to get the attention of my cat. Yes, my cat! He was… Well never mind you would have had to have been there. But to my surprise when I raised my hand and put thumb to middle finger and rubbed them together there was just a whoosh. And a sickly whoosh at that. Not the attention garnering snippy snap of days gone by. Had I lost the ability to snap? Had the snap come un-snapped from my snappers? What’s the immediate response to this dilemma? Well of course I licked my fingers to gain some friction. Then -- another pitiful whoosh. Well what the heck happened? I used to have good snappers.

The next step is to of course rub my fingers on my pants. Kind of rough up the tips. Added an extra lick to my thumb just in case. Then — the tiniest snip. Over and over again I tried like an old Beatnik to get my snappers to snap. How could this have happened?

Just how many times have you tried to snap your fingers while reading this do-dah? I have stopped and tried several times. Did you know there are You Tube Videos teaching how to snap your fingers? Yes I checked. HAHA. This one guy had too much time on his finger snapping hands. Hands with fingers that I might add snapped healthy loud snaps. Smarty fingers!

As time comes and goes there are things I learn about myself that make me the unique person I have become comfortable being. Doesn’t in anyway mean I will stop trying to master things I can’t do. Like spitting. I will, each cherry season, buy a bag of juicy red Bings then go out and slobber a ton of cherry pits off my deck because it’s fun. Hey spitting should be a snap to learn.

You suppose it’s true. If you don’t use it you lose it? Yikes!

Trina lives in Eureka. Her book They Call Me Weener is available on or get a signed copy by emailing her at


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