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The Art of the Sneak Out
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I come from a long line of people good at sneaking out of parties. My grandfather Jack Cunningham was considered by many to be the Michelangelo of the Party Sneak Out. I’m pretty sure I once witnessed my brother Richie completely vaporize from a hallway at my Aunt Carol’s house – only to reappear on his couch at home to catch the start of the 11 p.m. SportsCenter.

The Party Sneak Out is no doubt an art form that many have perfected, but few choose to talk about. It is shunned by many as rude or inconsiderate. I for one have never understood the formality of walking around and saying “bye” to a group of people that I plan on seeing again. It’s not as if my shuttle flight to the moon leaves in the morn and I need to give everyone kisses on the cheek. In some cases, it is a kind gesture on my part; a sort of “You have all grown boring and tiresome, but I choose not to address this fact,” only to disappear and seek fertile grounds.

There are many forms of the party sneak...

The Slink and Dink: This is the most basic of Party Sneak Out, requiring at best a porch door that leads to side driveway access. This a good beginner sneak because it has several built-in excuses if caught. “Oh, I thought this led to the bathroom,” or “I was going to make a call from my cell and didn’t want to disturbed anyone.” The Slink and Dink is all based on instinct and timing. When you see the window of opportunity, do not hesitate and never look back.

The Phone Call Finger Stall: This is an intermediate sneakers move and one that requires a bit of improvisation. It starts with the fielding of a non-existent phone call. CAUTION: Make sure to have your ringer shut off. There is nothing more embarrassing than pulling the Phone Call Finger Stall and having the phone ring while it is at your ear. With phone to ear let out a not too loud “Oh, gosh darnnit! Hold on a second.” At this point it is imperative that you hold your finger in the air. Hold it in a manner as if to say the call isn’t an emergency, but it must be taken. Letting the “person” on the other end know that you can’t hear them is essential to pulling it off. Now with your finger held high, make a brisk walk to the nearest exit. You will be in your car listening to your Phil Collins CD before anybody even looks for you, and you’ll have a few days to orchestrate an excuse if asked. But believe me, nobody will ask.

The Team Ghost Machine: I for one rarely show up anywhere with more than one person and much prefer attending things alone. But on those occasions when there are two of you, be prepared. The co-ordinated team sneak is an advanced move, one that must take place on multiple fronts. You can never sneak together. Yet you need to have each other’s back in order to pull this one off. The problem with the double sneak is that someone always wants to sneak first. As a rule of thumb, the one that suggests the initial sneak must be the one that goes last. Many rookie Sneakers will attempt a Double Slink and Dink – bad move! Remember, you are sneaking out because you are bored or tired, and if caught in a Double Slink and Dink, you will be convicted of collusion. One method is to have a team member begin a Phone Call Finger Stall, but make sure they have completed the motion and are outside. Simply wait four minutes and then announce “I’m going to go check on so and so.” You two will be at Applebee’s having Jell-O shots in no time.

The John Wayne: Let’s be honest. The Duke never had to say “goodbye.” He simply finished his drink and walked out the front door. I only know a few people with enough cache to pull this off. None of them want me to mention their name. That’s what makes them John Waynes.

Whatever your method of sneaking, always remember you are doing it for them. Had their party/bar/wedding not been so boring you would’ve never been forced to sneak out.


Teicheira’s Tip of the Week: “The Pocket Bird”...

Ever been stuck talking to someone that bores your socks off? Getting chewed out by the boss? Having to assist someone annoying at work? Let me change your life by introducing you to a maneuver I like to call “The Pocket Bird.” 

The year was 1988, and as usual I found myself in the vice principal’s office. It was always curious to me the amount of time I spent in his office being lectured about missing class as I missed more class. Yet I digress. He ranted and railed away as usual. I gazed around the room, waiting for the day’s proceedings to end, when the desire to “flag the bird” overtook me. Obviously, this would result in a punishment far beyond what I was willing to take on. 

And then it happened.

I slid my hand into my front pocket and I birded away. Yes, it is ridiculous. Yes, it is childish. And yes, it works. 

There is a strange calm that washes over you while doing it and suddenly the words coming out of the person’s mouth become tolerable. I have never looked back, and probably use this move 3-4 times a week. It is a bit unorthodox at first, but you will learn the subtlety of the proper hand slide. Believe me, the first time you do it, you will thank me. 

I let friend John Romito in on this move a few years back. He was a bookkeeper for a business up in Oregon and had grown increasingly frustrated by the constant door knock of people unable to perform basic math. “I never would’ve believed that such a simple move would change my life forever, but I haven’t had the compulsion to chuck a stapler at someone’s head in nearly 5 years now,” Romito said. “Thanks, Pocket Bird.”  


Here we go again…

The announcement of a new fast food restaurant – Taco Bell – was followed with the instantaneous response of town naysayers. “We don’t need another fast food joint. … What about something for the youth of our town?” When did these two very different things become mutually exclusive? What does a half-acre parcel of land being developed, one that will provide much needed jobs in our community, have to do with the desire to build a spot for teens? And don’t give me the “Do we really need a third Taco Bell?” routine. I’m fairly certain a company like Taco Bell has done its homework and believes it will be a sustainable business opportunity.

I agree it would be nice to develop some type of home base for the teens of our town – a safe place that encourages healthy socializing. But some of the ideas that get tossed out are hilarious. “We need something like a roller rink or an arcade.”

If those are to be built, may I suggest we build one thing first – a time machine to take us back to 1981 when those types of teen hangouts were all the rage. A roller rink? Kids these days aren’t interested in roller skating. Do they even make roller skates anymore? Are KC and The Sunshine Band on a reunion tour? And an Arcade? Seriously? They have arcades everywhere! They are called Playstation and Xbox – and every kid has one in their bedroom (and without the fear of the local stoner kid in a Led Zepplin T-shirt trying to push pot on them). 

Heck, why don’t we just build a malt shop, one with a Blue Chip Stamp store inside of it? The kids can cruise on over after the sock hop ends. Too often we romanticize the days of our youth and believe the up-and-coming generations want the same. They don’t. Like it or not, this current generation of 8- to 14-year-olds are happy to be inside their bedroom playing video games online as they check their Facebook account every three minutes … because you never know when your “friend” from Auckland, Australia is going to post a video of a frog riding a beetle like a cowboy. (Google it – it is awesome to watch.)

Taco Bell will provide 40 to 50 jobs – perfect start-up positions for people just getting started in the workforce. Here’s a thought: The perfect place for your 16-year-old to be hanging out is at his or her’s job at Taco Bell, learning work ethic, the value of a dollar and responsibility.

For those that think Taco Bell is disgusting and unhealthy, I agree but it’s also delicious!


Community Calendar...

The Jeff Gonzalez Memorial Scholarship Spaghetti Dinner takes place on March 5 inside the Manteca High Cafeteria from 5-7 p.m. All-you-can-eat spaghetti, salad, bread and the best strawberry shortcake this side of the Mississippi. Tickets are $8 for adults and $5 for kids under 12. All proceeds help fund activities for graduating seniors at all Manteca Unified schools. …

The FESM Fish Fry is tonight with take-out dinner from 5 to 6 p.m. and sit-down dinner at 7. Tickets are $20 for adults and $10 for kids 6-12. Whether you are observing Lent or just want to get your fish on, the FESM puts out the best fish in town.

And unlike me, you have no reason to sneak out early. The community that eats together, stays together.

“It’s not Where ya do, It’s What ya do”


If you felt the need to give columnist Chris Teicheira the “Pocket Bird” at any point during this column or in your interactions with him this week, tell him about it at