Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Talking Schmidt

I was in the car with Isabel last week when we heard a story on the radio about Google CEO Eric Schmidt and his decision to step down from his post on the Board of Directors of Apple.  Over the years I have grown accustomed to translating NPR newspeak into language Isabel can better understand, and when I noticed her in the rearview mirror listening intently to the story I began to prepare a version of the story she could understand.

            Right on cue as the story ended Isabel opened her mouth, only it wasn’t to ask the question I thought she was going to ask.  Instead, she said, “Eric Schmidt’s name sounds like a bad word—like you could use it as a curse word.”  That sounded right to me and the two of us giggled our agreement about the Google executive’s last name.

            And then we created a game that has kept Isabel, Erica, and me busy and amused off and on for more than a week now.  It goes like this:

1)    Think of a saying, expression, or phrase that usually involves the word “shi*”

2)    Turn the word “shi*” into “Schmidt”

(NOTE:  Steps one and two are done silently, in your head.)

3)    Create a story or scenario designed to get the other people in the game to guess the phrase, saying, or expression.

For example, when the founder of Google has a couple of glasses of wine and then starts to get very philosophical, that would be “deep Schmidt.”

See how many of the following you can get:


1)    Eric Schmidt was sitting at an outdoor cafĂ© with his wife, enjoying a quiet lunch, when a childhood friend of his wife approached the two.  The friend went right to Wendy and the two dove right into a long conversation.  After a while, Wendy’s friend said to Wendy, “aren’t you going to introduce us?”


2)    Eric Schmidt leaves Google and devotes his life to quiet contemplation, good deeds, and selflessness.  The Catholic Church recognizes his goodness.


3)    Early one Tuesday Eric Schmidt stopped at his favorite coffee shop on the way to work and bought a double tall vanilla latte.  On Wednesday, Eric Schmidt did the exact same thing.


4)    Eric Schmidt’s brother bought him a jacket, but when Eric tried it on, it was VERY tight.  The jacket was ______ __ _______.


5)    As children, Eric and his three siblings were on the playground just as a huge game of kickball was being organized.  Two captains were named and they began choosing players one by one.  It became clear that one of the captains had something against the Schmidt children.  No matter what, this particular captain simply would NOT pick a Schmidt.


6)    Eric Schmidt shared a room with one of his brothers as a kid.  The room got very hot in the summer sometimes.  They had a window of unusual size and shape, so they could not put a window air conditioner in.  Instead, they had a large fan.  Once, it broke.  Eric unplugged it, got out his tool kit, took it apart, fixed a frayed wire, reassembled the fan, and STILL it did not work.  In frustration, he struck the uncooperative appliance.  Then it worked.


7)    In the Schmidt family there is Eric Schmidt, Wendy Schmidt, Eric Schmidt, Jr., Emily Schmidt, and their pet canine.



So, do you know your Schmidt?  If you think of any others, feel free to add them as a comment to this post.

Answers: She didn't know Schmidt, holy Schmidt, same Schmidt different day, full of schmidt, didn't take any Schmidt, Schmidt hit the fan, dog Schmidt


  1. Schmidt hit the fan is by far my favorite.

  2. That was some fun schmidt, and was a welcome distraction from syllabus design. Way to go, Will Shortz.

  3. On the way back from Canada, (after 1500 miles on the road), our van broke down and we spent 8 hours in Amesbury.

    Schmidt Happens.

  4. I'm too old for this Schmidt...
    Qu'est-ce que tu en penses?!