More District Governor Musings
District Governors Musings
I received a surprise when I was asked to install officers and they sent me the list. They had a “Spizzerinkter” in their list of officers. A Lion since 1985, and I had never seen this one (that I remember – but at my age…..). Then I had to Google it:
The Story of The Spizzerinkter
The concept of Tail Twisting predates Lions clubs by two centuries. Private clubs in England in the early 1700s good-naturedly fined members for telling tall tales or for using another member’s tobacco. But Lions perfected the practice of club hijinks. Tail Twisting had its origins in the pep committees formed at the chartering of the downtown Detroit club in 1920. The committees then shifted down to a “single, energetic personality,” according to The World’s Biggest Doers: The Story of the Lions. “We were trying to find some way to liven up Lion meetings,” recalled Melvin Jones, the founder of Lions clubs in 1917. “One fellow who had been born on a farm said that what we needed to do was what used to be done; when a cow refused to go through the gate, someone would grab her by the tail and twist. We all laughed, but one of the boys said, ‘Why, isn’t that a good name?’ “We already had decided on ‘Lion Tamer’ for the sergeant-at-arms, so it seemed logical to confer the title ‘Tail Twister’ on the chairman of the pep committee.” But the international board, “in a huff of offended dignity, issued an edict against use of the low-comedy term,” according to the Lions history book. The question was batted about at board meetings for a few years until International President Ray Riley in 1929 “got up at a session in Washington one day and told them they were taking themselves too seriously.” Riley added that clubs would have tail twisters “whether the board likes it or not.” The role was established but the name remained in flux. Even by 1941, the LION Magazine could write: “Of all the novel and rich experiences which await the new Lion, none strikes him so forcibly as his introduction to that “’Demon of the Dime,’ that ‘Debunker of Dignity,’ known as the ‘Spizzerinkter’ or “Tail Twister.’ The Tail Twister, as we prefer to call him, is about the only absolute dictator we know who enjoys the affection of those whom he oppresses.” Other Lions apparently preferred Tail Twister, too, and somewhere along the line, Spizzerinkter–fortunately— was dropped.
And it appears some Lions use this office as a kind of assistant Tail Twister.
District Governor Billy Gray (until June 30th)