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Since You Asked: The old snow job

My wife and I were building snowmen recently. She likes to make a snowball, then roll it on the ground until it is a large ball. I like to use a trash can to use as a form, fill it with snow, then turn it upside-down.

That's quicker and a lot easier. But she insists it's cheating. Cheating? Is it really cheating? I didn't know there were any rules to building snowmen. What do you think?

— Tom C., Eagle Point

We at the Since You Asked Snowman Center prefer not to use the word "cheating," but we have to side with your wife, Tom.

Tsk, tsk. Using a trash can to build snow people is, well, bad form.

A snowman needs to have a jelly belly, a rotund chest and a round head. He should never, ever look like he just came off an assembly line.

True, Hoyle didn't cover snow people. Nor did Robert's Rules of Order.

But the unwritten backyard etiquette practiced by generations of rosy-cheeked children specifically bans trash-can use when creating a snowman. Children know you start with a snowball and roll it into a big snow fellow. The twigs and leaves sticking to his fat belly are part of the fun.

Besides, who would sing a song called "Frosty the Trash Can?"

You need to take your wife out to a very nice dinner and make amends, Tom. Otherwise, you never know when a rather large snowball might be headed your way.

Send questions to "Since You Asked," Mail Tribune Newsroom, P.O. Box 1108, Medford, OR 97501; by fax to 541-776-4376; or by e-mail to youasked@mailtribune.com.