Wednesday, October 11, 2006

On creative boredom

Alpha and Beta, now that they don't live in the middle of nowhere, take frequent trips to stores that are actually less than fifty miles away. Most of the time they leave Ankle-Biter and me here at the house, to protect us (so they say) from the Texas heat. I take advantage, much of the time, to peruse the internet and read blogs. Some I read every chance I get, some I read less frequently.

One of the blogs I read regularly is written by Bob, a self-described reluctantly-retired long-haul trucker. Bob's good people. He likes dogs. He even puts a picture of one up once a week.

In this morning's post he refers to bananas as "monkey pickles." The reference is embedded in a story that has nothing to do with either jargon or the development of same, but the term got me to thinking about both.

Some of you may well be old enough to remember stories and songs about truckers and CB radios, and the lingo that evolved. I'm not that old, but the people I live with are. So I've heard it. Believe me. I've heard enough "What's your 20?" and "Smokey's taking pictures again" to make my stomach crave relief from the churning. And I've ridden past the dispatch yard in Omaha with all the baby-blue trucks-and-trailers enough times to make all of you feel the same way.

But just yesterday, Alpha and I rode out together to pick up some stuff, just around the corner at the H.E.B. (that's Texan for "grocery store, for you novices). As I sniffed that rolling belt that carries the beer away from us and toward the person that pushes the magic buttons that tell Alpha which card to wave at the other magic machine, I noticed that the guy on the other side of the counter was moving his pen along the belt. And every time it got to a certain spot - close to the end and right by a little glass dot on his side - the belt would stop moving. Alpha noticed, too, and the guy noticed that Alpha noticed, and said, "I mess with kids that way."

And I thought, "Boredom. This guy is less-than-challenged by his job, so he's inventing games."

And then, when I saw Bob's post this morning,I thought, "I wonder if it's all related."

Sure, there are other reasons that truckers would invent their own jargon: they need to be able to talk around the Smokeys, for one thing, or they'd collect more trading stamps than would be good for them. But that doesn't explain the creativity of "monkey pickles." That, I think, needs the ability of a creative mind to both navigate 60 tons of rig and load down the highway and at the same time wander the paths of creativity.

I wonder what they'd do with "achievement gap"...

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've done a few cross-country drives, and I'm up for it once a year or so. I really marvel at the folks who are able to maintain that pace full-time.

6:13 AM  
Blogger elementaryhistoryteacher said...

Last Friday night the ultimate "CB" movie was on....Smokey and the Bandit. Terrible movie now that I look back on it, however, it's the only movie my Dad and I ever went to see together. During those days everyone we knew had a CB and tried learn the lingo.

I made my daughter sit down and watch the some of the movie. She decided I grew up during a very dull period.

4:12 PM  
Blogger Trucker Bob said...

Thanks for the mention bud! A lot of the expressions we used we born out of boredom.

Things like "pecker poles" for a load of skinny logs. Or "sack-a-tomatoes" for Sacremento. Or "poke it to her" (blush) for Pocatello.

I know, childish. heh heh

2:43 PM  
Blogger Trucker Bob said...

Oops, SacrAmento.

2:44 PM  

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